We often get asked if we have a Mac version of HttpWatch. Unfortunately, the answer is no and it is likely to stay that way in the short term as it would take a significant amount of effort to port it to Mac OS X.
However, we decided to take a look if to see if there was a simple way to access HttpWatch on the Mac. Having used VMware extensively for testing HttpWatch on different versions of IE, Firefox and Windows the VMware Fusion product was an obvious candidate.
The result was much better than we initially hoped for. Vmware Fusion is able to run IE 9 and HttpWatch directly on the Mac desktop alongside other Mac applications:
We were even able to setup short-cuts to directly run HttpWatch Studio from the Dock allowing it to open HttpWatch log files or HTTP Archive files (.HAR) stored on the Mac file system.
The rest of this blog post describes how we setup VMware Fusion to run HttpWatch, IE and the Windows version of Firefox. Parallels Desktop for Mac also seems to have similar capabilities and could probably be setup in a similar way.
We used the following software:
Our setup was created by following these steps:
Open the Virtual machine and interact with the Windows desktop to:
Once you’ve got the Windows VM machine configured and running select the View->Unity menu item in VMware Fusion. It will close the view of the Windows desktop and run Windows applications on the Mac desktop. It even displays icons from the Windows system tray on the Mac menu bar:
You can then start Windows applications that you want to use (e.g. IE or HttpWatch Studio) by going to the VMware Fusion dropdown menu and typing in the application name or selecting it from All Programs:
The application’s window will then appear on the Mac desktop and its icon will be in the Dock. By right clicking on the icon you can permanently add it to the Dock:
VMware Fusion also applies the file associations found in Windows. That allows you to directly open HAR or HWL files on the Mac directly into HttpWatch Studio:
Initially, we tried running VMware Fusion on a basic Mac mini with 2GB RAM. It was very sluggish at times; particularly when it first started up the Windows VM. However, a $ 46 memory upgrade to 8GB solved that issue allowing Windows applications to Start as quickly as native Mac applications.
We also did some comparisons, running page load tests with HttpWatch in IE 9 and Firefox 10. The performance of the Windows VM on the Mac wasn’t noticeably slower than a native Windows PC with a similar spec.