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Debugger

Stability: 2 - Stable

Node.js includes an out-of-process debugging utility accessible via a TCP-based protocol and built-in debugging client. To use it, start Node.js with the inspect argument followed by the path to the script to debug; a prompt will be displayed indicating successful launch of the debugger:

$ node inspect myscript.js
< Debugger listening on ws://127.0.0.1:9229/80e7a814-7cd3-49fb-921a-2e02228cd5ba
< For help see https://nodejs.org/en/docs/inspector
< Debugger attached.
Break on start in myscript.js:1
> 1 (function (exports, require, module, __filename, __dirname) { global.x = 5;
  2 setTimeout(() => {
  3   console.log('world');
debug>

Node.js's debugger client is not a full-featured debugger, but simple step and inspection are possible.

Inserting the statement debugger; into the source code of a script will enable a breakpoint at that position in the code:

// myscript.js
global.x = 5;
setTimeout(() => {
  debugger;
  console.log('world');
}, 1000);
console.log('hello');

Once the debugger is run, a breakpoint will occur at line 3:

$ node inspect myscript.js
< Debugger listening on ws://127.0.0.1:9229/80e7a814-7cd3-49fb-921a-2e02228cd5ba
< For help see https://nodejs.org/en/docs/inspector
< Debugger attached.
Break on start in myscript.js:1
> 1 (function (exports, require, module, __filename, __dirname) { global.x = 5;
  2 setTimeout(() => {
  3   debugger;
debug> cont
< hello
break in myscript.js:3
  1 (function (exports, require, module, __filename, __dirname) { global.x = 5;
  2 setTimeout(() => {
> 3   debugger;
  4   console.log('world');
  5 }, 1000);
debug> next
break in myscript.js:4
  2 setTimeout(() => {
  3   debugger;
> 4   console.log('world');
  5 }, 1000);
  6 console.log('hello');
debug> repl
Press Ctrl + C to leave debug repl
> x
5
> 2+2
4
debug> next
< world
break in myscript.js:5
  3   debugger;
  4   console.log('world');
> 5 }, 1000);
  6 console.log('hello');
  7
debug> .exit

The repl command allows code to be evaluated remotely. The next command steps to the next line. Type help to see what other commands are available.

Pressing enter without typing a command will repeat the previous debugger command.

Watchers

It is possible to watch expression and variable values while debugging. On every breakpoint, each expression from the watchers list will be evaluated in the current context and displayed immediately before the breakpoint's source code listing.

To begin watching an expression, type watch('my_expression'). The command watchers will print the active watchers. To remove a watcher, type unwatch('my_expression').

Command reference

Stepping

  • cont, c - Continue execution
  • next, n - Step next
  • step, s - Step in
  • out, o - Step out
  • pause - Pause running code (like pause button in Developer Tools)

Breakpoints

  • setBreakpoint(), sb() - Set breakpoint on current line
  • setBreakpoint(line), sb(line) - Set breakpoint on specific line
  • setBreakpoint('fn()'), sb(...) - Set breakpoint on a first statement in functions body
  • setBreakpoint('script.js', 1), sb(...) - Set breakpoint on first line of script.js
  • clearBreakpoint('script.js', 1), cb(...) - Clear breakpoint in script.js on line 1

It is also possible to set a breakpoint in a file (module) that is not loaded yet:

$ node inspect test/fixtures/break-in-module/main.js
< Debugger listening on ws://127.0.0.1:9229/4e3db158-9791-4274-8909-914f7facf3bd
< For help see https://nodejs.org/en/docs/inspector
< Debugger attached.
Break on start in test/fixtures/break-in-module/main.js:1
> 1 (function (exports, require, module, __filename, __dirname) { const mod = require('./mod.js');
  2 mod.hello();
  3 mod.hello();
debug> setBreakpoint('mod.js', 22)
Warning: script 'mod.js' was not loaded yet.
debug> c
break in test/fixtures/break-in-module/mod.js:22
 20 // USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.
 21
>22 exports.hello = function() {
 23   return 'hello from module';
 24 };
debug>

Information

  • backtrace, bt - Print backtrace of current execution frame
  • list(5) - List scripts source code with 5 line context (5 lines before and after)
  • watch(expr) - Add expression to watch list
  • unwatch(expr) - Remove expression from watch list
  • watchers - List all watchers and their values (automatically listed on each breakpoint)
  • repl - Open debugger's repl for evaluation in debugging script's context
  • exec expr - Execute an expression in debugging script's context

Execution control

  • run - Run script (automatically runs on debugger's start)
  • restart - Restart script
  • kill - Kill script

Various

  • scripts - List all loaded scripts
  • version - Display V8's version

Advanced Usage

V8 Inspector Integration for Node.js

V8 Inspector integration allows attaching Chrome DevTools to Node.js instances for debugging and profiling. It uses the Chrome Debugging Protocol.

V8 Inspector can be enabled by passing the --inspect flag when starting a Node.js application. It is also possible to supply a custom port with that flag, e.g. --inspect=9222 will accept DevTools connections on port 9222.

To break on the first line of the application code, pass the --inspect-brk flag instead of --inspect.

$ node --inspect index.js
Debugger listening on 127.0.0.1:9229.
To start debugging, open the following URL in Chrome:
    chrome-devtools://devtools/bundled/inspector.html?experiments=true&v8only=true&ws=127.0.0.1:9229/dc9010dd-f8b8-4ac5-a510-c1a114ec7d29

(In the example above, the UUID dc9010dd-f8b8-4ac5-a510-c1a114ec7d29 at the end of the URL is generated on the fly, it varies in different debugging sessions.)

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Licensed under the MIT License.
Node.js is a trademark of Joyent, Inc. and is used with its permission.
We are not endorsed by or affiliated with Joyent.
https://nodejs.org/dist/latest-v8.x/docs/api/debugger.html