Internet Explorer 11 will support source maps based debugging

The developer tools of Chrome and Firefox (as well as Firebug) used to support source map base JavaScript debugging for several versions. With the new update for Internet Explorer 11, all major browsers support this feature.

About source maps

Source maps provide a mapping of JavaScript code to other source code. This is very important whenever you use JavaScript code that is:

  1. Transpiled from another programming language (popular examples are GWT, TypeScript and Dart)
  2. Minified

As it is very hard (or almost impossible) to debug the resulting JavaScript code in the browser’s developer tools, source maps were introduced. With Source maps, the browser can execute the cryptic code, but the developer sees the original code while debugging.

Source maps and Internet Explorer

As mentioned before, the developer tools of the newly released Internet Explorer 11 update support source maps. This was somehow foreseeable as TypeScript – a project of Microsoft – used to produce source maps and Microsoft assuredly wants to provide a first class developer platform to run TypeScript based applications on. This feature arrives just in time for the release of TypeScript 1.0.

From a GWT guy’s perspective

GWT’s classic approach of debugging (called development mode) was based on a proprietary browser plugin that allowed the application to remote-control the browser. As Google and Mozilla announced that support of the used plugin APIs is removed, source maps are the future of debugging GWT applications. That’s why Super Dev Mode (based on source maps) was introduced with GWT 2.5. Now that Microsoft added support for this to Internet Explorer, your can use Super Dev Mode consistently on all browsers without the need of switching to classic Dev Mode for IE.

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