A good application monitoring solution will provide you with a visual representation of the performance, growth and usage of your AJAX applications. These and other measures are the critical measures that need to be checked to ensure that no disruption occurs. Monitoring your applications ensures that your application provides you with the results for which it was actually designed. Below are some reasons why your application is being monitored.

  • Converting leads into customers.  It’s important to create a great rapport between your application and your customer. This is a place where you convert your leads into customers. To ensure that happens, proving a bug-free app is very important.
  • Knowing the customer experience.  To know what your customers experience like what they click, where they spend time on the app, where they mouse hover, etc., is vital to enhance the application to provide a better user experience.
  • Eye on application performance.  Today’s applications are more complex and they have various parts moving back and forth from the server, client, and sometimes third-parties.  The overall application may look fine, but there may be underlying issues at the server and network levels. Addressing those issues is vital.


AJAX: A Quick Overview

AJAX, Asynchronous JavaScript and XML, is a concept, not a programming language, and is independent of web server software. AJAX is used to create faster and more interactive web applications. With AJAX, users can continue to use the application after a trigger because the client program makes “silent” requests to / from the server in the background. In short, the user will never know that something has been transmitted to the server. AJAX does not need complex triggers. For example, a simple mouse movement can be treated as an event trigger. Data is stored and sent to the server in XML format using XMLHttpRequest (XHR) objects in the browser. The modern application uses JSON instead of XML because it is easy to use with JavaScript. AJAX must combine with several elements to function:

  • HTML and CSS for presentation
  • JavaScript is called when an event occurs on a page
  • Document Object Model (DOM) represents the structure of XML and HTML documents and how data is interacted with and displayed.
  • XMLHttpRequest is an object provided by the browser’s JavaScript environment, whose methods transfer data between the web browsers and web servers.


Purpose of using AJAX

AJAX is used in applications, typically whenever a small amount of data is stored and retrieved from the web server without postback to the whole page, which is why AJAX is incorporated in many single-page applications (SPAs) to pass JSON objects.  The goals of using AJAX include the following:

  • Faster performing applications.  The main advantage of AJAX is to store and retrieve data by bypassing the webserver known as callbacks. Web services are created to call databases asynchronously. Callbacks make a quick round trip to and from the server without posting the entire page back to the server. By preventing frequent requests on full postback, the network utilization is minimized resulting in quicker operations. As a result, network performance is improved.
  • Avoid wait times.  AJAX makes asynchronous calls to the web server thus allowing the user to continue browsing by avoiding the wait for data to arrive to perform the next action.
  • Reduce server load.  Fewer requests are sent, thus reducing the execution on the server. This reduces the load, thereby saving the bandwidth.
  • User-friendly.  AJAX reduces page postbacks, making applications are more responsive, faster, and more user-friendly.


Application Performance Monitoring

Today, businesses have started to depend on web applications to grow and increase their sales. The success of an application lies mainly in the experience of the end user. It is therefore very important to provide them with a transparent application.

There are two types of surveillance. Real User Monitoring (RUM), or passive monitoring, records the real user experience and checks its performance. This type of monitoring has its drawback. It relies on real users to compile monitoring data. What if the application is not used by the number of users as expected? How will the web team know the actual performance?

This is where synthetic or active surveillance comes in. Behavioral scripts are generated and executed frequently to find out the availability and performance of the application. In the event of an error, the teams can be alerted to quickly resolve any problem. Synthetic monitoring can be performed without the presence of actual users.


AJAX: Disadvantages

In spite of all the AJAX advantages that promote the purpose of using it for dynamic applications, there are certain disadvantages. We’ll discuss a few of them below.

  • Network latency.  Factors like heavy traffic at a particular time, inadequate bandwidth, and Wi-Fi usage, can affect the speed of AJAX calls.  Therefore, frequent monitoring of network, bandwidth, traffic, and rectifying those issues early, can ensure users have a smooth experience.
  • Browser compatibility issues.  Any AJAX calls may work on one browser and not on the another. It is vital to have the AJAX functions consistently work on all browsers. Any new website created or a new feature developed for a web application has to be made compatible across all browsers.  Synthetic monitoring should be employed to test the AJAX calls for persistent functioning of applications across all browsers, especially when frequent updates are done.
  • Security.  Web 2.0 with its maximum usage of AJAX encompassed with JavaScript has made web into a super platform. Consequently, this has also paved the way for a lot of viruses. AJAX functions are prone to security threats.
  • Validation confusion.  Most of the time, it is thought that the validation is done by the other party (client-side or server-side). This confusion leads to neither party implementing the validation properly. This leads to easy insertion of malicious data.
  • Data serialization.  Browsers can evoke AJAX calls and perform data serialization. It can fetch JSON, XML, HTML blocks, feeds, JavaScript arrays and objects. If any of these blocks are intercepted, browsers can be forced to show vicious data.

Conclusion:  Monitoring AJAX Applications

In conclusion, as AJAX applications become more widespread, the need to script user behavior and monitor these scripts for errors is necessary to ensure an exceptional user experience. Monitoring your applications for user performance and functionality should be implemented in order to retain your existing customers and attract new ones. Learn more about monitoring dynamic applications, such as AJAX, with Win Infoway.

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