What Would You Like to Learn About Web Developer Tools for IE at TechEd?

The information published in this post is now out-of-date.

—IEBlog Editor, 20 August 2012

Hi everyone,

In a few weeks I'll be at TechEd 2007 in Orlando, FL, with a few other members of the IE team. I'm giving a "chalk talk" on web development tools for IE, both MS and third-party, such as Visual Web Developer Express (VWD), Fiddler, and IEWatch. The session is on Thursday, June 7, from 2:45 PM - 4:00 PM in Blue Theater 14. It'll be 95% demo and Q&A so don't worry about sitting through 75 minutes of PowerPoint.  🙂 And for those of you who can’t make it, I’ll post a write-up of the talk afterward.

My question for you: What would you like to hear? What tools would you like to learn more about and which pieces of web development (authoring, CSS debugging, jscript debugging, HTTP monitoring, etc.) interest you most? Let me know and I'll do my best to cover the most requested topics. My goal is to make you more productive with web developer tools for IE so I want to focus on what you’re interested in.

Thanks and I hope to see you in a few weeks! 

John Hrvatin
Program Manager
Internet Explorer

Comments (30)

  1. No.1 Tool says:

    No. #1 Tool:


    A Public Bug Tracking Site!

    Its only been said a 1,000 times so far.

    Re: Desired Tools

  2. max says:

    Well, I’ll second "No.1 Tool", since s/he is bang on in terms of importance, but..

    I’d like to see Javascript tools to step through code (cough, like firebug)

    I’d like to see tools that can print/show the DOM structure, as IE "sees" it.

    I’d like to see a console.log( String s ) option, that can somehow be hooked in, so that debugging in IE, can at least step out of the dark ages of alert();

    Cookie viewer..

    Details on what render mode IE has chosen..

    Lists of installed addons, dlls, activeX, BHOs,…

    Lists of loaded scripts/functions…

    Links in any debug tools you create, to the related MSDN pages for documentation (and if possible, update the docs to be correct, and accurate)

    And since we keep hearing that developing an add on for IE, is as easy as developing one for Firefox/Mozilla… a simple "Hello World" example would be nice (even if it is just the URL of a site that describes how to do it)

    This is important, because we don’t expect MS to build all the tools, but if we know where to start, with our collective expertise we should be able to build better ones for the entire community.

  3. Aedrin says:

    2 replies and neither of them read the post.

    "What would you like to hear? What tools would you like to learn more about"

    Nowhere does it read; "What tools would you like to see made."

    The whole point of the session is learning how to use existing tools for IE web development.

    I suppose reading is optional on the internet.

  4. Aaron Prenot says:

    @Aedrin – I think that the previous replies just go to show that web developers are tired of hearing about the crappy tools that we already have.  We are aware of them, and we are aware of how crippling it is to have no alternative.

    I love writing Javascript/AJAX applications when I am writing them for Firefox using Firebug and the developer toolbar.  Then, when it comes time to debug everything in IE I almost feel sick because I know what kind of pain I have to look forward to trying to use Fiddler (which doesn’t always reflect localhost calls correctly), the IE Toolbar (which was much better as a toolbar with an optional explorer bar), and either VS or MS Script Editor for doing debugging.

    There are plenty articles describing how to get script debugging to work, and we are all familiar with the limited capabilities of IEWatch, Fiddler, the dev toolbar, and the various methods of debugging.  BUT, none of them are good enough.  As max said – show us how we can build our own Firebug for IE.  Quit trying to pretend the tools we have for IE are sufficient, face facts, and help us fix the problem.

    Aaron Prenot

    Web Developer since IE3

  5. Aedrin says:

    Doesn’t stop that from not being the question.

    Don’t you think they know that the tools they have are not enough? Do you really think all they have to do is sit down an afternoon and write it?

    Firebug was developed seperate from Firefox. Someone else can do the same for IE.

    Just because there isn’t a babysteps article doesn’t mean you should just sit and complain.

  6. Max, you can add this to an anchor (or any other element) and it will tell you whether IE is rendering in Quirks mode or Standards mode.

    onclick="javascript:m= ( document.compatMode == ‘CSS1Compat’ ) ? ‘Standards’ : ‘Quirks’; window.alert(‘Page rendered in ‘+m+’-mode.’); return false;"

    Aedrin, I think I made mention of people like you on a post I made on here on April 23rd.

  7. public says:

    When is a profiler for IE coming…

  8. arnaud says:

    Since JS performance is a major problem with IE, I would like a good profiler too.


  9. Fabian says:

    Most interesting would be JavaScript performance profiling and (especially for IE6) profiling of JavaScript memory consumption and the number of referenced objects.

