1.0.3 • Public • Published


unweave is a terminal interface to Google's V8 Inspector for Node.js applications. It aims to provide a comfortable debugging experience when no graphical display is available.

Below is a screen capture of a debugging session with unweave:

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unweave provides essential information to analyze a piece of running software:

  • scrollable script source (script source window, top left above)
  • variables in scope with their types and values (environment active tab, top right above)
  • explorable directory with the sources of all imported modules (workspace inactive tab, top right above)
  • customizable log which also alerts about any errors unweave might have encountered (messages window, center right above)
  • available actions in any state unweave might be (instructions active tab, bottom above)
  • user defined queries to Inspector (query Inspector inactive tab, bottom above)
  • breakpoint placement (add breakpoint inactive tab, bottom above)


unweave is delivered as a npm package and is more convenient to use if installed globally:

    $ npm install --global unweave

An operation which can be reverted with:

    $ npm uninstall --global unweave

Alternatively, unweave can be added to a npm project with local visibility only, for example to help with debugging during development:

    $ npm install --save-dev unweave

And inversely:

    $ npm uninstall --save-dev unweave

Both of the last two commands are executed in the npm project's root directory.

unweave requires Node.js version 12.0.0 or greater to work, and tests require Node.js version 12.9.0 at least to run. It works as designed on Linux, with a few caveats on Windows (cmd.exe and Powershell) and hasn't been tested on macOS. It doesn't work on Windows with MSYS2 or Mingw64 and hasn't been tested with Cygwin. Tests only run on Linux.



unweave can either start the Inspector session, connect to it and set it up or attach to an existing session. The first approach requires to point to the script to debug:

    $ unweave example.js

or with a local install, in the project's directory:

    $ npx unweave example.js

The second approach has two steps. Firstly, Inspector is started with the target script. Secondly, unweave is run with the Inspector session's hash as argument, and if necessary with its address or port (the latter default to localhost and 9229, which are Inspector's defaults):

    $ node --inspect-brk example.js
    Debugger listening on ws://
    For help, see: https://nodejs.org/en/docs/inspector

And then:

    $ unweave --session e21bc327-68e0-4d87-a470-b5f9640e22dc

Or again with all possible options:

    $ unweave --address --port 9229 --session e21bc327-68e0-4d87-a470-b5f9640e22dc

Or in short form:

    $ unweave -a -p 9229 -s e21bc327-68e0-4d87-a470-b5f9640e22dc

If this is a local install, replace unweave with npx unweave above.


unweave is modal, which means that a thematic set of actions is available after a mode is activated and until it is superseded by another one. Available modes correspond to the windows and tabs on the screen whose titles show an highlighted character that is the activating key. Once a mode is activated, the possible actions are listed in the instructions tab at the bottom of the screen, one of which terminates the mode and focuses back on the default script source mode. In any state, the active mode's window title is entirely highlighted.

The modes are:

Mode Activating Key Terminating Key Special Behaviour
script source None Ctrl+C Activated first and when any other mode terminates. Terminating this mode closes unweave
environment e Enter None
workspace w Enter Terminating this mode displays the source of the selected script
messages m Enter None
query Inspector q Enter Hides the instructions and captures all subsequent inputs with backspace erasing recorded characters. Terminating this mode sends the typed query to Inspector. The query has the form MethodName ParametersObject, such as for example Debugger.continueToLocation {scriptId: \"50\", lineNumber: 3}. See the Inspector protocol
add breakpoint b Enter Hides the instructions and captures all subsequent inputs with backspace erasing recorded characters. Terminating this mode sets a breakpoint on the displayed script at the line whose number is typed


Let's walk through an example debugging session with unweave. Consider the following script example.js that you can find in the doc directory:

    const { multiplyBy } = require('./imports.js');
    if (multiplyBy(2)(3) === 6) {
    else {
    $ node doc/example.js

It seems that multiplyBy is not doing what is expected. Let's check this with unweave:

    $ unweave doc/example.js

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Notice that the window title script source is highlighted: this is the active mode. At the bottom of the screen are the possible actions in this mode. Try to scroll down and up with "j" and "k".

Note also in the environment tab the presence of the multiplyBy variable which is imported. It is reported as undefined. Indeed, the execution is paused before the import logic at the first line of the script, as seen with the arrow in the script source window. Step through with "n" until the execution reaches the if statement. Take note of the updated type of multiplyBy: this is a function and we want to check it.

To do so, we switch to the workspace mode to explore the script sources. We see that the workspace tab has "w" highlighted in its title. This is the key to activate this mode, let's press it:

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The workspace title is now highlighted and the instructions have changed. We want to take a look at imports.js so we select the next entry ("j") and validate the selection ("enter"):

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By typing "enter", we produced the display of imports.js and terminated the workspace mode, switching back to the script source mode. Let's place a breakpoint in multiplyBy by activating the add breakoint mode ("b"). From now on, everything we type is displayed in the add breakpoint tab. Type a few characters and delete them with "backspace". Then type "1" and press "enter", effectively placing a breakpoint at line 1 in imports.js and leaving the mode back to the default script source mode. Notice a star appeared on the script source, marking a breakpoint. Let's continue the execution ("c"):

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The run continued freely but eventually hit the breakpoint in multiplyBy and the arrow marking the execution joined the star in the script source. Check the environment to see the values of the parameters n and transform. Note also that "transform" is highlighted in the source. This marks the next statement to be evaluated. It is a ternary operator and we can already guess that successor will be called as transform is reported undefined in the environment. Let's make sure of this by stepping into the next function call with "s":

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The execution expectedly reached the successor function, n equals 2 but the function returns n + 1. Step over until you are back into multiplyBy's scope. Take a look at the environment and see that multiplicator which is part of the returned function's closure equals 3. Step out ("f") of multiplyBy to get back to the main function:

Alt text

Now the situation is clear: multiplyBy accepts a second argument which is a function to transform its first input and returns a multiplicator by the transformed value. Counter-intuitively, this second argument is not defaulted to the identity function but to the successor function. So multiplyBy(2)(3) equals 3 * 3, that is 9 and not 6. Step once to verify that the execution branches into the else clause. Finally, finish your session by typing "ctrl+c".

We can now fix our code. The new example.js is:

    const { multiplyBy } = require('./imports.js');
    if (multiplyBy(2, n => n)(3) === 6) {
    else {
    $ node doc/example.js


npm i unweave

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