The JavaScript console and getting started with javaScript

In just about any web browser there is a javaScript console to work with for debugging, but also to test out a little javaScript code often if the console supports doing so. There are many ways to go about getting started with javaScript, some of which require the installation of software that might not all ready be installed on the computer however, but this is often not the case when it comes to monkeying around in the javaScript console of a web browser. You see this console can be used as a way of getting started with javaScript, without installing any additional software beyond the web browser that you all ready have installed on your computer. So because of this the javaScript console might be a good starting point as anyone that has a browser like chrome installed can open the javaScript console, and start learning a thing or two about javaScript coding.

So then with the javaScript console with chrome at least there is no need to even look into editors, and javaScript related plug-ins for such editors, at least when it comes to just getting started at least. There is no need to install nodejs first, any package managers, git, or any additional special software. There is no need for any expensive software or hardware, or even to take classes when starring out with javaScript because there is so much great content for free on the open Internet way beyond the content of this post, that should go without saying naturally.

So then if you are reading this in a modern web browser such as chrome 92 or higher, that is running on top of a modern fully featured traditional desktop operating system when it comes to windows, Mac OSX or Linux, then that is all that is needed. So lets start out with the javaScript console as a way to get started learning the javaScript programing language.

1 - javaScript console getting started

In this post I am using the chrome devtools javaScript console in google chrome 86.x. It might still be possible to use the javaScript console as a way to get started with javaScript coding in other browsers, but for the sake of the content of this post I was using chrome when I wrote this.

To open the javaScript console at any web page use Control + Shift + J and the javaScript console should appear. By default the console tab should be selected, if not for whatever reason select the console tab. There is a lot to cover when it comes to the dev tools in chrome when it comes to the other tabs of interest, but in this post I will just be covering some basics with the javaScript console.
In this section I will be going over just some very basics when it comes to starting to play around with javaScript this way. This will include some basic expressions, variables, and functions.

1.1 - First line of javaScript as a simple addition expression

So lets getting started with javaScript in the google chrome javaScript console by just clicking in the console window and typing in a javaScript expression. The very first line of code could be something very simple like adding to numbers together, or concatenating a string by using the addition operator to add a number to a string.

> 5 + 5;
< 10
5 + '5'
> "55"

So in the above example I entered five plus five which of course returns ten as expected, however the same does not happen when one of the operands is a string of the number five. It does not result in an error, but returns the string “55”. This is because in javaScrit the addition operator is used for both addition and string concatenation.

1.2 - Variables

Now lets pull some variables into the mix that can be used to store a value. One way to go about doing so would be to use the var keyword. Using var might still be the best way to do so when it comes to working out some basic expressions in the javaScript console at least, I say that because using a modern alternative will require me to reload the page. There are modern alternatives such as let, and const, but getting into that here would be going off in a tangent for now at least.

> var n = 40;
< undefined
> n;
< 40
> n + 10;
< 50
> n = n + 60;
< 100
> n;
< 100

2 - Doing something with a page

So now that we have something basic covered lets get into something that actually does something with the page. One of the fun things about that javaScript console is that it can be used to do something involving the content of the page. Of course it will only effect the current loaded state in the browser locally, and undoing any changes is as simple as just reloading the browser. However it can still be a fun way to get started with client side web programing. In this section I will be going over some javaScript examples that can be copied and pasted into the javaScript console that do something cool with the content of the page.

2.1 - Concatenate all the paragraph elements in the page

There are many ways to go about getting references to one or more html elements in the page. In this example I am using the query selector all method to get all paragraph elements in the page by passing a string of the tag name for a paragraph element. So then then this method allows for getting one or more elements by way of a tag name, however it can also be used to select tags by way of class names, and id tags also.

The query selector all method returns an HTML Collection class instance rather than a plain old javaScript array, this kind of collection is formated like an array, but it is not of the same prototype. As such I can not directly use certain array prototype methods on such a collection. So in order to do anything with a javaScript array method with an html collection I need to do some magic with the function call method. The function call method is one way to go about getting a prototype method of one prototype to work with another if by chance it is formated the same way in terms of its properties. In this case I am using it with the array map method.

