How to debug node.js application with Visual Studio 2013 and Node Tools NTVS

I have moved an existing node.js + express project to VS because I prefer the IDE over JetBrains for now (used VS for years, only peeked into Webstorm).

I used NTVS new project->from existing sources and all files were imported successfully.

Afterwards, I opened the project settings of my project and set the node.exe arguments to bin\www, startup file for express.

When I press F5 (debug) I get the console.log messages I have put into the www and app.js files in the opening command prompt, and it looks like the server is running (cannot confirm, I want to debug if everything is working), but the VS debugger directly exits again, it also does not open any page in the browser I selected for debugging.

My node app actually is a REST webservice, so I want to test different URLs with different parameters.

Also, I cannot access the app on the port I specified, though when I directly start it from node.exe I can, even though the command prompt is still open.

(I have NTVS and WebEssentials installed - some operations take a long long time, but I attribute this to NTVS being still an early version.)

Question: how does the Visual Studio debugger stay connected to the node.js application so I can use breakpoints and use any browser then to connect and test different URLs? (Even a breakpoint put on the console.log that gets printed during startup is not being triggered.)


For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds....

(and yes, I did spend a long time searching and trying before posting here..)

Kind of nice to debug node.js server with VS..

hope this helps someone

Edit: The arguments to node.exe can be hard to read in the image. It must be


that is with two dashes (and not just one) to specify the debug port.

Not so much knowledge on expressjs but with a recent release of NTVS 1.0 Alpha, I did find it supports remote debugging which can be also used to debug nodejs app running locally - anyway haven't tried if it works with nodejs app + expressjs but it should.

I followed the step in this video which is

  1. Run your nodejs with node.exe RemoteDebug.js <your_javascript_file>. RemoteDebug.js has come when you install NTVS.
  2. In Visual Studio, select Debug > Attach to Process
  3. Select Node.js remote debugging for Transport
  4. Enter localhost:5859 for Qualifier
  5. Click Attach

This will put Visual Studio in debugging mode which you can set a breakpoint, do step-in/step-out, very same experience when you use VS to debug .NET app.

Its pretty straight forward with NTVS, you can download required version for your windows from github here

Once you install NTVS, NodeJS project templates will be added

Now, Goto File->New project -> Basic NodeJS Express 3 application (it will be available in javascript project templates)

Now just goto debug and select Start Debugging, add breakpoints where ever required and you can start debugging

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