Microsoft brings Node.js debugging to Visual Studio

With NTVS (Node.js Tools 1.0 for Visual Studio) released Wednesday, Microsoft is enabling its Windows software development platform for use as a Node.js IDE.

NTVS is a free, open source extension for Visual Studio 2012 and 2013, the free Visual Studio Community and Visual Studio Express for Web editions, and Visual Studio Professional. It supports deploying Node.js applications in the Microsoft Azure cloud, and it covers remote debugging to Windows, Linux, or Mac OS platforms.

In development for more than a year, the technology features rich editing, code completions, and interactive window capabilities; npm integration; and advanced debugging and profiling. It supports the io.js fork of Node.js, JavaScript, TypeScript, HTML, CSS, and JSON in addition to supporting Node.js.

Advanced debugging and profiling capabilities in NTVS offer developers an advantage over print-line statements, Itani explained. "We're always shocked to hear how many people are relying on print-line statements to debug their Node.js code. With NTVS, you can enjoy stepping through your code with breakpoints and automatic exception notifications. Advanced features include conditional breakpoints, tracepoints, hit counts, and edit-and-continue." Unit testing, meanwhile, is enabled via integration with Visual Studio's test explorer capability.

NTVS offers Git and Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server integration as well as project templates. Microsoft recently joined the Node.js Foundation, which is intended to provide an independent governance model for the platform.

Given that Node.js has become a popular server-side option for JavaScript development, it's no surprise Microsoft is hopping on the Node.js bandwagon. "[Node.js is] making its way just about everywhere -- from servers to Internet of things devices to desktop applications to who knows what next," said Sara Itani, a software engineer on Visual Studio Tools for Node.js, in a blog post.


Paul Krill

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