The first impression is everything. And that’s the reason why you need to make sure your applications are free from bugs and errors and bugs.
Developing an application is as important as monitoring it to keep it running healthy for optimal user experience. For this, a superb monitoring strategy is a must for your business to succeed so that you never have to worry about metrics like consistent performance, high availability, and accessibility.
However, many businesses tend to overlook how important frontend monitoring is for their applications. They consider monitoring as a part of their operational efforts, and they usually leave it to an Ops engineer or sysadmin for that matter. It may not be a healthy practice as it overburdens them and might result in loopholes.
Instead, monitoring applications at the frontend is important.
But why frontend?
Software architecture is divided into two main components – frontend and backend.
Frontend includes application components that are executed and parsed on the client-side through mobile or web interface.
In case any downtime occurs in an app’s frontend, it could lead to severe losses, including revenue, resources, and, most importantly, customer experience. In addition to complexity, frontend becomes more challenging due to constant updates, changing frameworks, increasing the number of end-users coming through different devices, browsers, locations, and ISPs.
Besides, uptime monitoring is also not enough for SaaS and eCommerce businesses dealing with large audiences, and they can’t risk their application’s performance because their business depends on it.
What is all about frontend application monitoring?
Frontend application monitoring is the process of tracking errors, fixing them, and maintaining the health of web applications. It is done to optimize user experience by removing any kind of error that could be harmful to your application. You can catch errors at the initial stage, which would be easy for your developers to tackle. Subsequently, they can work on debugging and improving the code.
Don’t confuse it with application performance monitoring because it focuses on the ultimate result that users can see while opening your application.
What type of issues do these tools help in fixing?
In the process of doing so, you also need to identify how often these errors pop up along with considering the severity of their impact.
Frameworks such as Angular or React are powerful, making the work of developers easier. A frontend application monitoring tool can detect issues based on the functionalities of frameworks, for example, the application state.
Network request failure
Web applications and sites integrate with a variety of external solutions to perform additional functions. This way, they make a huge number of requests to their server where they are being hosted. To this, monitoring tools can record those HTTP requests and the responses initiated by the user to find the errors.
Some monitoring tools can also track app performance metrics, including average page loading time, time-to-first-paint, average server response time, and more.
User experience problems
If a user performs “rage clicks” or clicks some elements quickly for multiple times, the tools can effectively monitor this. Additionally, they can also ensure elements are rendered correctly and detected when a user gets stuck in a certain navigation loop.
Hence, if you build an application, you need to maintain it always so your customers don’t find any issues that could hamper their usability.
Put your customers first, and they will remain loyal to you.
Frontend monitoring enhances the functionality, availability, and speed of your applications. So, using a quality tool to monitor all these aspects becomes imperative. For this, let’s check out some of the best tools available in the market.
One of the first application monitoring tools and a popular choice among people – Sentry has many impressive features to solve multiple issues.
With Breadcrumbs, you can see the events leading to the errors, which helps you prioritize the bugs based on their possible impact on users and your business. In addition to this, you can also find the root cause behind the error that saves your time on debugging. This feature is available for both the client-side and server-side.
Sentry tells you things you must know to detect errors and find them based on the overall context. The tool is capable of associating errors with a specific release. This context also defines the error environment, i.e., language and operating system. Besides, you have the option to set up custom contexts based on your business and the application.
With the release feature, you can see when and who caused the bug or error to happen, and it also provides additional context such as commit data, which helps you understand first-time introduced errors along with those which are already addressed. Sentry lets you assign new errors automatically to your team.
You can visualize errors from the dashboard, which includes graphs for spikes, events, and errors organized with release and geographical mapping. Get alerts through SMS, email, or chat about bugs, utilize distributed tracing to track errors in multiple projects, source maps for Node and JS, and use custom query builder.
Try Sentry for free or go for a paid version starting at $26/month.
Now, this tool is a bit different from others due to its capability of recording user sessions for getting a better idea of how an error occurred. LogRocket lets you playback user sessions so you can see the pixel-perfect view of everything whatever your users can view in real-time.
LogRocket lets you track IP address and user-agent tracking for each session, which is also useful in providing information about what browser they are using and troubleshooting problems specific to their browsers. You can infuse custom properties into logs, which allows you to create user-value pairs providing more data about users and sessions.
