RustRover 2024.1 Help

Running and debugging Node.js

RustRover helps you run and debug your Node.js applications. You can debug applications that are started from RustRover as well as attach to already running applications.

Before you start

  • Make sure the JavaScript Base, JavaScript Debugger, and Node.js required plugins are enabled on the Settings | Plugins page, tab Installed. For more information, refer to Managing plugins.

Running a Node.js application

RustRover runs Node.js applications according to a run configuration of the type Node.js. RustRover also uses this configuration to start the debugger together with Node.js applications.

Create a Node.js run/debug configuration

  1. Go to Run | Edit Configurations. Alternatively, select Edit Configurations from the list on the toolbar.

    Open the Edit Configurations dialog

    In the Edit Configurations dialog that opens, click the Add button (the Add button) on the toolbar and select Node.js from the list. The Run/Debug Configuration: Node.js dialog opens.

  2. Specify the Node.js interpreter to use.

    If you choose the Project alias, RustRover will automatically use the project default interpreter from the Node interpreter field . In most cases, RustRover detects the project default interpreter and fills in the field itself.

    You can also choose another configured local or remote interpreter or click the Browse button and configure a new one.

  3. In the JavaScript File field, specify the path to the main file of the application that starts it (for example, bin/www for Express applications).

  4. Optionally:

    • Specify the Node parameters that customize the start of Node.js. For example, you may want to enable an experimental Node.js feature or pass another option. For more information, refer to the Node.js official website.

    • In the Application parameters field, specify the Node.js-specific arguments to be passed to the application on start through the process.argv array.

    • To open the application in the browser automatically, configure a before-launch task. Click to expand the Before launch area, click the Add button, and select Launch Web Browser from the list. In the dialog that opens, specify the URL of the application starting page, for example, localhost:3000 for Express applications, and the browser to use.

      Before-launch task: open browser

Run an application

  • Create a run/debug configuration as described above or modify an existing one and click Run in the dialog.

  • Alternatively, select the newly created run configuration from the list on the main toolbar and click the Run button.

    Start an app with a run/debug configuration

    The application starts, and the Run tool window opens showing the application output.

If you are using a logging tool like morgan in your application and this tool writes logs to a file, you can see these logs in the Console tab of the Run tool window.

Manage logs when running a Node.js application

  1. Create a Node.js run/debug configuration as described above and go to the Logs tab.

  2. Click the Add button next to the Log files to be shown in console field which lists the available log files (if any).

  3. In the Edit Log Files Aliases dialog that opens, type the alias name to show in the list of log entries and specify the location of the log file. Select whether you want to show all files that this pattern covers or only the last one.

  4. Click OK to return to Node.js Run/Debug Configuration dialog, where the new log file is added to the list. Select the Is Active checkbox next to it. To skip the previous content, select the Skip Content checkbox.

  5. Optionally:

    • To enable saving the Process Console output to a log file, select the Save console output to file checkbox and specify the file location.

    • Choose when you want the Process Console shown.

Debugging a Node.js application

RustRover makes it easier to debug Node.js applications. You can put breakpoints right in your JavaScript or TypeScript code so you no longer need any debugger and console.log() statements. You can do many things that will help you explore the code and understand where the bug is. In the Debug tool window, you can view the call stack and the variables in their current state, evaluate expressions in the editor, and step through the code.

You can initiate a debugging session in two ways:

  • Start the debugger together with your application using a Node.js run/debug configuration.

  • Attach the debugger to an already running application. In this case, your application is already running in the debug mode and RustRover attaches to a running process.

    RustRover recognizes --inspect, --inspect-brk, and now deprecated --debug flags so you can make any application accessible for debugging.

    To debug a running application, use an Attach to Node.js/Chrome configuration.

With RustRover, you can also debug Node.js applications that are running in Vagrant boxes, in Docker containers, or on remote hosts accessible via various transfer protocols or via SSH.

Starting the debugger together with a Node.js application on your computer

Start and debug a Node.js Express app
  1. Set the breakpoints in the code where necessary.

  2. Create a Node.js run/debug configuration as described above.

    To open the application in the browser automatically, configure a before-launch task. Click to expand the Before launch area, click the Add button, and select Launch Web Browser from the list. In the dialog that opens, specify the URL of the application starting page, for example, localhost:3000 for Express applications, and the browser to use.

    Before-launch task: open browser
  3. From the Select run/debug configuration list on the toolbar, select the newly created Node.js configuration and click the Debug button next to it.

    Start a Node.js  debugging session with a run/debug configuration

    The Debug tool window opens.

  4. Perform the steps that will trigger the execution of the code with the breakpoints. For example, navigate from the starting page of your application to another page in the browser.

  5. Switch to RustRover, where the controls of the Debug tool window are now enabled. Proceed with the debugging session — step through the breakpoints, switch between frames, change values on-the-fly, examine a suspended program, evaluate expressions, and set watches.

