Frontend Monitoring: Why it is an Inevitable Part of Software Development?

Jan 22, 2020 6:40:54 PM

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Constant attention by a good nurse may be just as important as a major operation by a surgeon. -Dag Hammarskjold 

A monitoring strategy is a crucial part of the success of any business. When we talk about the success of a software-dependent business, high availability, accessibility, and consistent performance become the efficiency defining metrics. 

Many businesses overlook the importance of frontend monitoring of a software application, considering that monitoring is a part of the operations team. Usually, a sysadmin or an Ops engineer holds the responsibility for server management and doesn’t even think of observing the frontend of the app. 

To understand the benefits of frontend monitoring, it is important to understand what it is, who handles this role in the IT team, and how to do it. 

What is Frontend Monitoring and Why is it Important? 

Software architecture is broken into major components: frontend and backend. A frontend includes all the components of an application that are parsed and executed on the client-side, either through the web or a mobile interface. When you load a webpage, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, images are the frontend components that get loaded. The frontend components fetch data database (s), by executing the backend code (PHP, ASP.NET, Python, etc.) or by calling APIs, which collaboratively makes the backend system. 

Frontend monitoring deals with availability, functionality, and speed of an application by keeping a track of errors, performance and UX issues. The process involves testing of various factors such as framework-specific problems, network request failures, JS errors, user experience issues, and more to ascertain that the app is up and working 24/7.

Why Frontend Monitoring? 

Imagine this. You opened a coffeehouse and had everything in place. You got the best coffee, set a business model, prepare a unique menu, and had people to manage the coffee house. But, it’s decor is not up-to-the-mark to provide the best aura that your customers expect and the service is quite slow in comparison to the cafes in competition. You fail to monitor the presence of various help that’s responsible for serving the customers. 

While this analogy might seem far fetched but just like this if your online store frontend is not impressive and is not monitored regularly, it might lead to a drop in the sale. 

These days, when a website or an app is the face of a business, paying attention to every detail while designing and developing the frontend is of utmost importance. Moreover, web apps are not as simple as Single Page Applications. They are becoming complex these days and managing them requires going the extra mile. According to a report, the average webpage now tops 3MB in page weight and calls more than 100 resources with each user click.

Moreover, as the applications scale, there is constant pressure to roll-out updates, adopt new frameworks to bring better features/functionality, manage users landing on the website from a variety of sources such as browsers, devices, locations, ISPs, etc. Amid all these challenges, it is critical to a business’ success to continuously monitor the frontend to ensure that the app/website is delivering the content consistently. 

Keeping a check on frontend performance of the app or website can help in fixing the following issues: 

  • JavaScript Errors: Top 1 million websites by traffic are using Javascript (Source) for creating dynamic web pages. It is important to identify Javascript errors, how often they happen, what is their impact, etc. 

  • Framework Related Issues: Frontend development frameworks such as React, Angular have made the lives of developers much easier with competitive benefits that they bring in. Errors or issues encountered due to functional distortion in frameworks is what needs to be monitored in a frontend for seamless content rendering. 
  • Performance Issues: Average time to load a page, average server response, time to first paint are some of the factors that can be improved with regular frontend monitoring. 

  • Network Request Failures: Websites and web apps rely on a number of third-party services to function. In addition, these web components make hundreds of requests to the server. Backend monitoring helps to record HTTP requests and the response they initiate. 

Frontend Monitoring: How to do it? 

Frontend monitoring improves the availability, functionality, and speed of the app. If you’re planning to improve the performance of your application’s frontend, set up a 30-minute free consultation with our experts who will help you get started with it. 

Archna Oberoi

Written by Archna Oberoi

Content strategist by profession and blogger by passion, Archna is avid about updating herself with the freshest dose of technology and sharing them with the readers. Stay tuned here as she brings some trending stories from the tech-territory of mobile and web.