Start running LogRocket on-premise, or GCP, AWS, and Azure within an hour. They offer SDKs for different technologies and allow integration with React, Angular, Plain JS, Redux, Vue.js, Ember, and tools like Salesforce, Drift, Sentry, Rollbar, JIRA, Intercom, Zendesk, GitHub, Trello, and more.
You can take up the free plan or paid one starting at just $99/month for 10k sessions.
The mature error tracking tool – Rollbar was established in 2012, and now it has become one of the best ones in the market. It can track errors in a multitude of platforms available around. Hence, instead of wasting our time on finding errors, you can devote your time to improve the codes and feel safe.
Rollbar automates triaging and error monitoring so developers could fix errors within minutes while building software painlessly. It provides real-time results in addition to stacking traces against local variables. It also helps reduce the time lag between development and quality assurance.
Enjoy 5 monitoring tools into 1 with the all-powerful AppSignal with its features combined to give you complete visibility on your application.
The five types of monitoring included in it are:
- Error tracking to detect error and ensure it doesn’t repeat
- Performance monitoring to fine-tune your app
- Server monitoring to run healthy applications on optimal hardware
- Metric dashboards to collect real-time metrics and then visualize them in your dashboard
- Anomaly detection to set triggers plus receive alerts in case any of the metrics go wrong.
Speaking of its build, they have made AppSignal’s agent with Rust, which is stable and lightweight, empowering thousands of apps already. They guarantee 99.999% uptime of the monitoring system, so nothing goes wrong with your app during its watch. Besides, AppSignal is also GDPR compliant.
The pricing for AppSignal starts at $19/month for 250k requests. It also includes a 30-day free trial with no limit in the number of requests.
Fixing errors is easy with Raygun, so you can control all the chaos surrounding your software. It helps you diagnose issues quickly in the codebase, ensures users get error-free experiences, and lets you enjoy fast development cycles.
Raygun watches over your applications and notifies the moment issues surface. All you have to do is add Raygun into your code and across the full technology stack. This way, you can detect all the errors in your application in minutes. Its error report gives full diagnostic data regarding the root cause, which helps fix issues faster while maintaining flawless user experience.
It also shows the complete stack trace, browser and its version, environment, OS, host, class name, and more. Besides, you can also identify commit or release, introducing the issue. Raygun allows you to create custom dashboards to track metrics the way you want, view error rates and regressions associated with new codes.
The pricing starts at $19/month.
Airbrake can monitor errors, performance, and deployments of an application. It is a lightweight and simple tool that you can set up easily and get it running in no time. The moment an error occurs in your application, it notifies you with real-time alerts.
Find the root cause of the error through Breadcrumbs and Backtraces that display the exact cause responsible for the error, simplifying its fixing. By giving the context and scope of identifying and prioritizing errors, Airbrake lets you diagnose the issues faster.
It can monitor all your technology stack, helps keep the development process sharp, and provides insights and hotspots to identify critical risks. Its deploy tracking also helps in fixing bad deploys while preventing future issues that may arise. Airbrake works smoothly with tools like GitLab, GitHub, Slack, etc.
Try Airbrake for free or choose a paid plan starting at $59/month.
The application monitoring tool of Firebase Crashlytics helps not only in tracking errors but also prioritizing and fixing stability problems, eroding the application quality. Crashlytics can smartly group crashes into manageable lists of issues.
The tool also provides data regarding why the crash occurred in the first place and its impacts. Hence, you can find the actual cause, fix it, and future proof your app. Issues can pop up anytime; hence, Crashlytics provides real-time alerts for fresh issues, burgeoning issues, and regressed issues requiring immediate attention.
Some bonus tips for evaluating an application monitoring tool
Keep in mind the following tips before you choose a monitoring tool so that you can reap maximum benefits out of it:
- Check how good the dashboard of the tool is for analyzing information.
- Whether the tool includes an API reference or not
- Find out how many integrations the tool supports to keep using other apps and services.
- How deep the tool can trace the issues.
- Check whether the tool provides the option for on-premise.
- The tool must have good security features.
- The service provider must be offering quality technical support through multiple channels and 24/7 availability.
- Last but not least, pick the service in-line with your budget. For this, check multiple services, compare the offerings and pricing, and then go for the right combination.
Building an application requires creativity and lots of resources. Thus, ruining its performance and functionality just due to lack of maintenance is the last thing you would want. But don’t worry, leverage any one of these application monitoring tools to find errors and fix them, so your application runs at optimal performance all the time.