Tool tests on the fast track

Scriptform 1.0

Generate web forms


License: GPLv3

Alternatives: None

If you need to create interactive websites with form fields, along with a web server, you require a scripting language like PHP or Perl. Scriptform steps up to ease these tasks for programmers. The Python tool comes with its own web server, so learning a scripting language is no longer necessary. Instead, users render the page structure in JSON format and pass in this file upon running Scriptform.

As long as users do not define any other port when opening the program, the server is accessible on localhost:80, which requires root privileges. Alternatively, the server runs with simple user privileges on a port higher than 1024.

In addition to simple entry fields, Scriptform also allows more complex forms with access restrictions via the use of HT Auth. Users have the option to assign preset entries to form fields. The archive contains meaningful examples, which can serve as models. Even starting programs or scripts is possible with JSON forms.

The programs run on the underlying operating system with Scriptform's privileges. The Python tool automatically generates protocols. Users can find the log files in the directory from which they started the tool.

(4 stars) Scriptform is a useful little helper for creating simple or complex web forms. If you do want to work with the Python tool, however, you will need to become accustomed to using JSON format.

Duply 1.11.1

Console wrapper for Duplicity


License: GPLv2

Alternatives: Duplicity

The Duplicity backup tool creates encrypted backups on remote systems and is well suited for saving data in potentially insecure environments. The Duply shell script aims to simplify working with Duplicity. Duply saves recurring settings in profiles, automates the process of importing and exporting GPG keys, and lets you run scripts before or after running Duplicity.

Before the first backup, you can create a new profile with the duply <Name> create command. Duply generates a subdirectory with the profile name and stores in it a rudimentary configuration file, which you can later edit in the text editor. You need to enter the source and target directory and can optionally create entries for the GPG key.

If you prefer to do without encryption, you can set the variable GPG_key to disabled. The setup file also stores the maximum size of the archive and the number of full backups. duply <Name> backup then creates the first backup copy.

The script also supports additional parameters. For instance, status provides information about the available backups, and purge removes obsolete ones. You will find use cases and a manual on the project website, although a man page is lacking.

(4 stars) Duply makes it significantly easier to work with the proven backup tool Duplicity and supports users who are creating profiles or managing their backup copies.

Xplico 1.1.1

Forensic network analysis


License: GPLv2

Alternatives: Wireshark, Sysdig

On Linux, several programs can record data traffic, including tcpdump, nmap, Wireshark, or Snort. The applications rely on the free programming interface Pcap to capture packets directly on the network interface.

Xplico assists users during the subsequent filtering of the records. The tool extracts data from TCP and UDP packets and can operate at the command line or in a web interface. Xplico supports more than 100 different application layer protocols, including SMTP, POP, IMAP, and HTTP, as well as various messenger and VoIP protocols.

From the shell, users run xplico and then define an input type using -m. The tool accepts individual Pcap files and whole directories. Additionally, real-time analysis of a network interface is possible; the wiki explains all options in detail. Xplico stores its analyses in the directory xdecode and organizes them in subdirectories below that path by IP address and protocol.

In the web interface, users first create a new case and open a session that loads the selected Pcap file. Xplico shows several categories for the individual protocols. An Apache sample configuration for the Xplico interface is provided by the documentation.

(5 stars) Xplico is convincing across the board – in the shell and in the browser. The tool processes the data clearly, making it easier for users to analyze recorded network traffic.

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