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Master Series

Snooping Around

By William Bontrager

I wrote Master Snooper in 1999. It's done its job so well that I've never felt the urge to upgrade it.

You're undoubtedly aware of the fact that some browsers display only some of the source code used to render pages. Some browsers won't display non-HTML URLs like .js (JavaScript) and .css (Cascading Style Sheet) source code pages, as examples. And, you can never get a browser to reveal the source code of a frameset page.

Master Snooper was created to answer "I wonder how they did that" questions. There's no charge for the software. Use it at our site or download and install it on yours. See

There are three types of places Master Snooper can't snoop.

First, the destination must be an http://... URL.

Second, the destination may not require a password.

Third, if the destination server allows only certain types of browsers, Master Snooper can't get in the door.

Note that Master Snooper was created to see how things are done. It was most emphatically not created to steal content or copyrighted works.

How To Use It

When you suspect your browser isn't giving you the whole scoop, give the URL to Master Snooper.

Master Snooper won't run JavaScript, ignores cookie requests, has no need to use CSS formatting directives, and doesn't follow frameset rules. Therein lies its power.

When you give a URL to Master Snooper, you get exactly what's there — no more, no less.

If the URL is to a frameset page, you get the source code. You can see exactly how they created the frames you see in a regular browser.

If the web page uses external files, you can get the external file URLs from the source code and put those into Master Snooper also. For example, if you're interested in a certain effect that's created with CSS but the CSS code is in an external file, Master Snooper can fetch it for you.

If the URL to the external file is a relative URL, paste the two portions together: (1) The URL of the page you gave to Master Snooper plus (2) the relative URL found in the source code. Then give the resulting URL to Master Snooper.

In that way, you can view the contents of every file the web page uses.

Let's take our own CGI Information Resources web page as an example. It's at

The web page uses an external CSS file and several external JavaScript files.

When you give the URL of the CSS file to Master Snooper, you can see exactly what style definitions are used on the CGI Information Resources page.

Similar, when you give the URLs of the several JavaScript files to Master Snooper, for example, you see exactly what JavaScript code was used by the CGI Information Resources page to display the content.

If external files import other external files, simply use the same idea and give the URLs found there to Master Snooper.

There is a lot to learn out there. People are constantly coming up with new ways of doing things.

Master Snooper makes it feasible to see how things are done.

About the Author:

William Bontrager Programmer/Publisher, "WillMaster Possibilities" ezine mailto:[email protected]

Are you looking for top quality scripts? Visit Willmaster and check out his highly acclaimed Master Series scripts. Some free, some for a fee.

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