Unraveling frontend glitches is much like decoding a mystery—each click, each user interaction can hold a clue. But what if you could play detective in the most immersive way possible? Enter New Relic Session Replay, the tool that places you right into the heart of user experiences, letting you witness and dissect issues in real time. This isn't just another debugging tool; it's your front-row seat to every user journey. Let's dive into how this tool can be your most potent ally in front-end troubleshooting.
In this blog, you'll learn to:
- Understand Session Replay
- Set up Session Replay
- Review user sessions
- Troubleshoot frontend issues
Why Session Replay?
Having the right perspective is everything when we talk about troubleshooting and optimizing user experiences. Traditional debugging tools offer metrics, logs, and data charts. They are invaluable, but they present a bird’s-eye view. Sometimes, you need an on-the-ground, step-by-step perspective to truly understand where things are falling short.
Numbers and logs tell part of the story. Session Replay completes it by providing a visual context. Watching a user's interaction in real time lets you witness where they hesitate, face delays, and where errors interrupt their journey. This direct visual feedback can be more insightful than sifting through stacks of logs.
By using Session Replay, developers can shift from system-centric debugging to user-centric troubleshooting. It brings developers closer to the user experience, ensuring solutions are not just technically sound but also user-friendly.
Faster issue resolution
Time is of the essence in debugging. By reenacting user sessions, developers can quickly identify and reproduce errors, accelerating the resolution process. No more back-and-forths with QA teams or relying on vague user feedback; see the issue firsthand and tackle it head-on.
Session Replay doesn't just spot the issues; it offers insights into user behavior patterns. Understanding these patterns can lead to proactive problem-solving and even inform UI/UX design decisions, ensuring smoother user experiences in the future.
In essence, New Relic's Session Replay isn’t just another tool in your debugging arsenal. It’s a paradigm shift in how you approach, understand, and resolve frontend issues. By placing the user's journey at the forefront, it ensures that solutions are holistic, effective, and, most importantly, user-centric.
Setting up Session Replay
Before you can start debugging your application with Session Replay, you need to set it up.
- Start by instrumenting your application with New Relic's browser agent. This agent captures vital frontend data that Session Replay requires.
- Once instrumented, navigate to New Relic and select Browser from the side menu. Here, you’ll find the list of your instrumented applications. Select the desired application you want to set up Session Replay for.
- Click Application settings and then, under Browser settings, ensure the Session tracking option is toggled on. This feature adds invaluable session attributes to your browser data. Below that, make sure the Session replay option is toggled on, allowing New Relic to record and replay user sessions.
- Now, configure your session parameters. Adjust the Session sample size to represent the percentage of user sessions you want to record. Modify the Sample rate of sessions with errors based on how many error-containing sessions you want to capture.
5. After setting your preferences, update the code snippet of the browser agent in your application. This ensures the agent captures your configurations accurately.
6. After a short while, once user sessions are recorded, return to New Relic. The data from these sessions will populate, letting you dive deep into each interaction.
Debug frontend errors with Session Replay
With the Session Replay in place, you can now monitor the user interactions to ensure every click, scroll, and interaction on your platform is smooth and error-free. Let’s dive in!
1. Log in to New Relic and select your instrumented application. Here, click Session replay. This displays a list of all recorded sessions.
2. Click any session from the list to start the playback. It gives a visual representation of user interactions and highlights potential issues.
3. Use the playback controls to pause, rewind, or fast forward through the session. The scrubber can be dragged to move to specific time points in the session.
4. As you watch, note any observed errors or anomalies in user interactions. This can range from visible glitches to non-responsive elements.
5. Alongside the playback, there's a side panel with console logs. These logs capture every user action and event. Cross-reference any errors in the session with these logs for a clearer understanding.
6. If you just want to focus on problematic interactions, use the error filter at the top to isolate a particular error. You'll be presented with essential details—the error type, its description, and a timeline.
For instance, the "Unhandled Promise Rejection" error often signals a web request gone wrong.
7. With insights from the session replay and console logs, you can now review your application's codebase. Locate the sections corresponding to the errors and make necessary corrections.
After adjustments, you can monitor subsequent sessions to confirm that the issues have been resolved. This continual review and rectification ensure a consistent and smooth user experience.
New Relic Session Replay is a powerful tool that offers deep insights into user interactions with your application. In this blog, we've walked you through the setup process and shown you how to actively debug frontend issues using the session recordings. With the knowledge gained, you can proactively identify pain points, rectify them, and improve your application's user experience. Here's to a better web experience for your users!
Ready to dive deep into debugging? Experience the power of New Relic Session Replay firsthand. Sign up today and unlock the tool's potential for your application. Best part? It's free!
The views expressed on this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of New Relic. Any solutions offered by the author are environment-specific and not part of the commercial solutions or support offered by New Relic. Please join us exclusively at the Explorers Hub (discuss.newrelic.com) for questions and support related to this blog post. This blog may contain links to content on third-party sites. By providing such links, New Relic does not adopt, guarantee, approve or endorse the information, views or products available on such sites.