Advanced JavaScript Debugging Techniques Every Developer Should Know

JavaScript is a powerful and dynamic programming language that powers countless web applications. As a developer, you may find yourself using various debugging tools to identify issues and improve the efficiency of your code. While basic debugging techniques, such as console.log(), are well-known, there are many advanced techniques that can help you save time and make your debugging process more efficient. In this blog post, we will discuss some advanced JavaScript debugging techniques that every developer should know to enhance their skills and productivity. From using breakpoints and the debugger statement to leveraging the power of the browser's developer tools, we will explore these techniques in detail, providing code examples and explanations along the way.

Understanding the Debugger Statement

The debugger statement is a lesser-known, but powerful feature in JavaScript that enables you to pause the execution of your code at a specific point, similar to a breakpoint. When the browser encounters the debugger statement and the developer tools are open, the code execution will pause, allowing you to inspect variables, step through the code, and analyze the call stack. Here's an example:

function exampleFunction() { const a = 10; const b = 20; debugger; const sum = a + b; console.log(sum); } exampleFunction();

In this example, when the debugger statement is encountered, the execution will pause, and you can analyze the values of a and b as well as step through the subsequent code.

Mastering Breakpoints

Breakpoints are an essential debugging technique that allows you to pause code execution at a specific line of code. With breakpoints, you can inspect variables, step through the code, and analyze the call stack to identify issues and better understand how your code is functioning.

Setting Breakpoints

In your browser's developer tools, you can set breakpoints by clicking on the line number in the source code where you want to pause the execution. You can also use conditional breakpoints to pause execution only when a specific condition is met. For example:

for (let i = 0; i < 10; i++) { console.log(i); if (i === 5) { debugger; } }

In this example, the execution will pause when i is equal to 5.

Breakpoint Types

There are several types of breakpoints that you can use to control the execution of your code:

  1. Line-of-code breakpoints: These breakpoints pause the execution at a specific line of code. You can set them by clicking the line number in your browser's developer tools or by using the debugger statement.
  2. Conditional breakpoints: These breakpoints pause execution only if a specified condition is true. You can set a conditional breakpoint by right-clicking the line number in your browser's developer tools and selecting "Add conditional breakpoint."
  3. XHR breakpoints: These breakpoints pause execution when an XMLHttpRequest or Fetch API call is made that matches a specified URL pattern. You can set an XHR breakpoint in the Network panel of your browser's developer tools.
  4. Event listener breakpoints: These breakpoints pause execution when an event listener of a specified type is triggered. You can set event listener breakpoints in the Event Listener Breakpoints panel in your browser's developer tools.

Using Watch Expressions

Watch expressions allow you to keep track of specific expressions or variables as your code executes. By adding a watch expression in your browser's developer tools, you can see the current value of the expression as you step through the code.

To add a watch expression, navigate to the "Sources" tab in your browser's developer tools and click on the "Watch" panel. Click the "+" button to add a new expression and type in the variable or expression youwant to watch. As you step through the code, the value of the watched expression will update, allowing you to monitor its changes in real time.

Here's an example:

function calculateSum(a, b) { const sum = a + b; return sum; } calculateSum(5, 10);

While debugging this code, you can add a watch expression for sum to monitor its value as you step through the calculateSum function.

Exploring the Call Stack

The call stack is a vital part of debugging, as it shows you the sequence of function calls that led to the current point in the code execution. The call stack can be found in the "Call Stack" panel within the "Sources" tab of your browser's developer tools. It displays the active function calls in a hierarchical order, with the most recent function call at the top.

By examining the call stack, you can gain a deeper understanding of the code execution flow and easily navigate to different parts of your code. Clicking on a function call in the call stack will take you to the corresponding line of code, allowing you to inspect variables and set breakpoints as needed.

Debugging Asynchronous Code

Debugging asynchronous JavaScript code can be challenging, but understanding how to use async and await with breakpoints can make it easier. When using async and await, you can set breakpoints within asynchronous functions to pause execution and inspect the state of your application at that point.

For example, consider the following code that fetches data from an API:

async function fetchData() { const response = await fetch(''); const data = await response.json(); console.log(data); } fetchData();

To debug this code, you can set a breakpoint at the line where response.json() is called. When the breakpoint is hit, you can inspect the values of response and data, and step through the remaining code.

Performance Profiling

Performance profiling is an advanced debugging technique that helps you identify bottlenecks and optimize your code for better performance. The Performance panel in your browser's developer tools allows you to record and analyze your application's runtime performance, providing insights into where your code spends most of its time.

To start a performance profile, navigate to the "Performance" tab in your browser's developer tools and click the "Record" button. Interact with your application as you normally would, and then click the "Stop" button to end the recording. The Performance panel will display a timeline of your application's execution, showing you various metrics such as the time spent in JavaScript, rendering, and more.

By analyzing the performance profile, you can identify slow or inefficient parts of your code and make targeted optimizations to improve your application's performance.


Mastering advanced JavaScript debugging techniques can greatly enhance your development workflow and help you write more efficient, bug-free code. By leveraging the power of breakpoints, watch expressions, the call stack, and performance profiling, you can gain deeper insights into your code and identify issues more quickly. Remember to make use of your browser's developer tools to make the most of these techniques and improve your overall development experience.

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