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Tools to make coding easier: Fiddler

February 19, 2007

Web developers all know that the WWW is powered by HTTP. Normally you don’t see the HTTP requests and responses being passed between browser and web server but when you’re debugging or developing a web application being able to see the raw HTTP messages can be a huge benefit.

I’ve tried many network protocol analyzers/packer sniffers in the past, including NetMon, Etheral (and WireShark), IEInspector, and many others. I found Etheral and NetMon, although very powerful, difficult to use because they can capture more than just HTTP traffic. These tools were designed more so for the network specialist to debug errors in networking equipment and network setups. Also, Etheral was unable to monitor the traffic between my machine and localhost which was a big drawback.

IEInspector was probably the best HTTP sniffer I found but I was too cheap to pay for it (if it were half the price I gladly shell out some bucks for it). Fiddler is a free HTTP Debugging Proxy that I tried in the past but forgot about and recently fell in love with again. It registers itself as a WinInet proxy to intercept all HTTP traffic and lets you “fiddle” with the messages. I haven’t tried yet but you can even extend Fiddler to add custom rules or custom inspectors.

My only concern is that since it sets itself up as a proxy will using authentication schemes like Windows Integrated Authentication break? I know I had this problem with other proxy based network sniffers.
Fiddler PowerToy – Part 1: HTTP Debugging

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From → Web Development

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