    Debugging of JavaScript using Visual Web Developer would be another interesting issue.

  10. steve_web says:

    I’ll add a vote for profiling/performance too.

    As for Aedrin’s comments, yes the post was about what you would like to hear, but as noted, there was a follow up for those of us (95%) that can’t attend, thus to "see" info.

    Yes, this is geared around existing tools available, but as many have noted, existing tools fall fairly short of being adequate.

    Most of us have the Script Debugger installed (since "object does not have/support property/method" is just shy of meaningless).  I don’t personally have the Visual Studio stuff, because well, I don’t have Visual Studio, and last time I checked, the price point was rather high to obtain a JS Debugger.

    Some profiling tools would be quite a welcome change… even very basic stuff.

    1.) # of objects in the global scope (e.g. on window)

    2.) A rough idea of what kind of memory each one eats.

    3.) Tool(s) to step through script execution, and see the values of various variables along the way

    4.) Stats on DOM queries… collection queries… e.g. is it faster to get via document.forms[fName].elements[eName] vs. document.getElementsByTagName(‘input’);… then where el.getAttribute(‘name’) == eName

    5.) AJAX requests… how much time between raw data, vs. parsed xml being ready?

    As for the building add-ons info, I think this would be great.  There’s tons of tools out there for Firefox, lets start building ones for IE.  All we need are some quick docs, and a primer!


  11. Aedrin says:

    "Aedrin, I think I made mention of people like you on a post I made on here on April 23rd."

    Alright, you were able to make a post. Your point is what?

    "existing tools fall fairly short of being adequate."

    Yes, and everyone knows this. People seem to be stuck on repeat.

  12. james lee says:

    We want to autoupdate ie7 in china, japan, korea !!!

    we do not believe MS.

    MS has lied to us many many times.

    MS never keeps promises.

    in short time,

    we want to autoupdate ie7.

  13. andrew says:

    "My question for you: What would you like to hear? What tools would you like to learn more about and which pieces of web development (authoring, CSS debugging, jscript debugging, HTTP monitoring, etc.) interest you most? Let me know and I’ll do my best to cover the most requested topics. My goal is to make you more productive with web developer tools for IE so I want to focus on what you’re interested in."

    Question 1: "What would you like to hear?"

    I would like to hear what tools are available, what ones are in progress, and when bug tracking will be available.

    Question 2: "What tools would you like to learn more about …snip… interest you most?"

    More info on how to get more out of Fiddler, how to trace memory leaks with Drip… …interested in JavaScript tools (debug/log/profile/inspect)

    Statement 3: "My goal is to make you more productive with web developer tools for IE"

    Thank you, with more info on existing tools (Fiddler, Drip, MS Script Debugger) and insight into new tools (JavaScript Console, Logging, Debugging, and Profiling) we will all be quite happy.

  14. Mike Dulin says:

    One of my favorite web developer tools that gets rarely mentioned is "iMacros" to automate regression and performance web testing.

    It is the only tool in the market that works well with Java and Flash applets and costs less then $500.

    And there is a FREE version without Java and Flash support.

  15. nakamura says:

    when will you autoupdate IE7 in korea,china and japan?

    we want to autoupdate ie7 in korea,china and japan because of idn.

    please !

  16. I have read that pretty much all the bank sites in South Korea use ActiveX controls. With the restrictions on ActiveX controls in place in IE7 I would imagine whoever is responsible for automatic updates for the southeastern region of Asia has a long time ago began assisting (or getting assistance to) those developers in change of such sites. Or that is at least the impression I have of IE in regards to South Korea.

  17. Mike Brown says:

    Try as I might, I was unable to figure out how to use the Visual Web Developer Codename Orcas Express CTP Preview to act as a client-side JavaScript script debugger for IE6, like I can do with Microsoft Script Editor. This would be for general DHTML development, not ASP.NET, no special server or anything. IE is already set up to use Microsoft Script Editor. I posted about it in detail at http://forums.microsoft.com/MSDN/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=1598530&SiteID=1 but no responses have come yet. So, even though I won’t be at your presentation, I’d like to put in a vote for general JScript debugging as a topic of elevated interest.

  18. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    @andrew: If you haven’t checked them out yet, the Fiddler Demo Videos (http://www.fiddler2.com/fiddler/help/video/default.asp) are a great way to get more out of Fiddler.  If you have suggestions for more videos (or features), please send me mail via the "Contact" link.

    Will you be at TechEd?


  19. I’m half way in to watching *just* the intro video but how come this stuff isn’t in the IE web developer toolbar? Fiddler looks pretty nifty from what I’ve seen thus far.

