Part of the allure of Chrome was its wonderful debugging tools, they looked and felt as modern as the browser, and I also felt it provided a more intuitive means to get at the underlying data behind the browsers magic. With the introduction of Internet Explorer 11 (IE) I feel that we have seen a significant move to push the developer tools even further along.

Currently IE11 only exists on my Windows 8.1 preview machine and so the following constitute my first impressions.

Data, data, data … I cannot make bricks without clay.

IE developer tools have always been functional, but the UI always looked like it was dragged kicking and screaming from the turn of the century… no longer. The DOM explorer itself provides a much improved ability to visualize padding and margins, previously there was little or no immediate visual indication.

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There is an new emulation mode that goes beyond the ability to show previous versions of IE, in fact it delves into user agents for competing browsers as well as competing mobile devices (even the Xbox gets a showing). Orientation, Resolution and even Geolocation are additional parameters that can be altered.

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Memory consumptions gets more visual appeal and allows you to actually take snapshots for future interrogation. Each snapshot allows you to view the objects based on dominators, types and roots. If you ever wondered which objects effected the memory footprint at a given moment this provides an easy to navigate graph over time.

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Accurately testing the responsiveness of an app has been a challenge in the past, but no longer. You are able to easily review the effects your webpages has on CPU and just as importantly the frames per second. The varying colors in the graph indicate loading, scripting, styling, rendering and image decoding.

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I am stilling patiently waiting for a truly unified and holistic solution that marries Visual Studio and these browser developer tools, but until then this is a brilliant interim step.