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50 Useful JavaScript Tools

By Jacob Gube

JavaScript is a powerful client-side scripting language used in many modern websites and Web applications. In the hands of a skilled Web developer, JavaScript can enhance the user’s experience of the website and provide rich interactive components and features. But even though syntactically simple in nature, JavaScript is often difficult to author because of the environment it runs in: the Web browser. JavaScript’s popularity is evident in emerging technologies, such as Adobe AIR1, which use it as a supported language for creating desktop-based applications.

Below, you’ll find 50 excellent tools to help you achieve various tasks involved in authoring JavaScript code. You’ll find useful tools to speed up your coding processes, including debugging tools to hunt down places where your scripts break, unit testing and validation tools to test your scripts in various situations, security vulnerability scanners and code optimization tools to make sure your scripts are light as a feather.

You’ll also find a few new and alternative JavaScript and AJAX frameworks to help you explore options beyond the big names (i.e. MooTools, jQuery, YUI, Dojo, Prototype), in addition to useful scripts to help you accomplish a host of design and development tasks related to JavaScript.

Also, be sure to check out the following related posts:

JavaScript/AJAX Authoring Tools Link

  • jQuery UI5
    The jQuery UI allows you to design custom user interfaces for Web applications using the jQuery6 library. With jQuery UI, you can reduce the amount of code you write for common rich interactive features and website widgets. Be sure to check out the jQuery UI Demo7 page, which showcases some of the things you can accomplish using jQuery UI.

    jQuery UI - screen shot.8

  • Google Web Toolkit9
    The Google Web Toolkit (commonly referred to as GWT) is a framework for developing complex and fully featured AJAX-based Web applications. You write front-end code in Java that is later compiled into optimized and cross-browser-friendly JavaScript. GWT puts the focus on Web application development by reducing the need for testing and debugging JavaScript for browser quirks.
  • Jx10
    Jx is a JavaScript library for creating graphical user interfaces written on top of the MooTools11 framework. Jx is distributed with an MIT license12 and is well documented. Numerous examples as well as thorough and well-organized API documentation is available on the website.

    Jx - screen shto.13

  • Freestyle Webtop Toolkit
    Freestyle aims to reduce the complexity and time involved in deploying Web-based user interfaces by eliminating the separation of client-side and server-side development. With Freestyle, you focus on programming logic and UI design, and it handles the rest (i.e. cross-browser compatibility and DHTML and AJAX development).

    Freestyle Webtop Toolkit - screen shot.

  • Script#
    Script# is an AJAX and JavaScript authoring tool that allows developers to write in C#. It also allows .NET developers to leverage their existing knowledge and provides powerful tools associated with the .NET framework.

    Script# - screen shot.

  • Aptana Jaxer
    Aptana Jaxer is the first “AJAX server” that allows developers to use their AJAX, HTML, JavaScript and DOM knowledge to create fully featured server-side-powered Web applications. With Jaxer, you can even write database queries in JavaScript syntax. Jaxer integrates very well with popular JavaScript libraries such as jQuery, Dojo14 and Ext JS15.
  • JS Regex Generator
    JS Regex Generator helps JavaScript developers write Regular Expressions16 for matching strings of text. This is commonly done for text-format validation, such as when checking if inputted text has the correct date and email format.

    JS Regex Generator - screen shot.

  • WaveMaker17
    WaveMaker is open-source software for complete Web application development and deployment. You can find a host of demo applications built and deployed using WaveMaker on the Demo Applications18 page.

    WaveMaker - screen shot.19

Documentation Tools Link

  • JSDoc Toolkit20
    JSDoc Toolkit makes code documentation a breeze. Written in JavaScript, it helps developers automatically generate templates for JavaScript comments. It’s a great tool for managing large-scale applications developed by teams of developers who have different coding styles.
  • jGrouseDoc21
    jGrouseDoc is an open-source project distributed through Google Code22 under a modified BSD license. It lets developers document and manage their code comments using a format similar to Javadoc23‘s.

    jGrouseDoc - screen shot.24

JavaScript Debugging Tools Link

  • Firebug25
    Firebug is an extremely popular and well-regarded front-end debugging tool. It has all the features you’d expect from a JavaScript debugging tool, such as the ability to set breakpoints in your code so that you can step through your script. For people developing outside of Mozilla-based browsers, check out Firebug Lite26, which is a JavaScript library you can include in your Web pages to access some of the features of Firebug.

