Debugging Angular apps created with Angular CLI in WebStorm

Angular CLI can help us bootstrap a new Angular app with a ready to useTypeScript and Webpack configuration. In this post we’ll see how to debug such apps in WebStorm.

If you have never used JavaScript debugger in WebStorm before, we recommend watching this video first to learn how to get started. The same way you can debug Angular apps in IntelliJ IDEA, PhpStorm, PyCharm and RubyMine.

We have an app generating with Angular CLI. We are using version 1.0.0-beta.26 – the latest available at the time of creating this post, the end of January 2017. Please note that Angular CLI is still in beta – new versions are released often and they might introduce some breaking changes.

  • Run npm start to get the app running in the development mode.
    You can do this either in the terminal or by double-clicking the task in the npm tool window in WebStorm.
  • Wait till the app is compiled and the Webpack dev server is ready. Open http://localhost:4200/ to view it in browser.


Note that when the dev server is running, the app will automatically reload if you change any of the source files.

  • Create a new JavaScript debug configuration in WebStorm (menu Run – Edit configurations… – Add – JavaScript Debug) to debug the client-side TypeScript code of your app. Paste http://localhost:4200/ into the URL field.

In WebStorm 2017.1 (now available under the Early Access Preview)

No additional configuration is needed: save the configuration and you’re ready to go.

In WebStorm 2016 (.1, .2 and .3)

Configure the mapping between the files in the file system and the paths specified in the source maps on the dev server. This is required to help WebStorm correctly resolve the source maps.

The mapping should be between the src folder and webpack:///./src

Add this value to the table with the project structure in the debug configuration like this:

To get this mapping, we investigated the content of http://localhost:4200/ file. This is a source map file for the bundle that contains the compiled application source code. Search for main.ts, the main app’s file; its path is webpack:///./src/main.ts.

  • Save the configuration, place breakpoints in your code and start a new debug session by clicking the Debug button next to the list of configurations on the top right corner of the IDE. The browser will open on http://localhost:4200/.
  • Once a breakpoint is hit, go to the debugger tool window in the IDE. You can explore the call stack and variables, step through the code, set watcher, evaluate variables and other things you normally do when debugging.


There’s a known limitation:

  • The breakpoints put in the code executed on page load might not be hit when you open an app under debug session for the first time. The reason is that the IDE needs to get the source maps from the browsers to be able to stop on a breakpoint you’ve placed in an original source, and that only happens after the page has been fully loaded at least once. As a workaround, reload the page in the browser.

Your WebStorm Team

About Ekaterina Prigara

Ekaterina Prigara is WebStorm product marketing manager at JetBrains. She's passionate about new technologies, UX and coffee.
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9 Responses to Debugging Angular apps created with Angular CLI in WebStorm

  1. Sean says:

    I can say that that debugging works A LOT better in 2017.1 with cli.
    However there still 2 show stoppers to be fixed before so I can say WebStorm is awesome:

    1. var not available with arrow functions:
    2. debug crashes and leaks memory:

    please attend to these issues as I have reported them numerous times,

    Angular 2 Kitchen sink:
    and source@


  2. Brad S says:

    I work in Node.js, serverless-webpack, Typescript. I have no clue on how to get debugger to work in this environment. Is there help for this?

    • Ekaterina Prigara says:

      Do you know any open-source app with a similar setup we can try?
      In theory, it should all “just work” if you have source maps (devtool: “source-map” in your Webpack config).

  3. Gavin says:

    I work in Webstorm 2017 and angular2 with cli and follow every step in your article. When I click the debug button, the chrome show my index page but the breakpoints don’t work at all. What’s more, there is a message in webstorm saying that “WebSocket connection to ‘ws://localhost:4200/sockjs-node/819/wi40mzst/websocket’ failed: Connection closed before receiving a handshake response”.

    Any suggestion to fix it? Thanks a lot!

  4. Zuriel says:

    The problem that I have is the inspector kills the debug connection. Which is fine since you are using Jetbrains to debug, but what if you need the responsive viewport features and the touch events. No way to emulate iphone in chrome that I know of without first opening the developer tools. Is there a workaround?

    • Ekaterina Prigara says:

      No, sorry, no workaround is available. WebStorm debugger uses the same debugging APIs DevTools use, thus, they can’t work simultaneously. The only possible option, I guess, is to have an app open in 2 different instances of Chrome and use WebStorm debugger in one them and DevTools in another.

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