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Free Tool: Beyond Testing with Browsers

In a previous free tool column, I recommended WoVS Default Browser Switcher, which provides an easy way to change your default browser when testing ASP.NET pages. However, browsers are only one kind of user agent that can access your page (I do some search engine optimization work -- primarily for professional companies like law firms -- so working with search agents is important to me).

In a Practical .NET column, I discussed Microsoft's recent updating of the file that ASP.NET uses to determine the capabilities of the browser requesting your site and how you could mock that component to test against how your site behaves with different user agents.

My friend Kevin Rattan (who writes on Learning Tree's Perspectives on Programming in .NET) pointed out a cool tool: Chris Pederick's User Agent Switcher. User Agent Switcher is a Firefox add-in that basically causes Firefox to lie about itself and represent itself as a different browser…or even as a search  'bot or an iPhone. It adds a new menu and toolbar button to Firefox to let you change how Firefox represents itself to your server. You can either switch Visual Studio over to using Firefox for testing, or just keep Firefox open and aimed at your site to see your site as a search 'bot sees it.

Posted by Peter Vogel on 01/30/2012

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