An improved DevTools editing workflow

AUG 05, 2013
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By Vsevolod Vlasov, DevTools Software Engineer and Workspace Ninja

Cross-posted from the Chromium Blog

With Chrome DevTools our goal is to make your experience as a web developer as productive as possible. In the most recent version of Chrome we've added three major new features that will improve your authoring experience more than ever before.

Workspaces allows you to live-edit source files within DevTools with bidirectional disk persistence. CSS preprocessor mapping supports Sass file live-editing in the DevTools, allowing you to instantly see your changes. Finally snippets lets you create, edit, save and execute custom JavaScript snippets.


Within Workspaces you can load complete local filesystem folders (including back-end files such as scripts and build/deployment files) into the DevTools editor and map these to network resources. This enables you to author and tweak your scripts and styles, instantly see those changes reflected in the browser and have them transparently persist to disk — no more switching back and forth between browser and editor. The editor now supports syntax highlighting for a number of languages including PHP, Python, Java, CSS, HTML and of course JavaScript.

CSS preprocessor mapping

CSS preprocessors like Sass make it easier to organize your CSS, but until now tweaking your styles required switching to another program and refreshing Chrome. CSS preprocessor mapping enables live-editing of these sources directly within the Sources panel. To see it in action, just map the .scss file, then Ctrl-click on a property or value to jump to the variable, mixin or function that defined it. Support for other pre-processors such as Less, Stylus and Compass is in the works. Refer to the improved DevTools css-preprocessor documentation for more details and setup instructions.


There are times when you want to be able to save smaller scripts, bookmarklets and utilities so that you always have them available while debugging in the browser. Snippets is a new DevTools feature that makes it possible. It allows you to create, store and run JavaScript within the Sources tab. It gives you a multi-line console with syntax-highlight and persistence, making it convenient for prototyping code that is more than a one-liner. There's also a community-curated repository of snippets for developers that contains useful snippets such as color pickers, CSS prettyfiers, logging helpers and much more.

Today’s new features should help make web developers even more productive with DevTools. Please follow us on Google+ at Google Chrome Developers or on Twitter at @ChromiumDev and send feedback at

Vsevolod Vlasov is a Software Engineer on the Chrome DevTools team in Saint Petersburg, Russia.
His current work focuses on improving web developers authoring workflow.

Posted by Ashleigh Rentz, Editor Emerita