F12 Developer Tools for Apps for Office

… or lack thereof!

Yesterday I posted up about Apps for Office, and included a little demonstration of how to hook selection events in Excel. Pretty trivial code to write. However one of the things that I was concerned about was debugging layout issues within the app container (an embedded browser) running in Excel.

Turns out after a little investigation that a new feature within Visual Studio 2012 nicely solves this problem. The feature was introduced to help developers who are building Windows 8 Store apps using HTML+JS – in that environment you can’t hit F12 and bring up the developer tools either.

The DOM Explorer window can be brought up from the “Debug | Windows | DOM Explorer” menu option when you are debugging an application. To demonstrate, I’ve uploaded a video which goes along with my sample code up on GitHub.

One thought I do have is whether this might be useful for debugging any embedded IE browser in any application – that would be cool! My experimentation indicates that some extra work might be required to open the application up for debugging that way. Anyway – this solved my immediate problem!


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