  20. jfr says:


    Regarding third-party IE tools, you can talk about Debugbar and Companion.JS :



    The first one give DOM tree and on the fly attributes modification, HTTP hits log, JS console, HTML validator, etc…

    The second one is a start to a javascript debugger for IE.

    Any feedback is welcome !



  21. Daemach says:

    I want full firebug functionality in IE. (www.getfirebug.com).

    I want to see source charts.  (http://jennifermadden.com/scripts/ViewRenderedSource.html)

    I want a much more robust CSS/Design tool.  (http://chrispederick.com/work/web-developer/)

    I want to see MS start fixing IE performance problems and memory leaks.

    I want IE to support w3 standards – that alone would save web developers an ENORMOUS amount of time.

  22. Web Contempo says:

    Definitely CSS Debugging. No question about it.

  23. Hi,

    i think it`s simple but very great. But you can use it not only with IE. Also with different others it’s possible,

    I hope you can understand? my english isn’t perfect 🙂

    best regards.


  24. TMaster says:

    I’d like to learn why Tweakers.net (Dutch) received such a horrible response from Microsoft regarding the vulnerabilities and proof of concepts they publicized.

    I’d also like to know why they make it sound like Microsoft is not planning on fixing this issue – I’d actually like to see an out-of-cycle patch for the behavior IE7 shows with the PNG example shown there.

    Article (DUTCH):




    Microsoft has apparently already been contacted. Looks like it’s a zero-day, now. And probably easy to exploit, too.

  25. TMaster says:

    A followup to my previous comment.

    I’m still very dissatisfied with what they claim to be Microsoft’s response, however, I found that one of the vulnerabilities they refer to is easily fixable without a patch, or even having to use registry editor.

    Simply go to the security zone settings, choose to customize (all of!) them, and DISable "Open files based on content, not file extension". Unfortunately, there is a fifth zone, the local machine/my computer zone, and IE7 does not allow you to change its settings, but I doubt that’s very important in this case.

    I use fully customized security zone settings, and even I wasn’t safe – apparently, I misinterpreted the effect of this option.

    I just investigated some more, and it seems the mime sniffing problem can be fixed easily, but the PNG issue still stands: remove the file extension, and serve the file remotely: you’ll still see the alert window pop up. Although… The file was served by my server with a Content-Type of text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1. I guess it’s still the same vulnerability, just potentially less dangerous when served as an image.

    So basically, it looks like when you disabled the option, you’re only vulnerable when sites allow you to upload files and serve those files as text/plain. That’s a much more limited vulnerability, I’d say.

  26. Nathanael Jones says:

    Did you know that http://www.ieblog.com is using a frameset to duplicate http://blogs.msdn.com/ie/ ?

    They’re #3 on google results for "ieblog", so I assumed that you guys had just gotten a new SLD.

    I was a little surprised when I saw links to various Chinese sites appear at the top of the screen.

    Seems like to need a little piece of javascript on this site:

    if( self != top ) { top.location.replace(self.location.href); }

    Hope this helps,

    Nathanael Jones


    WHOIS infor:


    zhujun dodo@enterdesk.com +86.13520881133


    beijing caoyang xibahe jili18 301

    beijing,Beijing,CN 100029

    Domain Name:ieblog.com

    Record last updated at 2006-07-01 23:15:15

    Record created on 2004/7/23

    Record expired on 2007/7/23

    Domain servers in listed order:

    ns1.dns-diy.com ns2.dns-diy.com



    Email:(dodo@enterdesk.com) tel– +86.13520881133


    beijing caoyang xibahe jili18 301


    t beijing




    Technical Contactor:


    Email:(dodo@enterdesk.com) tel– +86.13520881133


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    Billing Contactor:


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    beijing caoyang xibahe jili18 301


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  27. EricLaw [MSFT] says:

    Thanks for the note, Nathanael!

  28. Xepol says:

    Probably more of an feature, or even an anti-feature instead of a tool, but in the next version, could you please trackdown and KILL all calls that drag IE to the front on the window stack?  It is freaking driving me insane!

    I click on a link to do something, knowing it will take a while to do it (slow site for a while), or not caring to read it that very second, and then pop over to another app only to have IE drag itself to the foreground repeatedly with a solid white screen.

    Worse if you fire it up and then pop over to another window to do something for a minute.

    Please stop refocusing the IE window, it is a seriously hostile act that is deeply offensive.

  29. TMaster says:


    You should’ve tried the betas. You would’ve been insane by now.

    Perhaps this behavior should be an option. What I personally dislike is the feed drop down disappearing when you open a feed in a new tab (from its context menu), another focus issue, I’d say.

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