It has already been one year that we started Vorlon.js. One year full of feedbacks, new features, a lot of talks in meetups and conferences. It is really a pleasure to talk with devs and Vorlon.js users to understand what they like about it or what they would like to have there! ūüôā

vorlon ultra quick demo

As David explained here we ended up creating Vorlon.js to help web front devs in their remote debug scenarios, particularly on phones and tablets. When we released the first version, it only contained 4 plugins.

Today, we have more than 10 of them. They debug various things like Angular.js, Office Addins, and more. What is really interesting is that we have different features than classic F12 tools more specialized to some languages or rendering frameworks. Vorlon.js is easy to extend and a lot of people are doing it and contributing!

In only a few month, we managed to create a good F12 like experience. I am proud of that, and I am proud of the team¬†ūüôā

At the beginning of this year, we thought that front web debugging was not enough. Server development with Node.js obviously uses JavaScript. And we were already able to inspect and debug JavaScript. This is why we decided to add support for node.js debugging. Now, you can use a node module inside your server apps and get the Interactive Console, the XHR Panel and the Object Explorer to inspect and debug your running code.

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Where are we going ?

In the next few months we are going to improve the support for Node.js debugging. A lot is coming in this area. We are working on Node.js and Express.js dedicated plugins. We still need to improve the stability of node.js debugging: this is pretty new and some things are not identical to front debugging and inspection.

We want to get an hosted Vorlon.js platform. Right now you have to locally install the server to use it (or install it somewhere in the cloud). It is not a hard task but us developers are lazy folks: the more is done for us the better ;). You can simply picture this as a webpage where you can click on a “I want an online Vorlon.js server” button and get it instantly, ready to use.¬†I really¬†hope we will be ready to release this soon!

We are going to do a lot of refactoring on the server side. We barely changed this since the first version to focus on the plugins and user experience part. We want to clean it to make it easier to change in the future.

We also have some awesome projects we will be able to talk¬†about soon! ūüôā

What is new in the last version?

A couple of weeks ago, we released the 0.2.2 version. It contains some great features and mainly 2 new plugins.

  • The Universal Windows Platform plugin

It is possible to create a first class Windows application using HTML and JavaScript. You have direct access to the WinRT API and your app gets native performances by design. It is not running as a webview, but really by Windows core. This Vorlon.js plugin helps you understand better your code behavior. You have access to the CPU and Memory usage and more usefull infos.

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  • Office Addins plugin

Office is everywhere. You can get it on your iPhone, your Android, your iPad, your Mac, your PC, your [put whatever you want here]. And you are not alone. A lot of us have office on our devices. Office 365 is a plateform behind the Office apps and softwares. It is a mail, file, contact, calendar, app server for enterprises.

And it matters. A lot.

A recent study showed that Office 365 is the Software as a Service app the most used in the world. If you never consider creating apps for it, you should. By creating app I mean an addin: it can be a pane inside the email composition interface or a tool inside Excel, or something inside Word. To create it you use web front tools that you already know. The addin is hosted somewhere and displayed inside every version of office you want (on ipad, android, etc.).

So, why am¬†I talking to you about this? Because¬†when it comes to debugging Office addins¬†on tablets or phone, there are no great options.¬†Or at least, there¬†WAS! ūüėČ

You can use all the features from Vorlon.js to debug the DOM, understand an issue using the console or the object explorer, improve performances thanks to the Network monitor, etc. You can also use the new Office Addin plugin. It helps you get access to the whole office addin API (which is JavaScript of course) and call some of them, get configuration values and more!

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You can read more about this and how to use it here: https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/mim/2016/02/18/vorlonjs-plugin-for-debugging-office-addin

  • User interface for Config editing !

All the Vorlon.js configuration is done through the config.json file. It is not always handy to change it when you installed Vorlon from the npm package or if you deployed it on a remote server. We now have a user interface to be able to edit the plugins list. You can activate / deactivate a plugin, change its name or choose on which pane it will be displayed. You can also see an icon indicating you if you can use it in Node.js debug scenarios.

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You can read more about this in the readme file here : https://github.com/MicrosoftDX/Vorlonjs/blob/master/whatsnew.md

You want to help ?

The more people we are the better! If you have an idea of plugin, or if you want to chat with us about Vorlon, feel free to join us on slack.

If you have any question about this article, feel free to contact me on http://twitter.com/meulta ūüôā