Dev Tools Super Power

Learning Goals

  1. Open the developer tools
  2. Use the developer tools to locate and inspect elements
  3. Edit HTML using the developer tools

Introduction

By now, you're pretty familiar with HTML structural elements, and how they relate to each other on the page. You might even feel pretty comfortable writing your own valid HTML. But much of the time as developers, we'll be jumping in on projects that are already in progress. We'll need a way to view existing HTML and CSS, and potentially a way to play around with elements on live pages to see how we might potentially adjust things. Luckily for us, most browsers have those kinds of tools already built in, called developer tools, or dev tools for short. In this lesson, we'll look at the dev tools on Google Chrome.

Open the Developer Tools

The Developer tools that browsers provide you are a great way to experiment with HTML and CSS, and immediately see how those changes are rendered in the browser.

For this lesson, please open the Twitter account of your favorite celebrity in Chrome. If you don't know their Twitter handle, a quick Google search should find it for you. (Drawing a blank? Try using the Flatiron School twitter account.)

Once the page is open, right click on the body of their very first tweet. You should get a list of options. We want to click on the one that says Inspect. This is going to bring up a window at the bottom of the page that contains all of the HTML that makes up that Twitter page.

Use the developer tools to locate and inspect elements

If you hover over elements, you should see different colored boxes appear over different parts of the page. We're going to hover over the HTML until we find the section that contains the text of the first tweet. It should look like this:

<p class="TweetTextSize TweetTextSize--normal js-tweet-text tweet-text"
lang="en" data-aria-label-part="0">...</p>

Edit HTML using the developer tools

There should be a drop down arrow next to the first <p... If you don't already see more elements nested under that <p>, click on the arrow. When you click it, more text should show up, including the actual body of the tweet. Right click that text and select Edit as HTML.

A new window will pop up where we can actually go in and type. Try deleting the body of the tweet, and entering your own message. Once you're done, just click outside of the text window, and take a look back at the tweet in the browser. It should have changed to your message.

If you refresh the page, your text will disappear. We're just editing HTML in our own web browser, not on Twitter's web server. Feel free to scroll around on Twitter and play with all sorts of different HTML elements and see what happens.

Editing images

See if you can find an image. It will be wrapped in HTML tags that start with <img src=.... You can right click on the image tag in the HTML and again select Edit as HTML. Between the quotes after src= you can replace the image with another one from a website. For example,

<img src="./my_image.jpg" alt="Some Image">

might become

<img src="http://images2.fanpop.com/image/photos/9400000/Aaaaaawwwwwwwwww-Sweet-puppies-9415255-1600-1200.jpg" alt="Puppies">

Feel free to play with other HTML elements and watch things change on the page.

Bonus

If you want to attempt to change any of the styles of the page, take a look at the right-hand column. CSS, which stands for Cascading StyleSheets, manages all the styles of your page (think background color, font size, placement of different items on the page, etc).

Feel free to play around, check and uncheck boxes, change colors, change pixels. It's okay if you "mess things up". Just refresh the browser and it will all go back to how it was!

View Dev Tools Super Power on Learn.co and start learning to code for free.

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Learn about Flatiron School's Mission

With a new take on education that falls somewhere between self-taught prodigy and four-year computer science degree, the Flatiron School promises to turn students with little programming experience into developers.

In the six months since the Manhattan coding school was acquired by WeWork, it has spawned locations in Washington, D.C., Brooklyn, and London. Now, WeWork is opening a fourth Flatiron School location, this time in Houston.

Adam Enbar, Flatiron School's cofounder, believes now is the time to grow. "How the world is changing has impacted working and learning in very similar ways. We think education fundamentally is about one thing: enabling people to pursue a better life."

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