The array map method is a way to create a new array with elements that are based off of the content of a source array to which it is called off of. The source array in this case though is an html collection so I call the array map method with the function call method and pass the reference to the html collection that I get with the query all method as the first argument to the call method, then I pass a function that I want t be called to create the new value for the resulting new array that will be returned made with map. Inside the body of this function I am returning the inner text of each paragraph element. I am then using the array join method to join each paragraph text together into a single string, and I am placing a header element between each text. The final string value is then set to the inner html of the body element by way of the reference to the body element in the document object.

> document.body.innerHTML = []'p'), (el) => {
return el.innerText;

The end result of pasting this into the JavaScript console is having just the paragraph elements of the page with an hr element after each paragraph. This kind of copy and paste javaScript code example can be useful for various news sites that have a load of crap that loads bogging down my system. The result is then just the text that I want to read, and nothing else at all. Also because I am replacing all the content in the page this will result in errors happening when any preexisting scripts try to inject additional content, or do anything allowing with dom manipulation as the elements they are tiring to append to are no longer there.

2.2 - Swarm simulator auto clicker

This is an example of a basic tool kit that can be used with the game swarm simulator that can be found here. The example is what can be done when it comes to making a little javaScript code that works with the design of a certain web page, in this case it is a game called swarm sim. Once you have gone to the game site open up the javaScript console, and paste the following code into the javaScript console.

What this does is it creates a singe global variable called sm for swarm sim by returning a pubic api within the body of an IIFE. This global variable is an object with a few public methods attached to it. Once of which can be used to get a reference to a given tab in the navigation bar of the game, another can be used to get the link to a given upgrade, and another will get the max button when it comes to buying upgrades for an upgrade. These methods can be used manually to get a reference to an item that is to be clicked, and then I can call the click method off of one of these element references to simulate a click. However there is also a method that can be called to start or stop and internal loop powered by the set interval method that will do so automatically.

// get tap 'a' element
api.getTab = function(index){
index = index === undefined ? 0: index;
return document.querySelectorAll('.nav')[0].children[index].children[0];
// get an upgrade 'a' element to click
api.getUpgrade = function(index){
var ugl = document.querySelectorAll('tbody')[0].children;
index = index === undefined || index < 0 ? ugl.length - 2: index;
return ugl[index].children[1];
// get the max button to click
api.getMaxButton = function(){
var buttons = document.querySelectorAll('.btn-group')[0].children;
//var buttons = document.querySelectorAll('.btn');
return buttons[buttons.length - 1];
var autoClick = false,
ms = 10000,
upgradeIndex = -1, // -1 can be used to choose highest upgrade
var clickLoop = function(){
// click meat tab
// get upgrade
// click max button
// mess
console.log('auto click ( ms: ' + ms + '; ui: ' + upgradeIndex + ' )');
api.toggleAutoClick = function(set_ui, set_ms){
ms = set_ms === undefined ? 10000 : set_ms;
upgradeIndex = set_ui === undefined ? -1 : set_ui;
loopID = setInterval(clickLoop, ms);
autoClick = !autoClick;
console.log('auto click is ' + (autoClick ? 'on' : 'off') );
return api;
}(this['sm'] = {}));

After that there is calling the sm.toggleAutoClick to start auto clicking upgrades for the game with default settings. The method can then be called again to stop the process of auto clicking. There are a whole lot of auto clicker programs that can also be used to do something like this, however with this kind of code there is the potential to make the code something morn than just a simple auto clicker. I did not take the time to do so, but there is the idea of working on this a little longer to make something that will fully automate the process of playing the game.

3 - Conclusion

So the javaScript console is a great way to get started with the javaScript programing language, but there are many other ways to get started with JavaScript as well. There is hand coding an html file and having some javaScript code in a script tag that can then be used via the file protocol in the web browser as well that can still work okay for some simple examples. There is also getting into nodejs and finding all kinds of ways to serve javaScript to the browser via the http protocol, which in time might be the best way to go about developing actually as that will help to address all kinds of problems that will pop up when working by way of the file protocol.

When it comes to writing an html file that is stored on you computed local file system with embedded JavaScript, and opening it up in the browser with crtl + o rather than setting up a web sever, I have wrote a blog post on getting started with the file protocol. When it comes to hosting a root folder as a website there is doing so with nodejs, and when it comes to this I have a simple script for getting started making a basic static sever using just node itself.

What is great about javaScript is that it can be used right away in the browser right now, but can also be used to write client systems, back end code, and even Command line tools. These days javaScript is really hot, and given the nature of the web will likely remain so for a long time, making javaScript one of the best choices for a first language.