This document explains how New Relic Browser collects and stores your asynchronous single page app (SPA) data. This will give you a better understanding of the SPA data you see in the New Relic Browser UI. This will also help you more easily add custom monitoring with the SPA API.
At the heart of New Relic SPA monitoring is the concept of the browser interaction. New Relic defines a browser interaction as anything that occurs in the app user's browser; for example:
- A user interaction that leads to a page load or route change
- A scheduled, dynamic update to an app's widget
All apps are different and have different monitoring needs. That's why New Relic includes default monitoring as well as the ability to set up custom monitoring for any browser interactions you choose.
Types of SPA data reporting
Three major categories of single page app data can be reported to New Relic:
- Initial page loads
- Route changes
- Custom browser interactions created via the SPA API
Each of these creates a
BrowserInteraction event. If one or more AJAX requests are part of an interaction, then associated
AjaxRequest events are also created. These events and their attributes can be queried in New Relic Insights.
Initial page loads
An initial page load is a traditional URL change, stemming from a complete load or reload of a URL. This is indicated in the browser when a page load event fires (the
window.onload event). Initial page loads appear along with route changes in the New Relic Browser UI.
SPA users experience dynamic route changes in a similar way to page loads. Visitors to a site or app generally do not care how a new view was delivered; they simply know that when they perform an action, a new view appears. For this reason, New Relic treats route changes in a similar way to page loads in the UI.
In order to optimally monitor single page applications, New Relic starts monitoring many browser interactions that could theoretically lead to route changes.
- If these interactions do not lead to route changes, New Relic Browser initiates monitoring but then discards them.
- If these interactions do lead to a route change, New Relic Browser saves the interaction sequence as a
BrowserInteractionevent, including information about both synchronous and asynchronous activity.
An interaction is considered a route change and saved as a
BrowserInteraction event when one of the following occurs:
- The URL hash changes (usually using
popstateevent fires during a callback associated with an interaction.
replaceStateAPI is called.
Route changes appear along with initial page loads in the New Relic Browser UI.
New Relic receives and saves hash fragments from route change URLs. If you use hashes to pass private or sensitive data, that data may be visible to your New Relic account users. For more information about data collection and reporting, see Security for New Relic Browser.
You can use the New Relic SPA API to set up custom monitoring of browser interactions that are not monitored by default. You can also use the API to disable default monitoring.
Custom events are saved as
BrowserInteraction events and have the following attributes:
categoryattribute will have the value
triggerattribute will have the value
api. (This is the default value but can be changed with the API.)
Difference from traditional page load timing
To provide optimized data for single page app monitoring, New Relic measures page load timing in a new way: by wrapping low level browser functions, both synchronous and asynchronous. This gives a fuller depiction of how long it takes to complete the changes required for a new view.
This is different from the traditional method for page load timing. Traditional page load timing uses the firing of the
window.onload event to determine when a page is loaded. This is not an optimal way to measure view change timing because web apps often have asynchronous code that runs for a significant amount of time after the
window.onload event occurs.
Browser's standard, non-SPA Page views page displays different page load times than when SPA monitoring is enabled. Because SPA monitoring is measuring all asynchronous activity, the SPA load times will generally be longer than standard page load times.
window.onload page load timing still appears on the SPA Page views page. When you select a specific page load event, Window onload appears as a red line in the page load time chart. You can also select Switch to standard page views to return to traditional load timing displays.
The New Relic agent monitors all asynchronous calls, including timers. Timers with durations shorter than one second are wrapped. Timers longer than one second are not wrapped because usually they are meant for non-web transactions, such as background work or polling that is unrelated to a user interaction.
Events and attributes
New Relic saves browser interactions that lead to route changes and page loads as
BrowserInteraction events, and AJAX requests as
AjaxRequest events. You can query these events in New Relic Insights. For more information about
AjaxRequest attributes, see Browser default attributes for Insights.