    Firebug - screen shot.27

  • Venkman JavaScript Debugger
    Venkman is Mozilla’s JavaScript debugger and an add-on for Gecko-based browsers. Venkman is a robust and fully featured JavaScript debugging environment, with a host of useful features and options, such as code profiling to inspect your script’s performance.

    Venkman JavaScript Debugger - screen shot.

  • Drosera28
    Drosera is an excellent debugging tool for Safari and WebKit-based browsers.

    Drosera - screen shot.29

  • Opera Dragonfly30
    Opera Dragonfly is a robust debugging environment for the Opera browser. Dragonfly allows you to view and inspect errors, debug your scripts and inspect and edit the DOM and CSS on the fly.
  • NitobiBug
    NitobiBug is a browser-based JavaScript object logger and inspector. It runs on numerous browsers, including IE, Safari, Opera and Firefox. It is a powerful tool in helping developers build rich interactive AJAX applications.
  • DebugBar31
    DebugBar is an in-browser front-end debugger for Internet Explorer. Much like its Firefox counterparts, it has a robust set of features, such as DOM, JavaScript and cookie inspection. Be sure to check out Companion JS32, which is a JavaScript debugging library to be used alongside DebugBar.

    DebugBar - screen shot.33

  • Internet Explorer Developer Toolbar34
    Similar to Firebug, IE Developer Toolbar is an in-browser tool to help you debug front-end code in Internet Explorer. It’s especially handy as a debugging and inspection alternative to Firefox when you’re developing and testing in IE.

JavaScript Testing and Validation Tools Link

  • Test – JavaScriptMVC
    Test is a JavaScriptMVC component for easily setting up automated unit testing for JavaScript code. It lets you effectively test for DOM events (such as a key press or form submission), thereby lessening development time, oversight and errors associated with manual testing.

    Test - JavaScriptMVC - screen shot.

  • JsUnit
    JsUnit is a popular unit testing framework for JavaScript code. It’s a JavaScript port from another unit testing framework for Java called JUnit35. JsUnit allows you to write test cases and provides tools for automated code execution.
  • JSLint36
    JSLint is a Web-based tool for verifying your JavaScript code for errors. It has a ton of features and settings that you can use to customize verification algorithms to suit your needs.

    JSLint - screen shot.37

  • Crosscheck
    Crosscheck is an open-source testing framework for JavaScript. Crosscheck is unique because it works independent of environment: you can run tests outside of a Web browser, which avoids discrepancies that occur when testing in various browsers.
  • YUI Test38
    YUI Test is a suite of testing utilities that’s part of the YUI library39 developed by Yahoo!. It has numerous features, such as easy creation of test cases through an intuitive syntax, advanced failure detection and the ability to organize test cases by grouping them into test suites.

    YUI Test - screen shot.40

  • J3Unit41
    J3Unit is an excellent object-oriented unit-testing framework for JavaScript. It gives you a host of options for writing automated test cases and has three modes: Static Mode42, Local Browser Mode43 and Remote Browser Mode44.
  • Regular Expression Tool45
    The Regular Expression Tool is an online utility that allows you to test your RegEx code against a sample test. It’s a handy tool to have around when you want to quickly test the efficacy of your regular expressions in a variety of example texts.

    Regular Expression Tool - screen shot.46

  • JavaScript Regular Expression Tester47
    This is another handy tool for testing regular expressions within the Web browser.

    JavaScript Regular Expression Tester - screen shot.48

  • JSLitmus49
    JSLitmus is a lightweight tool for creating JavaScript benchmarks and performance tests, using an intuitive API.

    JSLitmus - screen shot.50

Security Tools Link

  • AttackAPI51
    AttackAPI is a framework for writing test cases of potential JavaScript exploits and vulnerabilities.
  • jsfuzzer52
    jsfuzzer is a fuzzing53 tool to help you write (and test for) attack vectors in JavaScript.

New and Alternative JavaScript and Ajax Development Frameworks Link

  • Clean AJAX54
    Clean AJAX is an open-source framework for creating AJAX-based applications. Check out the demo page to see it in action.

    Clean AJAX - screen shot.55

  • SAJAX56
    SAJAX is an excellent toolkit for developing AJAX-based applications. It supports PHP, Perl and Python.

