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BrowserHawk advantages over browscap

With over two years experience maintaining and fixing problems with browscap.ini, we're well aware of the limitations of the Microsoft browser capability component and the browscap file format. So are many other experienced developers - but how about you?

BrowserHawk eliminates the complaints about browscap by providing a revolutionary new approach to browser detection. The syntax used to work with the component is the same as with the browser capability component, but what goes on behind the scenes to match the browser and return the property information is radically different. In summary, BrowserHawk uses a binary definition file and built-in component intelligence to work its magic. Yet at the same time provides 100% backward compatibility with your existing ASP scripts to make upgrading a snap.

The main improvements you'll notice immediately upon switching your code from browscap to BrowserHawk include:

  • 100.0% accuracy: BrowserHawk accurately recognizes every single IE and Netscape browser - past, present, and even future. For example, if Netscape 6.02a came out tomorrow BrowserHawk would accurately recognize it as having all the capabilities of the latest defined version of Netscape. You will NEVER have an incident of a unidentified or misidentified IE or Netscape browser. This bears repeating - BrowserHawk is designed to UNCONDITIONALLY recognize all 11,000+ variations of these browsers! It also recognizes hundreds of other browsers and crawlers.

  • No maintenance needed: Between the component's built-in intelligence and the automated browser definition file updates, you will never have to interrupt your busy schedule to hunt down and install updates. Instead you can configure BrowserHawk to receive updates automatically when released by cyScape along with an email notification (Professional and ISP Editions).

  • Detection of disabled cookies: BrowserHawk's Cookie Detector tells you whether a user has disabled their cookies! While browscap has a Cookies property, that only indicates whether the browser can support cookies.

  • Tons of properties: BrowserHawk provides more than twice as many properties as browscap, including SSL, SSLKeySize, DHTML, StyleSheets, FileUpload, language, MouseOver and many more.

  • Reverse DNS lookups: Simply by calling BrowserHawk's ResolveIP property, you can easily obtain the host name for any web site visitor (for example, response.write bh.ResolveIP).

  • Additional features: BrowserHawk is packed with additional features to help you account for browser differences in your web site. See our full list of features.

Get Started with BrowserHawk

Common complaints about browscap include:

  1. Unidentified browsers: Browscap reports the browser as "Unknown" instead of providing all the property information as expected. Even with an updated browscap file, there are thousands of variations of IE and Netscape that browscap can not detect. Remember - even if it recognizes your IE 4.01, doesn't mean it will recognize everyones, as these browsers have hundreds and in some cases thousands of variations each.

  2. Misidentified browsers or properties: Browscap can incorrectly identify an IE browser as Netscape, or vice-versa. Also common is misidentifying the properties, such as reporting the version number for IE 4.01 browser as 4.0. Likewise there are cases where the browser and version number is correct, but additional properties such as Platform are reported as "Unknown".

  3. High maintenance: Browscap requires on-going supervision to make sure it recognizes new browsers as they are released. Most often it will not, and an updated browscap file will be required. Although cyScape publishes browscap updates, you may frequently need to spend time trying to update the file yourself in the interium.

  4. Lack of properties: Browscap provides basic information about a browser, such as its major and minor version number and platform (when not incorrectly provided as "Unknown"). But today many developers want information on other capabilities such as file upload, SSL, style sheets, DHTML, language and many others.  
    Get Started with BrowserHawk

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