The browser console is one of the most important parts of developing for the web. Every message that appears in the console should be relevant to the developer. When this is no longer the case, and messages start piling up that have no bearing to the matter at hand, developers learn to ignore those messages. This leads to an inability to solve problems.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked over a developer’s shoulder and fixed a problem for them simply by looking at their console. Perhaps six of the messages were irrelevant, but one of them was relevant. And that one held the key to solving the problem. Too bad those other six were there. They gave the developer permission to ignore the seventh one.

The console should be treated as a first class citizen. One very practical way we can help it achieve this status is by constantly pruning from the console things that are irrelevant. Over time, unhelpful messages from third party vendors and even our own code base tend to accrue. Every effort to get rid of these is time well spent.

Here’s to a console that shows nothing other than messages that require your immediate attention. Treat your console like your inbox. Keep it clean.1

  1. Also, happy July 4th. I imagine our Founding Fathers stayed pretty busy on this day in 1776, and I aim to too. ↩︎