IE11 Brings Long-Awaited, All-New Developer Tools for Single Page Apps

Today at Build 2013, Microsoft announced IE11 that ships with Windows 8.1.  Actually, before I go any further, I want to say that they should have named this release Internet Explorer 12. Like a smart kid that skips a grade in school, this version brings so many features (WebGL!!!!) in compatability, performance and an all-new completely awesome dev tools (yes, you heard me right!), that they should just skip to the next version number.  This is literally the version of IE that developers have been screaming for since IE8.  I’m not kidding.  For the first time in a long time, IE is now a DEVELOPER’s browser. From IE9, MS has focused on performance and interoperability to the point where developing a standards-compliant site literally means it just works (99.9% of the time in IE).  In fact, JQuery 2.0 now has more fixes to support bad standards implementations in Chrome, Safari, and Firefox than IE (true story). Here are my favorite updates for IE11:

F12 Developer Tools

  1. No Refresh Button - I do a lot of work on Single Page Applications that are incredibly responsive and one of the problems with the old tools is that the dom didn’t update automatically and you were forced to hit a refresh button any time you wanted to see updates from AJAX or even just basic JavaScript updates.  It was a pain with so much going on on the page. Now things update on the fly.  On top of that, you don’t have to refresh the page to start debugging Javascript.  Awesome.
  2. Visual Studio In my IE Developer Tools - Wow, ok, so one of the best things.  I don’t know if they got the Visual Studio team to come help out or what, but if you’re a VS developer you’ll see a ton of features that feel like you’re in VS.  Intellisense is now available in a lot of areas to make is much easier to add CSS without having to know exactly what you want.
  3. Performance evaluation tools - Ok, so maybe this is my favorite.  Now there are tools to do performance snapshots while your app is running so that you can see memory usage differences between a few different points in time.  But wait, there’s more!  You can drill into individual variables and functions and it’ll give you very detailed readouts of where your performance bottlenecks or leaks are. It’s incredibly powerful for building Single Page Applications where leaks are critically important for pages and scripts that run for very long periods of time.

IE11 Developer Tools

IE11 Developer Tools

Incredible, incredible update with a lot more stuff.  It’s been much needed.  With these top features, GPS emulation, WebGL support, and much more, it makes me so happy to see IE on-par as a web development browser.

What are you most excited about and what other features would you love to see in the dev tools that this update may have missed?  Also, check out more of what’s new in IE11 in Microsoft’s official post.

Ryan is a Microsoft MVP award winner with over eight years of software experience, working with big-name clients such as Discovery Channel, AOL, Toyota, and the National Academy of Sciences. Ryan has helped teams deliver award-winning applications that drive business processes, site traffic, and profit, putting his experience and creativity to work to build amazing solutions for the enterprise web, desktop and mobile platforms.