Create a Custom Activity for a Web Applications with Aternity Web Activity Creator (WAC) (early access)

The Aternity Web Activity Creator (WAC) (early access) enables you to quickly and intuitively create custom activities for web applications directly from the web page. The WAC is an interactive Google Chrome extension that opens as a floating sidebar next to your web page. It offers a simple workflow to create your custom activities all on one PC. With WAC you define an activity by selecting web elements that indicate the start and end of a business activity.

For example, you can use WAC to create an activity that measures the performance of signing in to Outlook Web Access. You can create many activities for each application.

Use WAC to create custom activities for Web Applications

Even though you create your web activities in Google Chrome with the WAC extension, Aternity monitors the activity in Google Chrome, Google Chrome for Mac, or Internet Explorer 11 (learn more).

Use WAC to select the Start event of an activity, by selecting elements on the web page which the user can see or select. Then, do the same to define the activity's Complete event which marks the moment when the activity ends. Test your activity in WAC to validate your design. Create as many activities as needed for your application, then finally generate a signature for each custom activity and upload them to Aternity.

Demo of WAC

Before you begin

  • Create your web activities in WAC from within Google Chrome, on a Windows PC running Agent 9.2.x or later. Always use the latest version of WAC (automatically updated).

  • After you created and uploaded the custom activities using WAC in Chrome, Aternity can monitor the activities on monitored devices in Chrome or Internet Explorer when the device has Agent for End User Devices for Windows 9.2.x (IE requires Agent 9.2.4 or later), or on Macs in Chrome for Mac where the device is running Agent for Mac 3.0 or later.

  • Before creating activities, interview application users, novices and power users to determine the application's critical transactions which you want to measure (learn more).

  • Ensure you have permission to access the web application, or work on the computer of a user who has those permissions.

  • You must be able to access Aternity, and your role there must include permissions to edit managed applications.

  • (If end users run the app in IE11) To create activities in WAC, the site in IE must have document mode 9 or later. Older legacy web sites may have an earlier document mode. To verify, open the site in IE11 and select F12 to open the Developer Tools pane. In the right hand side of the top bar of the pane, check the document mode number is 9 or later.

    If the site uses an older document model, or if your users still browse in IE10 or earlier, you must capture your custom activity with Aternity Recorder (learn more).

    Verify IE11 document mode of web site is 9 or later

Procedure

  1. Step 1 If you previously added a version of WAC, remove it.

    Open a browser and enter the address chrome://extensions/. Verify that Aternity Web Activity Creator does not appear in the list of extensions. If it does, select Remove.

  2. Step 2 Download WAC (early access) from the Chrome Web Store.

    Select + Add to Chrome. Read the permissions that you are granting to WAC before selecting Add extension. Those permissions apply only when WAC is open.

    Tip

    If you don't have access to the Chrome Web Store, download the Aternity Web Activity Creator here. Launch on-app-store-<version>.reg to add WAC, then close and reopen Chrome.

    Download the WAC
  3. Step 3 Open your web application in Google Chrome.
    For example, enter the URL for Outlook Web Access.
  4. Step 4 Open WAC by selecting Aternity Web Activity Creator next to the URL in Chrome.

    If this PC is a monitored device, your Chrome browser already has the Aternity Extension for Chrome, which enables Aternity to monitor web applications that run in Chrome. It has a similar Riverbed icon to the newly added WAC.

    Select the icon in the upper right corner to open WAC
  5. Step 5 Sign in to WAC using your URL to Aternity URL which you use to view your dashboards, like https://my.aternity.com.

    Enter your Aternity username and password which includes the role of editing managed applications.

    Tip

    If you use SSO to access Aternity, enter the SSO URL (like https://mycompany.my.aternity.com), enter your SSO username, but do NOT use your network password. Instead, find your password inside Aternity, by selecting User icon > REST API Password. Make a note of it to use for every sign-in to WAC.

    Sign in to WAC with your Aternity URL
  6. Step 6 Select Add Element to choose the web element which the user selects to mark the start of the activity.

    When the Add Element header is orange, you are in the mode of looking for a page element by moving your mouse around the web page. When the header is blue, you are not actively looking for web elements. As you move the mouse pointer around the web page, WAC highlights the elements that you can select. For example, in Outlook Web Access you can select the Sign in button as the start of the activity.

    Tip

    Ensure this element with its internal name is also visible on pages rendered in other browsers like IE11.

    Add a web element to your activity
  7. Step 7 Edit the properties of the start event in WAC to ensure that the activity captures it accurately.

    WAC automatically assigns values to the parameters of the new event. In many cases you can leave the default value, but there are some values you may want to edit. When you are done editing, select Save.

    Edit your new event
    Field Description
    Application > Application Name

    Displays the name of the application based on the URL of the web page. You can edit this to a more friendly name.

    For example, you can change the default application name outlook.office.com in Google Chrome to Outlook Web Access.

    Activity > Activity Name

    Enter the name for the custom activity, for example, Sign in.

    Event Details > State

    Enter the type of event to capture:

    • Start begins the activity, like a mouse click or a key press.

    • Complete ends the activity, like the disappearance of a GUI element, or the appearance of a new GUI element like a logo.

    • Incomplete interrupts the activity, like an extra mouse click. Use this to reduce reports of a failed activity.

    Event Details > Event Name

    Displays the name of the element associated with the event, like the name of the button.

