Keep a backup browser handy

There are many times as testers that we end up using proxy servers. For me, I find I use them a lot when doing performance and security testing, but I've even had the occasion to use them when doing functional testing. This can sometimes create issues:

  • sometimes changing the proxy settings makes it impossible for you to use the browser for other tasks (for example, if you're intercepting all the outgoing requests so you can edit them)

  • sometimes using the browser for other tasks will mess up what you're testing (for example, if you're recording HTTP traffic for a load test)

A simple way to solve this is to have a backup browser. I almost always test with Firefox, so that means that (depending on my machine) I'll have Internet Explorer or Safari as a backup. This may seem like a really simple tip, but ask yourself this: Is your backup browser setup to do everything you'd need it to do if you couldn't use your main one?

For me, that would include: equivalent toolbars, up to date bookmarks, saved passwords for common sites (like JIRA, SharePoint, etc...), and making sure all updates/patches are in place. I hate it when I have to stop testing to get my backup browser in a place where I can actually use it. So I try to make sure it never gets too far out of sync.