Debugging a running Node.js application

With RustRover, you can debug an already running application with the Chrome Debugging Protocol or with the V8 Debugging Protocol (also known as Legacy Protocol).

In either case, a debugging session is initiated through an Attach to Node.js/Chrome configuration.

Start the debugger from the built-in Terminal or from the Run or Debug tool window

If an application was started with the --inspect or --inspect-brk flag, you can start a debugging session from the built-in Terminal, from the Run tool window, or from the Debug tool window.

Attach the debugger to a running app from the built-in Terminal
  1. Run your application with an --inspect or --inspect-brk flag. You can do that in several ways, for example:

    • Open the embedded Terminal (Alt+F12) and, type:

      node --inspect-brk <path to the starting page of your application relative to the project root>

    • Launch a script from package.json or from the npm tool window. For more information, refer to Run and debug scripts.

      Launch an app in the debug mode: launch a script

      Depending on the action you select from the list, the output will be shown in the Run or in the Console tab of the Debug tool window.

  2. The Terminal, the Run tool window, or the Console tab of the Debug tool window shows an information message Debugger listening <host>:<port>, the default port is 9229. To start debugging, hold Ctrl+Shift and click the link.

    RustRover starts a debugging session with an automatically generated Attach to Node.js/Chrome configuration.

Debug with Chrome Debugging Protocol

Use this protocol to debug applications started with the --inspect or --inspect-brk flag. This flag is used with Node.js versions later than 6.3.

  1. Set the breakpoints as necessary.

  2. Go to Run | Edit Configurations in the main menu, then click Add New Configuration in the Edit Configuration dialog that opens, and select Attach to Node.js/Chrome from the list. The Run/Debug Configuration: Attach to Node.js/Chrome dialog opens.

  3. Specify the host where the target application is running and the port passed to --inspect or --inspect-brk when starting the Node.js process to connect to. Copy the port number from the information message Debugger listening <host>:<port> in the Terminal tool window or in the Run tool window that controls the running application.

    Start debugging from Run tool window or Terminal: information message
  4. In the Attach to area, select Chrome or Node.js > 6.3 started with --inspect.

  5. From the Select run/debug configuration list on the toolbar, select the newly created Attach to Node.js/Chrome configuration and click the Debug button next to it. The Debug tool window opens.

  6. Perform the actions that will trigger the code at the breakpoint. Control over the debugging session returns to RustRover.

  7. Switch to RustRover. In the Debug tool window, step through the breakpoints, switch between frames, change values on-the-fly, examine a suspended program, evaluate expressions, and set watches.

Debug with V8 Debugging Protocol

Use this protocol to debug applications started with the --debug flag. This flag is used with Node.js versions earlier than 8.

  1. Create an Attach to Node.js/Chrome run/debug configuration as described above and specify the host and the port passed to --debug. The default port is 9229.

  2. Make sure the application to debug was launched with the following parameters: --debug=<debugger port>. The default port is 5858.

  3. Proceed as during a debugging session with Chrome Debugging Protocol.

Debugging a Node.js application that uses nodemon

The RustRover built-in debugger can automatically reconnect to running Node.js processes. This lets you debug Node.js applications that use the nodemon utility, which automatically reloads your Node.js process when the code is updated.

To debug such application, you need to start it in the debug mode (with the --inspect or --inspect-brk flag) and then connect to it using the Attach to a Node.js/Chrome debug configuration with the Reconnect Automatically option on.

Install nodemon

  • In the embedded Terminal (Alt+F12) , type npm install --save-dev nodemon or yarn add nodemon --dev to install nodemon as a development dependency.

Start an application with nodemon in the debug mode

  • Create and run the following npm debug script:

    debug": "nodemon --inspect <path_to_the_file_that_starts_your_application>

    For more information, refer to Running and debugging scripts.

  • Alternatively, pass the inspect flag through a Node.js run/debug configuration as described above.

Debug an application

  1. Set the breakpoints in your code as necessary.

  2. Create a new Attach to a Node.js/Chrome configuration as described in Debugging a running Node.js application and select the Reconnect automatically checkbox.

    Attach no Node.js run configuration: select the Reconnect automatically checkbox

    Usually, you don’t need to change the port in the configuration 9229 because it’s the default port the debugger is listening on. But you can double-check what port is used in the message logged when you run the app in the debug mode.

    Node.js application with  nodemon running in the debug mode: check the port
  3. From the Select run/debug configuration list on the toolbar, select the newly created Attach to Node.js/Chrome configuration and click the Debug button next to it. The debugger stops at the breakpoints that you put in your code in RustRover.

    Now, every time you make any changes to the code and save them Ctrl+S, nodemon will automatically reload the application, and the debugger will automatically re-attach to the restarted process.

Last modified: 06 May 2024