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Stamp out Web script bugs

Microsoft posts a beta version of a tool that will help designers work out the kinks in Web page scripts.

Microsoft (MSFT) today posted a beta version of a tool that will help designers work out the kinks in Web page scripts.

The company's Script Debugger for Internet Explorer works with the browser of the same name to debug JavaScript and Visual Basics Script programs, which add some intelligence to normally static Web pages. Although it works only with those two scripting languages now, the Microsoft debugger will eventually be able to work with other languages, such as Java, Microsoft product manager David Streams said.

Currently, most programmers that add scripts to HTML pages use rudimentary tools, such as text editors, to flush out software bugs from their pages. Script Debugger is designed to make it much easier to locate and get rid of bugs, making scripting more accessible to non-technical users, Streams said.

"You're writing [script] blind and hoping it works," Streams said. "If you look at HTML and script in Notepad, you just see text. There's no way to evaluate the expressions of script."

Script Debugger provides a number of features that make scripting simpler, including a hierarchical tree that shows the HTML source code for a site, colored syntax windows, and automatic error displays.

The product is available for free from Microsoft's Web site. It works only with Internet Explorer for Windows 95 and NT. Streams said the company had no plans to offer a version for Navigator.