    SAJAX - screen shot.57

  • JavaScriptMVC58
    JavaScriptMVC is a Web application framework based on the MVC59 software architectural pattern. It speeds up Web development processes and lays down best practices, maintainability and standards as principles in a project’s development.
  • qooxdoo60
    qooxdoo is a simple and intuitive AJAX application framework. Be sure to check out the Demo Browser61, a Web-based application that allows you to view demos of qooxdoo at work.

    qooxdoo - screen shot.62

  • SimpleJS
    SimpleJS is a small and lightweight JavaScript library that provides developers with useful JavaScript functions for working with AJAX.

Image Manipulation and Graphing Link

  • Reflection.js
    Reflection.js automatically adds reflections to your images unobtrusively. Also check out instant.js63, a similar script that adds an image border and tilts images on a Web page.

    Reflection.js - screen shot.

  • typeface.js
    typeface.js allows you to embed custom fonts on Web pages, freeing you from having to create images for HTML text.
  • CanvasGraph.js64
    CanvasGraph.js is a simple JavaScript library that lets you construct bar, line and pie charts using HTML’s canvas element.

    CanvasGraph.js - screen shot.65

  • flot66
    flot is a JavaScript library for plotting data and has been tested to work in most modern Web browsers.

    flot - screen shot.67

  • JavaScript Diagram Builder68
    The JavaScript Diagram Builder is a JavaScript library that consists of a variety of objects and functions for constructing diagrams.

    JavaScript Diagram Builder - screen shot.69

  • The Dojo Charting Engine
    The Dojo Charting Engine is a robust utility for creating components for data visualization, written on top of the Dojo Toolkit70.

Useful Utilities and JavaScript Scripts Link

  • Processing.js71
    Processing.js is a JavaScript port of Processing72, the open-source data-visualization programming language. Check out examples that use Processing.js73.
  • AJAX Libraries API74
    Google’s AJAX Libraries API allows you to serve popular JavaScript libraries using its CDN, which reduces the server load on your website.
  • DamnIT
    DamnIT is an error-reporting service that allows you to gather feedback from beta testers after they’ve encountered a JavaScript error. This is perfect for live production testing and as a monitoring tool that helps you track errors and weak spots in your Web applications.
  • ie7-js75
    ie7-js is a JavaScript library that forces Internet Explorer to behave like a standards-based browser (like Firefox or Opera). It automatically fixes IE browser quirks and deviations from Web standards, as in the case of its box model.
  • Lazy loader76
    Lazy loader is a jQuery plug-in that delays the loading of images so that text content can load first, thereby making image-heavy pages load faster.

JavaScript Code Optimization and Minification Tools Link

  • JS Minifier77
    JS Minifier is a Web-based tool for shrinking your JavaScript code to make it as lightweight as possible.

    JS Minifier - screen shot.78

  • JSMIN79
    JSMIN is a popular JavaScript minifier that removes unneeded characters (like spaces and tabs) and comments, thus reducing your script’s file size.
  • YUI Compressor80
    The YUI Compressor is another well-regarded JavaScript code-optimization tool developed by Yahoo!.
  • Scriptalizer81
    Scriptalizer is a helpful online tool for combining JavaScript files to reduce HTTP requests.

    Scriptalizer - screen shot.82

  • ShrinkSafe
    ShrinkSafe is a compression tool that reduces JavaScript file sizes.
  • SlickSpeed Selectors Test
    SlickSpeed is a Web page for comparing the performance of the DOM object selection of various popular frameworks like MooTools and jQuery.

    SlickSpeed Selectors Test - screen shot.


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Jacob Gube is the Founder and Chief Editor of Six Revisions, a web publication for web developers and designers, and the Deputy Editor of Design Instruct, a web magazine for designers and digital artists. He has over seven years of experience as professional web developer and web designer and has written a book on JavaScript.

  1. 1

    SVG with Javascript: Raphael

  2. 2

    Great compilation, thanks! The new IE8 Developer Toolbar is much better now, and finally includes JavaScript debugging.

  3. 3

    Brian Gottier

    February 8, 2009 6:53 pm

    Javascript! Run for the hills! That’s the way I’ve always felt about javascript. I just thankful that the syntax is nearly identical to PHP.

  4. 4

    Craig - Abrishca Digital Media

    February 9, 2009 4:00 am

    Great roundup – javascript is a great language that allows you to add “something special” to a site. However, the important thing to remember is to keep the site functional before the addition of any scripts – they are mostly there for the visual impact.