    Edit this to provide a meaningful name, which also appears later on in WAC notifications. For example, change button._fce_h.o365button.ms-bgc-tl-h to Sign-in button.

    Auto fail-safe

    Displays whether WAC should cope silently with users who double-click this element, by duplicating this event as an incomplete event. For example, if you click this button twice very quickly, WAC does not report the first click which is incomplete. It starts the timer from the second click.

    Page > Hostname(s)

    Displays the alternate URLs for accessing the web page, such as the DNS name, FQDN or IP address, ensuring the activity robustly monitors any of these as start events. It also displays the internal URLs or IP addresses to which your load balancer distributes requests.

    You can edit this list by selecting Edit, to add the hostnames to all of the application's activities.

    For example, the web page for Outlook Web Access has the URL outlook.office365.com/owa/ in Internet Explorer, and outlook.office.com/owa/ in Google Chrome. The Chrome version appears automatically in WAC, but you must add the Internet Explorer version manually.

    Page > Port

    Displays the custom port used by the application. It does not display the port number for applications that use ports 80 or 443.

    Page > Path

    Displays the path that the browser appends to the hostname.

    For example, Outlook Web Access appends the path /owa/ to the hostname outlook.office.com.

    Page > Page Title

    (Optional) Enter the page title which must be present to trigger this activity:

    • any value means the activity triggers for any page title.

    • exactly requires the complete page title to be static as entered here.

    • contains requires that the page title contains the text entered here.

    • starts with requires that the page title begins with the exact string entered here.

    • ends with requires that the page title ends with the exact string entered here.

    For example, you can define that the activity only takes place only when the web page title starts with the word case.

    Set how the event must match the name of the web page
    Events

    Select the event that marks the start or end of the activity. The beginning of an activity is usually marked by a user action, while the end event marks when an element becomes visible or invisible.

    • Start Page Load is the moment when a revised web page begins to load. You must still select an element on the web page, but then WAC automatically removes it afterwards.

      Tip

      If your activity has several possible start triggers, use Start Page Load to capture any event which starts the activity.

    • Click is when you press the main mouse down and then release it.

    • Mouse Down is the event ONLY of pressing the main mouse button down.

    • Mouse Up is the event ONLY of releasing the main mouse button after mouse down.

    • Right Click is when you press and release the secondary mouse button.

    • Double Click is when you click the main mouse button twice in quick succession (speed defined by the operating system).

    • Enter Pressed is the keypress of the Enter key.

    • Droplist Changed is when you made a selection from a drop-down menu (click or enter pressed on an item).

    • Visible is when a particular web element becomes visible. For example, an activity may be complete when a logo appears on the page.

    • Invisible is when a particular element becomes invisible. For example, an activity may start with a click on a Send button, and ends when the button is no longer visible on the page.

    You cannot start an activity by hovering the mouse pointer over an element. Monitoring hovers would impact too heavily on the browser's performance.

    Selector

    Displays the parameters which determine the narrowness of the definition of the element on the web page. You can see the elements included in the definition by a red border around each element. If you have too many elements, add or remove these parameters until WAC displays only the elements which you need in your event definition. As you make changes, WAC changes to highlight the elements included with the selected parameters.

    For example, an email in Outlook Web Access has two Send buttons. By selecting the right combination of parameters, you can ensure that both are included as start events for the activity.

    Select parameters so that the right elements are highlighted
  8. Step 8 Select Save to add this to the list of activities in WAC.
  9. Step 9 Add the complete event, so that the Agent measures performance of completed activities.

    Select the + next to Complete and select the element that indicates that the activity is completed. Use the WAC Selector section to ensure that you assign the right element to the event.

    For example, in Outlook Web Access, you can define the end of the sign-in activity when the New button appears on the screen.

    Select a web element that indicates the end of the activity
  10. Step 10 Add other relevant start events, to ensure that Aternity measures the performance of all instances of the activity.

    For example, ensure that every button or link that starts the sign-in process has its start event in WAC.

    Select the + next to Start to add a start event.

    Add another start event to the activity
  11. Step 11 To test the custom activity, perform the activity with WAC open to view WAC notifications, to validates that WAC captures and monitors the events you designed.

    You can perform this validation at any phase of creating the activity. If you've only added the Start event, WAC will only report start notifications. After you've added Complete and Incomplete events, WAC will report Complete events, and if an activity is not completed, Incomplete events.

    For example, you can sign in to Outlook Web Access with the wrong password, and receive a Start and Incomplete notifications. Sign in again with the right password, and receive Start and Complete notifications. Each notification includes information about the event, so that you can validate your definition of the events.

    Validate your start, complete, and incomplete events
    Field Description
    Time

    Displays the time at which the event took place.

    Application

    Displays the name of the application as you defined it in WAC.

    Activity

    Displays the name of the activity as you defined it in WAC.

    State

    Displays whether this is a Start, Complete, or Incomplete type of event.

    Event

    Displays the name of the element that triggered the event, such as #submitButton - Mouse Down for a click of a mouse button.

  12. Step 12 Generate the signature so that you can upload it to Aternity.

    Hover over the activity and select Generate Signature to generate the signature file. WAC saves the file to the local user's Downloads folder.

    Generate the signature
  13. Step 13 After you generate the signature, provide it to an Administrator of Aternity so that they can upload your custom activity to Aternity. Learn more.

    Test the activity by performing it in the web application on the devices in the test group, on Chrome, Chrome for Mac, and Internet Explorer, and check that the performance results appear in the User Experience dashboard.