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I am currently using Wireshark whenever I want to debug an application that talks over the network. In general, this works fine but I always feel like Wireshark is an overkill for my demands. When I for example monitor the traffic of a REST application, I first have to filter heavyly in order to find "my" traffic. This always takes a minute or two to set up.

Instead, I would rather specify an IP and a port to monitor and get for example the XML that is sent over this port printed as is in some dialog form.

Recommendations can be for any operating system (Windows, Linux or OS X), at best: all of them as it's not always up to me to decide where an application is deployed.

Is there something that aims towards this demand?

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    Umm, why you can't just specify IP and port to monitor on Wireshark? Setting that up doesn't take minutes, it's closer to seconds. It doesn't display HTTP requests and responses perfectly, though, so that's a valid problem. – Olli Feb 5 '14 at 20:17
  • It's perfectly possible to do that but I do not use the tool often and then its clumsy. First, I have to start monitoring the traffic, then remember how to write a proper filter expression and apply a filter what I need to google every time. I want something simpler. – Rafael Winterhalter Feb 5 '14 at 20:20
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    I expect it'll be difficult to find a piece of software specifically targered at your needs, when things like (as @Olli suggested) Wireshark already do it very well. – dotVezz Feb 5 '14 at 20:28
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If you want to monitor web transactions, which I take you are since you mentioned REST, I can't say enough about Fiddler.

  • Shows Web Traffic (post, body, headers, response)
  • Perf Stats
  • Even allows you to "fiddle" with it when you need to debug your request
  • Easy to use
  • Can decode SSL (this requires some setup)

Originally it was for Windows only, but they now have a Mac and Linux version in the works.

Fiddler

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    Does it show which exe is sending the request? I saw a "protocol" column on your screenshot, does it allow any protocol tracking? – Fractaliste Feb 12 '14 at 8:32
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I agree with your feeling about Wireshark: I like it as well but for just monitoring HTTP requests, it is overkill. I had to look up the filtering syntax every time.

For just tcp monitoring, I use as much as possible the built-in Eclipse TCP monitoring which always gave me the results I wanted.

As a separate software, there is also WebScarab from OWASP which is just a proxy but you can trace everything; separately they also have WebGoat, a good tutorial on how to secure your web-application (by trying to hack it using WebScarab).

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