Debugging This Blog with VSCode

Debugging This Blog with VSCode

I'm making some significant changes to the code behind this blog today. Specifically, I'm going to move my micropost "front matter" from the post.excerpt or post.custom_excerpt field to the "body" of the post where it might look like this example (taken from this very post):

location: Toledo, IA
price: $50.00
note: This is just some sample "front matter". My parser removed the "split" characters from the delimiter you see here.

I Need VSCode Debugging!

To do this effectively I really need live dev debugging in VSCode, but how can I do that?

Well, I turned first to Tips for debugging in 11ty by George Griffiths because it looked very promising. In the second half of that post under the heading of Debugging with VS Code there are instructions for creating a .vscode/lanuch.json to do this, and I did. But how does one "attach" their debugger to the script I use to launch/test this blog locally? That command by the way is yarn start.

My Debugger Configuration

So, I found that the stock launch.json prescribed by George didn't quite work in my situation, I had to add a configuration AND with a small change, and turn off Auto Attach debugging.

I clicked on the debugger icon in the left-hand pane of my VSCode window and there I had the option to add a configuration. I clicked that and was presented with several choices. After incorrectly trying a few options I settled on one labeled Run Script: start and it almost worked.

The configuration added to my launch.json file included "command": "yarn run start", but that's not quite right for me. I simply use yarn start to launch my local dev instance of this blog, so I made that change to lanuch.json so that file now reads:

  "name": "11ty",
  "type": "node",
  "request": "launch",
  "program": "${workspaceRoot}/node_modules/.bin/eleventy",
  "stopOnEntry": false,
  "args": [],
  "cwd": "${workspaceRoot}",
  "console": "internalConsole",
  "configurations": [
      "type": "node-terminal",
      "name": "Run Script: start",
      "request": "launch",
      "command": "yarn start",
      "cwd": "${workspaceFolder}"

It Works!

Now when I open the debugger and click the green start arrow beside Run Script: start I can see .eleventy.js begin running and it stops at any breakpoints I have set. It even works when stepping into my custom.js script, all the while showing me the call stack and variables that are in-scope at the time. Yay!

Thank You George!

Wait, There's More

Even better news is that I can still run yarn start locally without involving the debugger. Nice.