Archive for December, 2007

Is Bugzilla dying?


Max has some interesting points about the long ago chosen language choice for the bug tracking tool Bugzilla: Perl. What is the popular Bugzilla’s future, due to the limitations of the Perl? It sounds like they are thinking about a rewrite. Can an open source product survive a transition of that magnitude? This will be interesting to see how it pans out. Open source failed me once, I hope it doesn’t fail the testing community.

User-Agent Information and Tools


I’ve decided to dedicate a spot on the blog for the user-agent information I’ve been providing over the last few years. From now on you can reference this post from the right navigation under the tools section.

Here are four very good lists and classifications of user-agents:


Here is my huge user-agent XML import file for use with the User Agent Switcher Firefox add-on: AgentStrings20080223.xml (19.67 KB). Read here how you can use this tool for testing. The current file contains the following user-agents for your browser spoofing pleasure:

Internet Explorer
MSIE 8 (Win Vista)
MSIE 8 (Win XP)
MSIE 7 (Win Vista)
MSIE 7 (Win XP)
MSIE 7 (Win Storage Server)
MSIE 6 (Win XP)
MSIE 5.5 (Win 2000)
MSIE 5.5 (Win ME)
MSIE 5.0 (Win 95)
MSIE 4.01 (Win 95)
MSIE 4.0 (Win NT)


FireFox 2.0.12 (Win Vista)
FireFox 2.0 (Win XP)
FireFox (Fedora Core 5/Linux)
FireFox (Debian Linux)
FireFox (Mac OSX)
FireFox (Win Vista)
FireFox 1.5 (Win XP)
FireFox 1.4 (Win XP)
FireFox 1.0.7 (Win XP)
FireFox 1.0.6 (Win XP)
FireFox 1.0.5 (SlackWare/Linux)
FireFox 1.0.4 (FreeBSD)
FireFox 1.0 (Win XP)
FireFox 0.9.3 (Win XP)


Opera 9.1 (Win XP)
Opera 8.0 (Win 2000)
Opera 7.6 (Server 2003)
Opera 7.51 (Win XP)
Opera 7.5 (Win XP)
Opera 7.5 (Win ME)
Opera 4
Opera 3
Opera 2
Opera 1


Netscape 8.1(Win XP)
Netscape 8.0.1 (Win XP)
Netscape 7.2 (Win 2000)
Netscape 7.1 (Win 98)
Netscape 4.8 (Win XP)
Netscape 4.76 (Win 98)
Netscape 4.5 (Win 98)
Netscape 4.05 (Win 95)
Netscape 3.01 gold (Win 95)
Netscape 2.02 (Win 95)


Safari 3.0 (v521)
Safari 2.0 (v418.9.1)
Safari 2.0 (v412)
Safari 2.0 (v401)
Safari 1.3 (v162)
Safari 1.3 (v158)
Safari 1.3 (v146)
Safari 1.2(v125.8; OSX 10.3.4)
Safari 1.1 (v100.1; OSX 10.3.2)
Safari 1.0 (v85)
Safari 1.0 (v74 beta 2)
Safari 1.0 (v73 beta 2)
Safari 1.0 (v64 beta)
Safari 1.0 (v51 update 1.0 beta)
Safari 1.0(v48 public beta)


AOL 9.0/MSIE 6.0 (Win XP)
AOL 8.0/MSIE 6.0 (Win XP)
AOL 7.0/MSIE 5.5 (Win 98)
AOL 6.0/MSIE 5.5 (Win 98)
AOL 5.0/MSIE 5.0 (Win 98)
AOL 5.0 (OS X)
AOL 5.0 (Mac PPC)
AOL 4.0/MSIE 3.02 (Win 95)
AOL 4.0/MSIE 4.01 (Win 95)
AOL 4.0 (Mac PPC)
AOL 4.0 (Mac 68k)
AOL 4.0/MSIE 3.0(Win 3.1)
AOL 3.0/MSIE 3.02 (Win 95)
AOL 3.0/MSIE 4.01 (Win 95)


Mozilla 1.7.8 (Linux)


Googlebot 2.1 (New version)
Msnbot 1.0
Msnbot 1.0 Beta (v0.11)
Yahoo Slurp
Ask Jeeves/Teoma

