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What does that mean for hiring? When we interview front end candidates we stress the importance of having a solid technical foundation with the language itself and not simply familiarity with Angular or React…or Ember or Meteor or Aurelia or Vue or Knockout. Our web application uses Angular, though, so we do spend the majority of our time writing Angular code.
When a company adds the agent to their site, it begins recording every user interaction. It tracks pageviews, mouse clicks, form submissions, and basically anything that helps tell the story of how your customers use your product. We don’t do sampling, we know who did what, not just what similar users tend to do on your site. Then we aggregate that data, and once you’ve taken insights from it, the agent will help guide your users by injecting guides right into your site. Want to explain how to use a new feature? Give us a selector and the agent will find that feature and display an easy-to-use guide.
There are two possible ways we could capture every event. We could naively walk the entire DOM tree and add event handlers for every element we care about, which would be expensive and add a bunch of weight to the page. A much better solution is to attach event handlers at the top of the document, utilizing the browser’s event propagation to feed the listener everything we care about. Why attach a listener to an anchor tag when the click event gives you that element anyway? The agent attaches top level event handlers, and then sends the important parts of the event data captured to our database. This data is then aggregated with the billions of other events the agent records to produce insightful metrics about how users interact with a customer’s product.
What it does
If this sounds like an oversimplification- it’s because it really is. There are all sorts of concerns that come from all the complexities of modern browsers. The agent needs to handle browser storage, cross-frame requests, different browser implementations for basically anything, different URL patterns, protection from XSS attacks, caching, and efficient content delivery. I mean, remember quirks mode?
Working with the agent can be really intimidating, but it’s also a cool and unique challenge.