  5. 5

    Javascript is great. It’d also be real cool to see some Adobe Flex stuff on SmashMag one day :)

  6. 6

    This is awesome! Tnx :)

  7. 7

    Marvelous post :)

    I didn’t know Jx but I think it’s very useful. I found another Jx version for jQuery here.

  8. 8

    Andre Gironda

    February 9, 2009 6:24 am

    Also check out the Event Spy, Chickenfoot, iMacros, and Greasemonkey Firefox add-ons. There is an awesome script for Greasemonkey called XmlHttpRequestDebugging as well.

    Another lint program I found was JSON Lint.

    Other tools such as Sahi, Selenium (including the Firefox add-on IDE version), RBNarcissus, Watir / Watij / WatiN, and firewatir are great functional testing tools. Crawljax and CSpider.js are also worth a look for implemented crawling engines.

    JSSh, jasildbg, and JS Commander (jscmd) are additional debuggers.

    For security tools, you may want to list BeEF in addition to AttackAPI. The Technika project has some interesting features on top of Firebug. Other security-focused tools include ratproxy (from Google), and two tools from OWASP: Sprajax and Interceptor. There are also a few XML fuzzers such as untidy which may prove useful for security testing Ajax. A lot of potential comes way via the w3af attack tool, which currently supports DOM-based XSS testing, but will have even more future JS/Ajax/Flash/RIA security testing support.

    There are some nice Actionscript projects such as flash-thunderbolt which integrates with Firebug for when you’re debugging Flash applications and want to use something besides trace(). Web proxies such as Charles are also useful for Actionscript / AMF troubleshooting.

    Finally, in the commercial space I am aware of a few good tools. has a Javascript Coverage Verifier. HP makes a tool called WebInspect (and QAInspect) which includes Ajax/Flash security scanning – as does IBM with their AppScan product. Fortify Software has Javascript security and lint-like features in their static-analysis tool. I’d avoid Fortify if you’re only going to use it for this purpose because it’s really only going to tell you to avoid eval(), setInterval() and setTimeout() or equivalents.

  9. 9

    Nice round up Jacob !!

    There are definitely useful items, I very much rely on Web Developer extension for Firefox & Firebug and would happily recommend it to any other web developer and designer.

    Although You missed many other great tools in this list like… Roar, Growl, Got API, SproutCore, The Regulator, Snippely, Google Mashup Editor, Beautify Javascript, ThemeRoller etc. etc..

    And finally… The one which i missing a most is “Greasemonkey”.

    Thanks anyway for your nice effort.

    DKumar M.

  10. 10

    Thanks for this great list.

  11. 11

    I’m still just a beginner, but I find Visual jQuery extremely helpful!

  12. 12

    Nice list, how no-one minds, I’ll pimp my own mocking framework on Google code: (library agnostic but works best with Qunit). Just in case there’s any hardcore TDDers out there!

  13. 13

    Thnaks for this list.
    Maybe we can add LivePipe UI.
    LivePipe UI is a suite of high quality widgets and controls for web 2.0 applications built using the Prototype JavaScript Framework. Each control is well tested, highly extensible, fully documented and degrades gracefully for non JavaScript enabled browsers where possible. MIT licensed and actively maintained.

  14. 14

    Awesome. So awesome!

  15. 15

    Great reference list. In time for me. Thanks

  16. 16

    Maarten Van Coile

    February 9, 2009 6:24 am

    Btw. Drosera has been dead for more than a year now. It has been replaced, even in release versions of Safari, with the much more powerful Web Inspector. For more information, read the blog post: Web Inspector Redesign.

    Otherwise, a great list!

  17. 17

    Great list. Thanks!

  18. 18

    Andre Gironda

    February 9, 2009 7:18 am

    I also forgot to mention some trial tools such as Syhunt Sandcat Scanner Free edition and Acunetix WVS. AppScan and WebInspect are much better, but Syhunt and Acunetix have working trial downloads.

    Be sure to check out the Blueinfy tools –
    especially AppPrint and the scanweb2.0 tools! There are tools for Ajax/Flash fingerprinting, all written in Ruby, serving as great examples for testing purposes.

  19. 19

    That’s a very nice list! Thanks.
    As an addition to JavaScript authoring tools I’d mention DHX Toolkit (, they provide a set of nice-looking dhtml components, quite fast and easy to implement.

  20. 20

    Thank you very much!


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