Create Custom Activities

You can create your own custom activities to monitor the performance of your key business applications, by measuring the time it takes between a user action (like mouse clicks or key presses) and the response of your business apps (like the appearance of a window, or some other UI change). You can define as many action-response pairs as you want, known as activities, to monitor any action on any type of application: web, desktop, or mobile apps. You must add these applications as managed.

Then use Aternity's dashboards to gain powerful insights into the bigger picture of performance of these key activities, like if they are slower in some locations, on some types of devices. You can proactively determine delays and problems, narrow down the problem definition, and resolve the productivity issues quickly.

For example, you can define a custom activity to measure the time it takes for your ERP or CRM app to search for a customer record, from the exact moment when a user presses the search button until the app finishes presenting the details on the screen. Or you can measure the time it takes for your inventory app to locate whether an item is in stock, or the time it takes for your app to save an invoice in your financial system. Aternity's dashboards can show if this action is slower in your London office and faster in Shanghai. It can help you determine if your workforce's laptops need more memory to work significantly faster, or if the higher memory has no significant impact on these critical transactions.

A custom activity measures the time between any user action and the app's response

Before You Begin

  • Add the application to be managed in Aternity by selecting the Gear Icon > Managed Applications.

    Important

    Do NOT add a new application in the Monitors Settings screen. You must add it only in the Monitored Application screen, because there the system adds the required default settings, which are essential to the smooth running of the dashboards.

  • Before you create a custom activity, you must first define the key actions (business transactions) in your application which you want to monitor:

    • Find the business transaction in your application where you want to monitor response times. For example, find the common user actions which must be fast, or where slow responses would impact on sales or service.

    • Interview typical users, power users or new users about how they perform each of those actions in your app. Each may use their own keyboard shortcuts or mouse clicks.

      Different types of users may receive different results. For example, the application may respond differently to a sales manager versus a branch manager.

    • Pin down the exact moment when this business transaction starts and ends. Typically it starts with a user action like a mouse click or a key press, and ends when something appears or disappears on the screen. The end of the transaction can be as tiny as a change in the status bar, or as big as a new window displayed on the screen.

    • Ideally, the response time of an activity should represent the time that a user spends waiting for the application to respond. Aternity also supports special cases where you define a custom activity which includes waiting for a human to respond, known as an application event.

Procedure

Create custom activities and view their performance in Aternity
To... Do This...

Create activities for web page load times in a managed web app

Select the Gear Icon > Managed Applications > <app_name> > Page Load Activities at the top to create an activity for the page load time (WPM).

Learn more.

Add activity for page load times

Create a custom activity for a desktop application

For desktop applications, you must first record the business transaction on a monitored device (learn more), then create the activity in Designer (learn more), upload it to Aternity, distribute it to a test group (learn more), then test it (learn more).

Tip

Use Designer to create activities for business transactions that have a Windows UI. You can use this method also for web applications.

Workflow for creating a custom activity in a desktop application

Create a custom activity for a mobile application

An Administrator of Aternity can use Aternity Mobile to record events while a user performs a business activity in a monitored mobile app. Then, a signature designer uses Aternity Activity Designer to locate the start and complete events for the activity. The signature designer generates the signature for the activity, and provides the activity to the Aternity administrator for uploading to Aternity.

Learn more.

Workflow for creating custom activities for monitored mobile apps