RSS Readers

NewsGator 2.5 (Win XP)
Feed Demon 1.6 (Win XP)
Bloglines 2.1
SharpReader (Win XP)

WAP Devices

Nokia 6630
Nokia 6100
BlackBerry 8703
iPhone (3.0 Mobile)


Google Toolbar 4.0
Hotbar 4.4.2
AskBar 3.0

iTunes 4.2 (OS X 10.2)
iTunes 4.7 (OS X 10.2)
iTunes 7.1.1 (Mac PPC)
Zune 2.0

Netscape Navigator is dead


After a near 14 year life span competing with IE and other better browsers, AOL is throwing in the towel on Netscape Navigator. The war was long and drawn out but has finally come to an end for the poor browser.

Sweet! Take another browser off the browser compatibility testing list.

Read more here

Want to download a few keepsakes or take a walk down memory lane? Check out Netscape’s Product Archive FTP.

Brent’s Web Testing Toolbox



Back in 2006 I wrote the article The $60 Web Testing Toolbox with the intent of providing a cheap set of Web testing tools for testers. Most of the tools were mentioned because they provided me the most bang for the buck, but the reality is that good testing tools sometimes cost money. I wanted to share with you my complete Web Testing Toolbox minus the cheap factor. Developing software is not cheap so why does testing of it have to be? For the most part, these tools are inexpensive and have proven to provide great value. In my experience, each and every one provides enough value to justify the cost. Keep in mind I’ve pretty much lived in a .NET environment since 2001, so some of the things in my list tend to lean in that direction.

I’ll keep this list updated as I see fit. I’ve provided a permanent link in the right navigation for permanent and quick access.

Visual Studio Team System for Software Testers
(MSDN Subscription)
Increase your productivity with comprehensive Web testing tools. These tools provide coverage for Web services, HTTP, XML, and streamlined for testing ASP.NET applications. With Visual Studio Team Edition for Software Testers you can use automated record playback functionality to reduce ramp up and to create and execute repeatable and maintainable Web tests.

How I use for Testing
I use it to automate Web browsers, talk to Web services, and query databases. The Testers Edition provides a GUI that allows you to manage, execute, and analyze reports for your “unit tests”. This is the biggest and most powerful tool in the toolbox.


Roboform is the top-rated Password Manager and Web Form Filler that completely automates password entering and form filling.

How I use for Testing

I have so many sites and logons that I need to provide on a daily basis. This tool is very useful when you are testing forms or signing on all day long.


Reflector is the class browser, explorer, analyzer and documentation viewer for .NET. Reflector allows to easily view, navigate, search, decompile and analyze .NET assemblies in C#, Visual Basic and IL.

How I use for Testing

I use this tool to investigate the internals of .NET assemblies when the source code is not available. Investigating allows me to understand better what I’m actually testing.

ViewState Decoder

Tool to decode the ViewState and control state in ASP.NET pages.

How I use for Testing

I use this tool to decipher the viewstate (base64) in an ASP.Net page (the big string in the HTML source). I also use the tool to validate that the viewstate is encrypted when sensitive data is found in the pages controls. See an example of how I use it here.


Through Paros’s proxy nature, all HTTP and HTTPS data between server and client, including cookies and form fields, can be intercepted and modified.

How I use for Testing

I use Paros for viewing and editing HTTP and HTTPS traffic as it flows through Internet Explorer. This is a great tool for bypassing client side validation or ripping out pieces of a page or script that limits your testing. See how I do cookie poisoning with Paros. I prefer Paros over Fiddler 2 because it’s cleaner and simpler for what I’m using it for.


HttpWatch is an HTTP viewer and debugger that integrates with Internet Explorer to provide seamless HTTP and HTTPS monitoring without leaving the browser window.

How I use for Testing

This tool resides within IE as an explorer bar and provides a quick and easy view of things such as caching, download time, and network operations. This tool doesn’t allow editing of the traffic but it’s convenience and cleanly presented data keeps it on the list. It also has a very nice API which is handy for automation.  See how it benefits my testing here.

Fiddler 2

Fiddler is a Web Debugging Proxy which logs all HTTP(S) traffic between your computer and the Internet. Fiddler allows you to inspect all HTTP(S) traffic, set breakpoints, and “fiddle” with incoming or outgoing data. Fiddler includes a powerful event-based scripting subsystem, and can be extended using any .NET language.

