My Workflow: Never having to leave DevTools
At this time of year (Christmas) there's a lot of tip-like articles that emerge, so I wanted to share what I felt like was the single greatest technical win I have come across in the last few months: using Chrome DevTools for full web dev workflow - so I recorded a quick 4 minute screencast (and even wrote up a few extra bits - because I felt generous this Christmas!).
Actually, truth be told, it's not the entire workflow (I can't create new files for instance) - but where I'm up to is: navigating my entire project, making changes and seeing the live impact of that change, testing new ideas and most importantly - actually saving those changes to disk without leaving DevTools.<iframe width="612" height="344" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/ura4ee4fjZs?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
Although I'm using Canary in the screencast, this functionality is available today in Chrome stable.
For a long while now, you could edit the "sources" to the web page, and hitting save
For me, this seemingly simple addition, means I can do a large amount of coding, testing and debugging directly inside the browser - which reduces the workflow loops.
It's also worth adding that, whilst you haven't refreshed, you can also get a complete list of all the modifications - right click on the source: local modifications. From there you can see the time of edits but also see diffs of those changes and revert them (though I believe you should be able to revert individual changes - i.e. just the first change through a patch, I didn't have any success with this and suspect it's just a bug in Chrome that I came across).
Code with live state
Another big win for me (which I didn't include in the video) is that whilst I'm working inside the sources panel, and experiementing I can quickly and easily inspect the state of variables.
I'll add a breakpoint, or a conditional breakpoint (right click on the line) - the code pauses, and hit
esc to bring up a console and test code and check variable state or check entire lines of code to see if the result is what I'm expecting.
Space and stretching your legs
Finally, a couple of extra bits that make my workflow more comfortable for me. I always bump the font up on the DevTools (simple
cmd-+) - maybe because I don't like to strain my eyes, maybe because I'm getting old!
I dock DevTools to the right (in most cases) - which used to be under settings (the bottom right cog) but in Canary has moved to click-hold the bottom left "popout" icon.
What I'd like to see next
No doubt there's someone I can direct these to, but equally I wanted to share my thoughts here because either maybe you know they're coming, or there's other features you'd like to see too:
- A comment toggle keyboard shortcut (I keep hitting what I think it is, and instead pausing code execution) #167284
- Much clearer feedback when saving wasn't linked to a file on the hard disk (sometimes I've hit save and it'll save in V8's engine, but not actually to disk, because I hadn't linked it up yet) #167285
- Autocomplete whilst editing source (perhaps looking up from the autocomplete in the console) #167290
- Toggle word wrap on sources #167287
I'm sure there's more I'd like to see the more my workflow moves inside of DevTools. I certainly hope this is as useful to you as it was to me when I discovered "save as"!