Error Monitoring - The Necessary Application Feature
To err is human. The process of software development can’t be error-free; fixing errors is part and parcel of building software applications. And, no matter how much you dislike those harsh error messages when your code fails and exits, you have to admit that they save you from a lot worse.
However, before effectively resolving these errors, you need to be prompt at monitoring them (to become aware of issues in the first place), tracking them, analyzing them, understanding their root cause, and determining the most efficient course of action.
In this regard, Application Performance Monitoring (APM) tools answer a simple question:
‘With every sector of society moving towards automating processes, why shouldn’t application performance and error monitoring be automated too?’
In this post, we’ll dive into understanding more about error monitoring: why it is so critical, its benefits to your organization, a list of the top error monitoring tools for the job, criteria to consider before choosing one for your application, and lots more.
Here’s an outline of what we’ll be covering so you can easily navigate or skip ahead in the guide –
- Why is Error Monitoring Important
- Benefits of Monitoring
- Things to consider when choosing an error reporting tool
- A Preview of the Top Error Monitoring Tools
- Scout Error Monitoring
Why is Error Monitoring Important?
Importance of Errors
The conventional mentality is to think of errors as an undesirable facet of software development that thwarts progress. However, a counterintuitive, more logical mindset is to recognize that errors are essential in how they prevent you from getting into circumstances that can incur a lot more damage.
For instance, the errors your application encounters during development prevent you from pushing erroneous code into production. This saves your end-users from a compromised user experience. Similarly, errors intelligently handled in your production code can ensure that the program doesn’t continue to operate incorrectly, preventing a likely revenue loss (e.g., with erroneous app logic that computes an incorrect total amount for the items in the user’s cart).
Importance of Error Monitoring
So, if you really think about it, errors play a critical role in highlighting the weaknesses and points of failure in your applications. Therefore, ideally, you’d want to be on the lookout for errors in your application on a regular basis. But, as you can imagine, manually keeping track of all the issues that come your app’s way isn’t feasible. Moreover, the cost of negligence is stupendously high. Even one hour of downtime can significantly dent your revenue on a crucial business day.
Therefore, you need systems in place that can monitor errors and alert you in real-time about what went wrong, where, and what you can do to fix things. Intelligent, automated monitoring tools like Scout can help you quickly pinpoint the root cause to the very line of code causing the issue, correlate it with other performance metrics, integrate with source code hosting platforms, and more — all of this in a very cost-effective package.
Benefits of Monitoring
Let’s list the tangible benefits of monitoring your applications for errors and overall performance:
Increased Productivity, Reduced Fatigue
As we briefly hinted, manually monitoring your application for errors 24x7 isn’t the least bit productive. There could be long spans of periods where everything will be working smoothly, and you won’t see anything amiss. Conversely, out of nowhere, you could suddenly witness a cascade of errors all over your system that wouldn’t be easy to analyze and make sense of within a short period manually. The manual approach is inefficient, unproductive, and fatigue-inducing.
Therefore, why waste time, money, and human resources on something that one can so easily and efficiently automate with more accuracy and better insights for a fraction of the price? Instead, better utilize those resources by building new features for your application.
More Context about Errors, Better Insights about Performance
With APM tools like Scout, you get access to detailed error stack traces, contextual information about errors (through request and custom parameters), and integration with code hosting platforms like Github for traceability.
Additionally, you can also view the overall error rates of your application and correlate them with your other performance metrics to see if there’s any causality. Combined, these features can provide actionable insights about performance and drive app development efforts accordingly.
Better Customer Experience
As useful as these errors are to developers, they are just as unpleasant to end-users. An uninterrupted, error-less website experience is what every user expects and deserves.
Error monitoring with real-time alerts enables developer teams to attend to errors as quickly as possible to resolve issues before end-users catch wind of anything amiss.
Reduction in Revenue Loss
If unattended, errors can cause much damage — not only to the customer experience and reputation but also to your business’s revenue. Every customer that has an unpleasant experience with your app will want to take their business elsewhere. Every end-user that encounters errors while using your app is, therefore, most likely a lost opportunity.
You, therefore, want to minimize the number of such errors lingering around and fix them as soon as possible. Error monitoring makes the process of finding, tracking, and diagnosing errors effortless.
You can’t manage what you can’t monitor.
A Preview of the Top Error Monitoring Tools
The plethora of error monitoring tools in the market today speaks to how useful and popular they are and how commonly software organisations worldwide are adopting them. Here’s a list of some of the top error monitoring tools you can get started with.
You can learn more about each of these in our Best Error Monitoring Tools post, where we provide an exhaustive analysis of the best options and what makes them great.
We also cover lists of error monitoring tools for Python and PHP and alternatives to Airbrake on our blog:
- A Look at the 6 Best Python Error Monitoring Tools in 2022
- Best PHP Monitoring Tools on the Market
- A Comparison of 6 Airbrake Alternatives for Error Monitoring
Things to Consider when Choosing an Error Monitoring Tool
With the wide variety of options available, it can be overwhelming to decide which tool would best suit your needs. It helps to be aware of the most important aspects relevant to your use case and compare the different options along these lines.
Here are some of the top factors to consider before investing in an error reporting tool:
- Feature set/functionality: Does it offer all the features you’ll need?
- Language/framework support: Does it work with your code stack?
- Ease of use: Is it easy for your team to effortlessly get started with?
- Price: Does it fit your budget?
- Integration with other services: How well does it integrate with current developer workflows?
- Technical support: Would you receive prompt help if you’re stuck somewhere?
Thinking along these lines will allow you to cherry-pick tools that better suit your requirement and prioritize accordingly.
Scout Error Monitoring
Scout is the answer to all your application performance and error monitoring requirements. Here’s a summarised list of its error monitoring features:
- Performance metrics and error monitoring in one view
- Integration with Github for backtraces
- Real-time alerts via email
- Full-stack traces
- Error contexts with request and custom params
- Search Function
- Intelligent error grouping
To learn more about Scout’s monitoring suite, check out our Why Scout page.
In this post, we talked about error monitoring for web applications, the importance of errors and monitoring them, and tangible benefits that should convince you to start monitoring errors in your application right away. We also took a sneak peek at the top 5 error monitoring tools in the market and the factors to consider when choosing a tool for your app.
Now that we have established that error monitoring is a critical requirement for your organization, go ahead and invest in an error monitoring tool like Scout — for increased developer productivity, reduced fatigue, better insights about performance, improved reliability, to ensure better customer experience and reduced revenue losses.