Use our Monitor During Development to Flush Out Your Nastiest WebRTC Bugs

Things break. Unexpectedly. All the time.

One thing we noticed recently is the a customer or two of ours decided to use our monitoring service in their staging versions or during development – and not only on their production system. So I wanted to share this technique here.

First off, let me explain how the testRTC monitoring service works.

In testRTC you write scripts that instruct the browser what to do. This means going to a URL of your service, maybe clicking a few buttons, implementing a form, waiting to synchronize with other browsers – whatever is necessary to get to that coveted media interaction. You can then configure the script for  number of browsers, browser versions, locations, firewall configurations and network conditions. And then you can run the test whenever you want.

The monitoring part means taking a test script in testRTC and stating that this is an active monitor. You then indicate what frequency you wish to use (every hour, 15 minutes, etc.) and indicate any expected results and thresholds. The test will the run in the intervals specified and alert you if anything fails or the thresholds are exceeded.

Here’s one of the ways in which we test our own monitor – by running it against AppRTC:

Monitoring AppRTC using testRTC

What you see above is the run history – the archive. It shows past executions of the AppRTC monitor we configured and their result. You should already know how fond I am of using AppRTC as a baseline.

We’ve added this service as a way for customers to be able to monitor their production service – to make sure their system is up and running properly – as opposed to just knowing the CPU of their server is not being overworked. What we found out is that some decided to use it on their development platform and not only the production system.

Why?

Because it catches nasty bugs. Especially those that happen once in a lifetime. Or those that need the system to be working for some time before things start to break. This is quite powerful when the service being tested isn’t pure voice or video calling, but has additional moving parts. Things such as directory service, databases, integration with third party services or some extra business logic.

The neat thing about it all? When things do break and the monitor catches that, you get alerted – but more than that, you get the whole shebang of debugging information:

  • Our reports and visualization
  • The webrtc-internals dump file
  • The console log
  • Screenshots taken throughout the session
  • In our next release, we’re adding some more tools such as an automatic screenshot taken at the point of failure

Those long endurance testing QA people love doing on systems for stretches of days or weeks? You can now set it up to run on your own systems, and get the most out of it when it comes to collection of post mortem logs and data that will assist you to analyze, debug and fix the problem.

Come check us out – you won’t regret it.

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