While developing web pages at work, I’ve been struggling with using Javascript and the DOM to update elements via CSS. At home I’d just run various Firefox extensions and be able to track the problem down but at work I’m stuck with I.E. which has basically no developer friendly features. Scouring around the web for some javascript tricks that may be able to show me where I’m going wrong I stumbled upon Microsofts DOM Explorer beta.

Suprisingly enough it strongly rivals Firefox for my needs, it has plenty of well-integrated functionality and could replace a few of the Firefox extensions I use.
The tools that I principally used were:

  • Stepping through the DOM as it is in memory, not as it was when the page loaded
  • Rapid experimentation with colours and styles
  • Finding out where an element belonged in the DOM simply by clicking on it
  • Flushing the cookies for the current domain only

There were a couple of hiccups, sometimes the screen wouldn’t draw correctly where it had highlighted elements and such. The problems though, weren’t much compared to what you can get with Firefox. There the extensions often duplicated functionality, did it in differing ways and besides that there’s the maintenance hassle that upgrading Firefox entails.

Being Microsoft there was a lengthy EULA, one item in particular stood out.

You may not work around any technical limitations in the software

Technically doesn’t this stop me from viewing source and grokking the code myself if the tool doesn’t fit my needs?

I’m not going to move away from epiphany for browsing or Firefox for developing any time soon, but when you’re stuck with I.E. the DOM Explorer does a really good job.

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