Handy test tools – Firefox add-ons

Posted 13 years ago by rasta

Whether you need to test web applications or troubleshoot software system deployment you may need tools that will help you understand what is actually happening. During our projects we came across couple of handy tools (available as Firefox add-ons [1]) that we found useful.

In particular we have been using below tools to inspect HTTP traffic (Request, Response) as well as analyze data that fly within the communication between user’s browser and the system:

  • The HttpFox add-on and The Live HTTP Headers add-on – To inspect the HTTP Request and Response activity.
  • The HackBar add-on – To further analyze data from the HTTP Request and Response as revealed by the HttpFox or the Live HTTP Headers add-ons.

Following are use cases how it could help your testing:

Observe the HTTP traffic and analyze data – Both HttpFox and Live HTTP headers catch (upon the start of capturing) all the HTTP requests/response that is exchanged between user’s browser and web server. Advantage is that it is possible to inspect traffic over SSL too. You can see list of HTTP requests, all redirects, get information about message headers, display sent and received cookies and view response return codes with response body. HttpFox nicely highlights HTTP error responses such as Page Not Found (404) or captures the start time and latency.

Reply/re-test certain requests – In addition to capturing communication over HTTP, Live HTTP headers allows to save to file and reply captured requests. This is especially useful during troubleshooting the issues and creating test log.

Test URL Encoding – In combination with HackBar add-on you can even better analyze particular HTTP request/response. In case your deployment uses data encryption within particular URL, HackBar [2] allows you to decode (Base64, URL or HEX decode) certain parameters to test if the data comes in same form as created at the beginning.

Data encryption and encoding – HackBar is useful to use as a tool for Encrypting any string, that you paste to canvas, and you need to create SHA-1 hash, MD5 hash, SHA-256 hash or use it for Base64 encoding and others.

Modify HTTP requests – HackBar allows you to split ULR in case URL under test contains multiple parameters, modify those parameters and execute. Along with HttpFox or Live HTTP headers you can observe how system behaves, test system responses and error handling.


[1] Firefox add-ons – https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/

[2] Troubleshooting OpenSSO with Firefox Add-Ons: Part 1, Introduction – http://dsc.sun.com/identity/reference/techart/troubleshooting.html


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