How I use for Testing

Tool for for viewing and editing HTTP and HTTPS traffic with Internet Explorer. Very robust but confusing. It has similar functionality to Paros.


A screen ruler for Windows.

How I use for Testing
A simple yet elegant tool to use tool to measuring pixels. See how I use it here.


Pixie is a color picker that includes a mouse tracker. Simply point to a color and it will tell you the hex, RGB, HTML, CMYK and HSV values of that color.

How I use for Testing
A small and easy to use tool to get the color codes of anything on your desktop or browser. This is nice to have when you are too lazy to dig through HTML source when you are trying to validate a color.

(Approx $5000)

Parasoft SOAtest is a comprehensive, collaborative test and analysis tool suite designed specifically for test and validation of Service Oriented Architectures. Parasoft SOAtest streamlines the process of rapidly constructing robust regression suites.

How I use for Testing
I’ve used SOATest for testing Web Services. It has a lot of bells and whistles and is good for those who don’t have the skill to dig into test a web service using .NET and Visual Studio. The regression and standards compliance features are life savers. See how I ranked SOATest against other Web Service test tools.
Kleptomania lets you select text anywhere on the screen, including areas that you cannot highlight with your mouse, such as columns of data from a word processor or error messages from any Windows program.

How I use for Testing
I use Kleptomania for capturing text in modal dialog boxes to paste into defects and taking screen clippings for defects . See how I use it here.
File Property Reporter
File Property Reporter analyzes a directory and all underlying subdirectories, and reports the directory structure, all the files names, and all the properties of the files.

How I use for Testing
I use this tool to take snapshots of web application directories before and after a build. I then do a diff on the two reports to see the changes between the snapshots. Created by yours me! See how I use it here.
SWEA automates Internet Explorer and provides solution  for functional test and regression test automation.

How I use for Testing
SWEA is a IE recorder as well as a .NET API that allows you to Automate Internet Explorer using C# or VB.Net. This is a very stable, powerful and robust way to do browser automation. For one year, with the help of the SWEA API and automation, I managed to stay a one man test team for a very complex enterprise application.
User Agent Switcher
Adds a menu and a toolbar button to FireFox for switching the user agent of the browser.

How I use for Testing
I use this to spoof/imitate user-agent strings for browser detection code. This is handy when you need to test browsers or Web app detection and the application is hard to install, setup or run in your test environment (Quicken, IE 4.0, etc…). See how I use it here.  Get an extensive user-agent list for import here.

Also, If you’re shopping for testing tools and you want an extensive list of what is out there, check out ApTest’s tools section.

Having Fun With Christmas and Santa Online


imageIt’s that time of year again, time to get online and have some last minute Christmas and Santa fun. There are a ton of things on the Web to do. The following links can keep you and your child busy with Santa for hours. Merry Christmas!

Track Santa’s Christmas Eve progress
NORAD and CONAD (Track live, in 3D, with Google Earth)
GPS and Google Earth
NASA Santa Tracker

Write and Send Letters to Santa (submit a form, get a quick email response) (submit a form, come back 8 hours letter to view your response) (submit a form, get a quick email response)



Naughty & Nice Lists

Father-Son Christmas Pictures (in Halo 3)


My oldest son Jake and I often spend our weekend nights playing Halo 3 online. We have a great time playing together and truly enjoy laying down some whoop-ass on others as a father son team. This weekend we spent a little time playing with the video and screen-shot features that are available in Halo 3 and came up with the following Father-Son Xmas Pictures. I tried to talk the wife into putting one of these bonding moments as the front of this year’s Christmas card but it was a no go.










[Say cheese! (Jake is red, I’m blue)]









[Jake and I lighting Xmas candles with the rocket launcher and flame thrower!]









[Red and blue are our favorite Xmas colors!]









[Jake and I enjoying a casual cruise through the Xmas snow on our Ghosts]








[Sometimes we have little disagreements which end up in a sword battle. This disagreement was about if Santa is real]










[You win some, you lose some. Santa is real.]









[Jake and I flying like Xmas angels. Aren’t we cute?]

If you play Halo 3 online look us up, we’d like to punish you. Jake’s gamer tag is iSpartan710 and mine is Major Strange. Oh, and Merry Christmas from iSpartan710 and Major Strange!

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