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AspNet VNext TSX Debugging

Following on from my recent post ReactJs with TypeScript in AspNet VNext, I have been playing about with .TSX + ReactJS more, and one of the first things I noticed was that I was unable to debug the JavaScript files in the browser.

This is down to the way in which Visual Studio + the tsconfig.json are generating the .js files which are linked to .js.map files.

From my previous post, we created a simple App.tsx file that simple output <h1>Hello World</h1>. Now if you investigate the generated .js file, you will see the following in the last two lines;

ReactDOM.render(React.createElement(MyApp, null), document.getElementById('appMountNode'));
//# sourceMappingURL=app.js.map

The sourceMappingURL is a way to map a combined/minified file back to a “debuggable” file. In this case, the .js file is being mapped back to app.js.map which then holds information about the original file. Looking into the app.js.map file, you will then see the following;


This is informing the browser that the file app.js should be mapped back to the source app.tsx with the relative path information. This is great! However, in our folder structure, our .tsx files are all out with the running website. So if you are to try and debug the JavaScript, you will not be able to as the source file will not be found.

One Solution

I had a quick search of the internet, and discovered a solution which involved writing a MVC controller which would match the path, check the existence of the file, and then serve this file. However, I didn’t think this was the best solution. So in the end I decided to make use of Gulp.

Gulp is already included in the asp.net 5 MVC project templates, and is generating minified js and css for me, so why not use it to allow me to debug my .tsx files. So I have added this new Task to the gulpfile.js

gulp.task("copy", function () {    
    return gulp.src('./scripts/**/*.tsx').pipe(gulp.dest('./wwwroot/scripts/'));

This is now copying out my .tsx files into the wwwroot folder which can then be seen by the browser. Well, they should be seen! However this is a MVC site which has set routes by default. So if you were to run the project now, your .tsx files would still not be seen. So the next step is to add a static file provider to your default static files. Some good information on this can be found here Working with Static Files.

Open up your Startup.cs file, then go down to the line app.UseStaticFiles(); and replace this with;

// add .tsx files as static files       
var provider = new FileExtensionContentTypeProvider();
provider.Mappings.Add(".tsx", "application/javascript");
app.UseStaticFiles(new StaticFileOptions { ContentTypeProvider = provider });

Save this, and then run the project now. Your .tsx file will now be served by your app and allow you to debug!

This is no way the best way to do this, so if you know of a better/alternative way, then please comment below and let me know.

About Me

Tim James I'm Tim, a web applications developer from Glasgow, Scotland. Currently working for Kingfisher Systems Ltd, building bespoke systems within the Car Auction industry.

  • C#
  • VB.NET
  • .NET MVC
  • Web API
  • Razor
  • HTML5
  • CSS3
  • jQuery
  • WCF
  • SQL
  • knockout.js
  • Angularjs
  • AJAX
  • APIs
  • SignalR
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