Integrating Badboy with your Server Log File

If you are a web developer or Software Engineer, you will be very familiar with the concept of a log file.  Most applications (especially web based applications)  write a file containing information about all the actions occurring as they run.   This file usually contains detailed information including informational messages, warnings and errors.    Because they show everything that is going on, application log files can be a tremendously useful tool in understanding, reproducing and diagnosing problems in a web site.

Unfortunately, log files are frequently lost, deleted or inaccessible to the person who needs them.   Even when found the person reading it often has to search exhaustively to find the right part of the file before they can use it.

  • Wouldn't it be nice if the log file was captured automatically as you browsed, each part snipped out and associated with the browsing action recorded in your script? 
Badboy offers exactly this feature with Server Log File Integration!  If you are responsible for QA or Support you can record with Badboy and put the logfile in your defect submission - and know that the log is captured forever for convenient and easy review. If you're an Engineer or Developer you can bring up the log file at the press of a key and see the lines related to the last browsing action or for any item you have played or recorded in your script.  

Setting Up Server Log File Integration

Setting up server log file integration is easy.   To make Badboy start capturing your log file, go to the Preferences menu and select Preferences=>Developer Settings.   Then check the box labeled "Enable Capture of Server Log File", and enter the location of your server's log file in the box provided.

The figure below shows the Server Log File Configuration page in Badboy's preferences:

Server Log File Configuration

In the current release you must have access to the Application's log file in order to use Server Log File Integration.  If the log file is on another computer then you may need to share the file system on that computer and map a drive to it on your own computer so that you can enter the location in Badboy.   In a future release, Badboy will offer a feature to allow you to monitor any log file - even ones that you cannot map a drive to.
Using Server Log File Integration

Once you have configured Badboy to read your server's log file you can try it out by browsing around your web site to generate some new lines in the log file and recording some items in a script. You can then look at the log file in several ways:
  • Select "View=>Server Log File" from the main menu, or hit Ctrl-L
  • Right-click on a recorded response in your Script and select "View Log File Section"
Viewing a Server Log File Section
In each case you should see lines that appeared in the log while the browsing occurred. In the first case they will be the the lines related to the most recent browsing activity, while in the second they will be the lines related to the specific item that you clicked on. Because Badboy only shows the lines related to your last browsing activity you never have to load the whole log file and search through it for the right location!

You can choose the editor program that Badboy will use to show you the log file by setting as your preferred editor under the "Programs" of Badboy's Preferences.

You can also view the latest log file entries at any time by opening DOM View (Ctrl-D) and clicking on the "Server Log" tab. You can even leave it open and watch the server log scroll past as you browse.

You can pause the scrolling of the log file in DOM View any time by hitting the Space key. You can unpause it by hitting the space key again. This is very useful if you need to read it or copy / paste information from it while the log is still scrolling by!
Trouble Shooting

If the log file always appears to be blank when Badboy shows it to you, check the following things:

  • Did you point Badboy to the right log file in the Preferences dialog?
  • Did your browsing cause any activity in the log?  Sometimes browsing that doesn't cause any errors won't cause any log activity:  this is quite normal and depends how your application writes its log files.

Badboy Documentation Generated on Mon Dec 29 22:28:42 EST 2008