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Debugging Data Issues in Ajax Applications

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One of the things that changes when developing when we develop Ajax applications is the visibility of the data being received by the application. In order to get visibility of what is happening on the back end you will probably want to get a good Traffic Sniffer. This will allow you some visibility on what the XMLHttpRequest object is doing.

If you already use Greasemonkey you will probably want to check out the XMLHttpRequest Tracing and XMLHttpRequest Debugging extensions. The XMLHttpRequest tracing extension allows you to unobtrusively log traffic to the JavaScript console and the XMLHttpRequest Debugging extension is a powerful interactive tool that not only shows the messages, but also lets you set filters and configure the display. As with Greasemonkey these extensions are open source.

Fiddler is a Windows proxy specifically designed for analyzing browser service traffic. Fiddler is free from Eric Lawrence and Microsoft.

Another great tool is Live HTTP Headers which is a Firefox extension that reveals in formation about the HTTP headers. The extension will add features to existing menus on Firefox to allow you to get more information about the HTTP headers. For example it will add a "Headers" tab in the "View Page Info" of a web page.

While these are not the only tools for doing this, these are a few good tools. If you know of any other good tools for Traffic Sniffing please leave it in the comments so that the community can know about it. Now go out there and find any issues with the data coming into your application through the XMLHttpRequest object.