No website is built perfectly. As with all human-made products, code errors are part of the process. This is why it is important to thoroughly test any new website you create to make sure it is as bug-free as possible to give your users the best possible experience.
You shouldn’t test a website without trying DevTools for Google Chrome first. Chrome Developer Mode allows you to try and test a new site (or existing one) thoroughly to find and fix bugs. It can also give you an idea of ??how other sites work, including viewing the source code.
Here’s everything you need to know about Google Chrome’s developer mode, its tools, and how to use them effectively.
What is Chrome developer mode?
When we talk about Chrome developer mode, we are not talking about the same developer mode that you see on a Chromebook. We are referring to the extensive Chrome development tools (called Google DevTools) built into the browser itself.
These are tools designed to test, analyze and deliberately hack (if necessary) a web page loaded in the Google Chrome browser for testing purposes. At a basic level, you can use DevTools to view the source code of a website, allowing you to look under the hood to see how the site was built and how well it is performing.
However, Google DevTools offers more than that. You can use Chrome developer mode to modify the page after it loads, run Google Chrome console commands to manipulate and control the page, and run speed and network tests to track web traffic.
You can also emulate other devices, including other operating systems and screen resolutions, in Chrome DevTools mode. This allows you to see if the site has a responsive web design and where the content and site layouts will change depending on the resolution or device type.
While these tools are aimed at professional web developers or testers, standard Chrome users are also comfortable with the DevTools suite. If you see an issue with a site that you can’t solve, switch to Chrome developer mode to see if the issue is with the site or with your browser.
How to access the Google Chrome DevTools menu
There are several ways to access the Google Chrome DevTools menu, depending on the tool you want to use.
The easiest way to do this is from the Google Chrome menu. To do this, click the menu icon with three dots in the upper right corner. From the menu that appears, choose More Tools> Developer Tools.
This will open the DevTools in a new menu on the right side of the open Chrome tab or window.
You can also do this with keyboard shortcuts. On a Windows or Linux PC, open the Chrome browser and press the F12 key. You can also press Ctrl + Alt + J or Ctrl + Alt + I in an open Chrome tab or window.
On macOS, press F12 or press Option + Command + J or Option + Command + I to open the Chrome DevTools menu instead. This will open the Chrome console with the option to navigate to other Chrome tools at the top of the DevTools menu.
Optionally, you can view the source code of the website (by opening the Items tab in the DevTools menu in progress) from any open web page by right-clicking and selecting the Checkout option.
Using Chrome DevTools
As we briefly touched on, you can use the Chrome DevTools to view the website’s source code in the Items tab. This will allow you to analyze the code of the loaded page, as well as view error messages (indicating problems with loading the site) in the Chrome console under the Console tab.
You can also view various sources of content on the website in the Sources tab. For example, if a site uses a Content Delivery Network (CDN), media from the site will be listed here as a different source.
Chrome developer mode allows you to download this content directly or perform more advanced content analysis.
If you want to check how the site is performing, you can monitor and record network usage in the Network tab. This will show the speed, size and type of network requests between your browser and site.
For example, when a page is first loaded, the site itself loads the page content, but it can also request data from third-party databases. For example, when you log in, it can query the database, which will appear here as a network query.
You can analyze this further in the Performance tab, where you can record your Chrome browser usage in more detail, including capturing screenshots at different points. This will log your site’s load time for further analysis.
For a deeper analysis of the content of your site, as well as any browser storage it may use (for example, to log data), you can search in the Application tab. You can view information about cookies on the site here, in the “Cookies” section, or clear the storage used by clicking on the “Clear storage” button.
If you are concerned about the security of your site, you can check how well it is performing in the Security tab. This will give you a quick overview of the results of Chrome’s page security analysis, including whether the page has a valid and reliable SSL certificate.
If you would like to generate a report on the performance of your site, including whether it meets standard user standards and if site performance can affect search engine optimization, you can go to the Lighthouse tab. It offers settings that you can set or uncheck for your report – click Generate Report to generate a report for viewing.
This is just a small part of the potential that Chrome developer mode can provide to developers. If you’d like to learn more, the Chrome DevTools documentation should help you with the tools and features it offers, including how to create your own custom tests with it.
Advanced Google Chrome Tricks
Most Chrome users will never know that their browser has the Google Chrome DevTools, but for power users it remains an extremely useful way to test and analyze websites. There are also third-party Chrome extensions for web developers to help you further test your site.
If you’re building a basic website, switching to Chrome developer mode can help you spot errors on your site that aren’t immediately visible. You can only do this if Chrome is working properly, so if you are struggling with Chrome crashes, you may need to reset or reinstall your browser first.