Browser Detection with BrowserHawk

There is a new article on DevNet about using BrowserHawk to do some very advanced server-side browser detection. You can check out the article here:

BrowserHawk will let you detect Flash player presence and version along with just about anything else you could possibly need. For a quick sample, go to the page below and scroll down a bit:

Find out more about BrowserHawk here:

And now for a quick survey:

  1. Are you currently using BrowserHawk?
  2. Have you ever tried BrowserHawk?
  3. What other packages do you know of that are like BrowserHawk?

8 Responses to Browser Detection with BrowserHawk

  1. Matt Knight says:

    I have been using browserHawk for about a year. I integrated the code into a CFC I use to create the user session struct.I’ts been great. The plugin detection works well.

  2. Samuel Neff says:

    Server side detection and sending varied content can be dangerous. For example, I was easily able to get BrowserHawk to tell me I’m using IE by spoofing it in Firebird. Fine, that’s what spoofing is for (All Mozilla and Opera variants support spoofing), but if the servers sends down IE specific content like “document.all” JavaScript it won’t work.Client side feature testing (if (document.all)) will almost always provide better results.I’m particularly against this type of detection right now because my bank’s site (Bank of America) just implemented a server side test and now it doesn’t work properly with any of my browsers. It says I need IE4 or higher but doesn’t work with IE6 or Mozilla spoofing IE. Tried it on four computers and it only worked on one of my servers–same error on other three computers.My $0.02.Sam

  3. Christian Cantrell says:

    Two comments:1. If you decided to spoof your browser, shouldn’t you expect certain things not to work? I’m actually not sure why people spoof their user agents on a regular basis. Why invite content that doesn’t work? That said, the truth of the matter is that people do do it, so web developers have to be prepared for it, so I would agree that other techniques are preferable.2. BrowserHawk does a lot more than just detecting user-agent. For instance, it will detect JavaScript version, so you could use that rather than the if(document.all) technique. Or even if document.all is the best way (which it very well may be), you can still use BH for tons of other things.

  4. Jay McEntire says:

    Would you mind sharing with me the component you made. I am curious how you got certain things to work properly. I seem to be having brain fart…

  5. Brian Phillips says:

    I’ve used BrowserHawk for a while now and its been great. I highly recommend it.

  6. Christian Cantrell says:

    We tried it for the Macromedia XML News Aggregator ( for a short time, but ended up rolling our own solution that we like better. If anyone is interested in seeing what we came up with, let me know.

  7. sizepro says:

    I agree with you about the way you view the issue. I remember, long time ago, Jack London said something like “Everything positive has a negative side; everything negative has a positive side.” I also find it interesting to see different points of views and learn useful things in the discussion.Posted by: Richard Hill at May 16, 2005 08:59 AM

  8. Aaron Neff says:

    I am interested in seeing the solution you came up with for XMLNA, if I may. TIA -Aaron