Thursday, November 30, 2006

WASP - Web Analytics Solution Profiler

Update: WASP v0.2 has been released on February 3rd
WASP v0.2 has been released on February 3rd.
WASP is the Web Analytics Solution Profiler, a Firefox extension aimed at web analytics implementation specialists, web analysts and savvy web surfers who wants to understand how their behavior is being analyzed.


Couple of easy steps to get running:
  1. Download & install Firefox if you don't already have it
  2. Install the extension.Get Firefox
  3. Restart Firefox.
  4. In Firefox, use View/Sidebar/WASP to display it.


This version of WASP is as an early beta release aimed at web analytics implementation specialists for evaluation and feedback. Although some features and aesthetic elements are missing, no major bugs were identified (i.e. your browser shouldn't be slowed down or crash...). Your feedback is highly valuable and appreciated!

Current features

  • Easy to install Firefox extension
  • Detects 14 web analytics solutions

    Google Analytics

    Omniture SiteCatalyst

    WebSideStory HBX


    Web Trends


    Google Ad



    IBM Surf Aid

    Visual Sciences




Upcoming features

  • Extend the list of supported tools and provide more extensive Query String analysis
  • Allow switching between URL Encode/Decode views
  • Display information about 1st and 3rd party cookie status
  • Display HTTP headers
  • Display P3P status
  • Put supported tools in a configuration file editable trough preferences
  • Allow sorting of value-pairs, copy (or export) of values
  • Add knowledge base links allowing to get additional information on any piece of data being sent
  • Document the detection mechanism for easier contributions by the web analytics community
  • Handle frames and iframes
  • Add a tab to show Alexa and Google PageRank information about the page currently being displayed
Please post a comment for new feature requests.

Known bugs

Things happen!
  • Use a different accelerator than Ctrl-W to toggle the sidebar display... Ctrl-W is used for closing Windows!
  • Actually process even when the WASP tab is not shown
  • Some values displayed as "undefined" when null
  • Should process when switching tabs or on initial open
  • If page is loading slowly WASP seems to hang until "onload" completion
  • If replacing WASP sidebar by another one, then show it again, WASP doesn't work anymore
  • Need some XUL display adjustments (scroll/resize/focus)
Please post a comment if you discover new bugs.

Tip of the hat

Some credits goes to the following people for their inspiration or simply helping me out with some bugs!
  • WAVcheck, from Webbanalys, extends on the same idea with an executable version which can detect up to 27 different vendors.
  • Rahul Revo posted on his blog a request for a Greasemonkey extension that would detect Google Analytics. Mohnsish Rao proposed a simple solution.
  • Mike Keyes, on his blog "On the trail", created a simple bookmarklet (a one-liner JavaScript you can put in your favorites) that will detect a bunch of different vendors. Cool, simple and works in both Firefox and Internet Explorer.
  • Vendors sometimes provides their own debugging aids, usually in the form of a bookmarklet that will display the parameters being passed to their data warehouse.
  • Some have proposed developing Unix-based scripts with grep and wget or perl but it looks to me like a pretty complex endeavors that have its own limitations.
  • Or you could get help from your vendor or ask for a independent consultants to help you out. Maxamine is one of them.
  • Other "complementary" solutions that might help: Watchfire WebQA is particularly good at crawling a site and looking for specific code.
  • Fiddler or ieWatch are two useful tools for Internet Explorer.
  • Charles is a proxy that records every communication between your browser and the Internet and will work with both MSIE and Firefox.
  • I use a bunch of Firefox extensions to help me in my day to day Web development activities. Look for FireBug, Live HTTP Headers, View Dependencies and Web Developer and View Cookies.
  • AlertSite recently posted a Firefox extension named DejaClick. Not only is this extension wonderful as a very powerful macro recorder, but it is also one of the best packaged extension I have seen so far.
  • I found out the spirit of the early days of the Web is still alive in the specialized groups I relied upon to help me out with some development issues. Thanks to Neil & Nickolay from

Revision history

  • 2006/11/30 - 0.1 - Early beta release to the WA community