Monitoring HTTP activity with HttpFox

Published June 9th, 2008

While Firebug is about as close to a perfect tool for web development as I’ve ever seen, its use as an HTTP monitor is limited — if only because its Net pane is cleared when the page refreshes. In the past I’ve used Fiddler for this job, but of course you need to remember to start it up and then configure Firefox’s proxy settings to make use of it.

I’ve recently discovered HttpFox, a Firefox extension which sits quite neatly between the two: it works better than Firebug but lacks some of the more powerful facilities of Fiddler (for example, the ability to intercept and modify requests during send/receive). However for basic HTTP monitoring tasks, it’s simple and convenient.

HttpFox in action (click for larger)

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  1. Dan G. Switzer, II on June 9, 2008

    There’s also a great little plug-in for Firefox called QuickProxy which allows you to switch your Proxy by double-clicking an icon in your status bar.

    I use ServiceCapture for monitoring HTTP traffic (since it’s the only decent monitor that deserializes AMF (Flash Remoting,) SOAP and JSON.

    Using QuickProxy, I don’t have to shutdown FF (or manually change the Proxy settings,) all I need to do is double-click the QuickProxy icon to direct traffic through the HTTP monitor.

    Just a note for those who prefer or are forced to use an external HTTP monitor.

  2. Stickman on June 9, 2008

    Thanks for the tip! I hadn’t heard of ServiceCapture — looks good, although I’m not sure I need the extra functionality enough to pay for it.

    I use FoxyProxy for proxy switching, although to be honest it’s overkill in this case — it has all sorts of fancy filtering capabilities that I never use.

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