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Accelerate innovation with open source browser monitoring

3 min read

At New Relic, we are on a mission to make the lives of every engineer easier. That’s why, back in mid-2020, we announced that we are taking an open sourced approach to instrumentation to make it easier to gather complete telemetry from software and systems. We open sourced several of our agents at the time and pledged to open source our New Relic Browser agent in 2021. Recently, we doubled-down on our open source commitment with the announcement that we are now a Platinum member of the Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) and Zain Asgar, GM of Pixie and New Relic Open Source, is joining the CNCF governing board. 

This month we continued our open source mission with the announcement that our browser real user monitoring agent is now open source. The open sourced New Relic Browser agent source code can be found here on New Relic’s GitHub organization: newrelic-browser-agent. By open sourcing our Browser agent, we believe it will provide you with complete transparency about the code you deploy to your systems. We can also better engage with you on your feedback and accelerate innovation and quality of our browser monitoring product.

What is New Relic’s Browser agent?

New Relic’s Browser agent offers real user monitoring (RUM), collecting data from real user sessions to understand application performance. The Browser agent monitors users as they navigate from web browsers, devices, operating systems, and networks. It identifies issues such as slow page loads,  javascript errors, slow AJAX requests, or even slow route changes in single-page application (SPA) architectures that you can take action on to improve the customer experience.

The Browser agent also shows page view popularity and captures user satisfaction (Apdex). It monitors session performance with a detailed timeline and heat map of the load and interaction events during a webpage's full life cycle.

Go beyond page performance to track user perception

While real user data gives insights into page performance, the Browser agent goes further, giving visibility into your users' perception of your site's performance. Pages can load content in many different ways, and users control when they interact with that content. This is why some user-centric performance metrics happen outside the standard window onload (page load time) in the browser monitoring agent. We have included perceived performance metrics into the agent so that you know what your users are experiencing. Specifically, Google’s Core Web Vitals and metrics such as Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS).

Finally, the Browser agent takes a full-stack observability approach through its use of distributed tracing (DT). Use our SPA agent and turn on DT to follow requests from browser activity to time spent in network to backend activity. 

How to set up and contribute to the Browser agent

Ready to start contributing to the Browser agent?

  1. First, instrument your site. Check out this short Nerd Byte on how to add browser instrumentation to your site in minutes.
     
  2. After you instrument your site, there are a few steps to start contributing to the Browser agent:
New Relic Browser agent open source project

 

Contributor guide for the New Relic Browser agent open source
  • After that, it’s up to you what you want to contribute. You can request a new feature or report a bug. Submit on the Issue Tracker, or fork a repository to start contributing right away.

To learn how to install, configure, and test the Browser agent, and walk through submitting an issue or pull request, see Nerdlog Roundup: Our Browser Monitoring Agent Is Open Source.