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Opera releases web page debugger Dragonfly

Tool tackles sticky JavaScript and HTML5 errors

Opera Software has embedded a beta set of tools into its web browser, collectively called Dragonfly, that can help developers find errors in their complex web pages, the company announced on Monday.

"Dragonflies eat bugs, and that is exactly what we want [Dragonfly] to do for developers around the world," said David Storey, an Opera developer relationship manager.

Dragonfly is not the first browser-based debugger. Mozilla, for example, offers Firebug, and Google's Chrome browser also features some built-in element inspection features as well. Dragonfly also offers the ability to debug web pages on smartphones, televisions and other devices, by hooking them up to the developer's PC.

In open-source development for nearly five years, Dragonfly was designed to help web page designers grapple with increasingly complex web pages and web applications.

"We were coming into an age where JavaScript was becoming popular again, and Ajax was the buzzword on everyone's lips. Creating complex web applications without such tools made it hard to support Opera on those services," Storey said, in an interview on the Opera site.

The Opera Dragonfly can debug JavaScript code and can be used to inspect DOM (Document Object Modules), CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) and HTTP network packets. It includes a console that highlights errors, and a command line.

With the JavaScript debugger, developers can monitor specific variables or isolate the activity of a specific expression. The network inspector can be used to debug a slow-loading web page, observing resources as they are downloaded.

In addition to JavaScript and associated Ajax technologies, the debugger also covers HTML5 and related next-generation standards such as SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics).

Dragonfly 1.0 can be enabled in the latest version, version 11.1, of the Opera browser.


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