Start monitoring today and get 20% off on your first invoice. Available on all Uptrends plans.

One of the primary things that set transaction monitoring apart from our other monitoring types is the ability to interact with pages. Using Web Application Monitoring, Uptrends clicks page elements, completes forms, inputs login credentials, uploads files, and otherwise performs all sorts of user actions to test your user journeys.

With Self-Service Transactions, you create a script that interacts with your page through a group of four available action types or interactions. The four main page interactions that will be discussed in this article are Navigate, ClickHover and Set. The Set-interaction also allows for File uploading. Other actions also exist, including such things as content checks, taking a screenshot or creating a waterfall report.

Navigation is the very first action recorded or added to any transaction script. Every transaction starts by navigating to a URL before it begins to test your site's functionality. The navigation action tells the browser to go to the URL, and the monitor waits for the page to load completely (within a reasonable time frame).

In most cases, a transaction only contains the one navigate action at the start. However, sometimes a second navigation is needed within the transaction. When additional navigation steps are needed, we recommend you put these navigate actions in their own respective steps. Putting navigation actions in their own step helps you to keep oversight of what’s happening at which point in your transaction, and helps you make sense of the timing metrics Uptrends measures per step.

It should be noted that a navigate action will always use one transaction credit.

Navigate options

The available options for the navigate action include (see figure below):

  • The URL used for the navigation (required).
  • The Description used for reporting purposes (required).
  • Failure message to include in error reports.
  • Result checkbox instructing Uptrends to Ignore the HTTP status code returned.
  • Wait timeout where you specify how long Uptrends should wait for the page load to complete.

The Result setting is different from all of the other action types. By default, a navigate action ensures the page has loaded correctly, and that the monitor received a non-error HTTP status code (any status code less than 400). Any status code 400 or higher generates an error for the navigation action, and the transaction stops executing. If you need the transaction to proceed despite receiving an error status code, enabling Ignore the HTTP Status code that is returned tells Uptrends to continue regardless of the resulting status code.

Screenshot: Step editor Navigate action options

Follow Navigate actions with content checks

To ensure that the transaction ends up on the correct page after the navigation action, add a content check as the next action. A content check gives you the certainty that your transaction landed on the correct page, and that the page fully loaded and the page displays the components that allow the monitor to interact with the page further before executing the next action.

Use waterfall reports with Navigate actions

Since a navigate action loads a completely new page, you may find it useful to gather specific metrics about the page load times by enabling the waterfall report option in the step that contains the navigate action. Each waterfall report added to a transaction uses one transaction credit.

Click

The Click action tells the browser to click a specific page element using a CSS or XPath selector. There are a variety of potential uses for a click action:

  • Selecting options,
  • Opening sub-menus,
  • Selecting checkboxes, or
  • Clicking links that take the transaction to the next page.

Therefore, the Click action is an integral part of any transaction.

Broadly speaking, a click action falls into two categories:

  • Either Click actions lead to a new page (links or buttons), or
  • Click actions perform an action on the existing page.

A click may or may not result in the use of a transaction credit.

Click action options

The Click action options include (see figure below):

  • The Description used for reporting purposes (required).
  • Failure message to include in error reports.
  • Error handling: Selecting the Ignore errors that occur in this action checkbox tells the monitor to disregard any errors that this action may encounter such as not finding the clickable element.
  • Wait until: Before a click action can happen, the element the monitor needs to click needs to be rendered and visible on the page (speaking in CSS terms, the element must be displayed and visible).
  • Wait timeout: You can specify the amount of time the monitor should wait for the element to meet the Wait until requirement above. The default wait time is 30 seconds, but you can override the default for a maximum wait time of 60 seconds.

Screenshot: Click action step options

Note: If you use the [enter] key rather than using the mouse to click a submit button, the Transaction Recorder cannot capture the interaction. Avoid using the enter key and other keyboard shortcuts while recording your transaction.

Hover

When a page contains elements that require the user to hover the cursor over them to perform an action such as selecting a sub-menu or selecting from a drop-down, you need to add a Hover action. Before the user or monitor can interact with an underlying element such as links in a drop-down/pull-down menu, the element needs to be visible on the page.

Because the cursor is always on the page during the transaction recording, the recorder would constantly record hover events that you would need to remove after the fact. Instead of removing possibly hundreds of unneeded hover events, the recorder doesn't record any hover actions. Therefore, you need to add any required hover actions after the fact.

In the example below, to access the menu for the selection of the checkout option, you must first hover over the shopping cart.

Animation: Hover action opening a sub menu

Hover action options

You have the following option settings for the Hover action (see figure below):

  • The Description used for reporting purposes.
  • Failure message to include in error reports.
  • Error handling: Selecting the Ignore errors that occur in this action checkbox tells the monitor to disregard any errors that this action may encounter such as not finding the clickable element.
  • Wait until: Before a click action can happen, the browser has to render the element making it visible on the page.
  • Wait timeout: You can specify the amount of time the monitor should wait for the element to meet the Wait until requirement above. The default wait time is 30 seconds, but you can override the default for a maximum wait time of 60 seconds.
Screenshot: Hover action options

Use content checks after hover actions

To check for a successful Hover action (the sub-menu loaded correctly), consider adding a content check action directly after the hover to verify that the monitor can interact with the menu before proceeding.

Set

The Set action tells the monitor to input values for elements. A monitor has several uses for a set action:

  • Completing text fields and boxes: Credentials and other strings of characters commonly needed in input fields.
    If the Set action triggers an autocomplete function; for example, when you enter a zip code or search term, the page might suggest a full address or commonly searched terms. In auto-complete cases, you may want to add a content check to make sure that the auto-complete function worked correctly and add a click action to select the desired option.
  • Selecting options from a drop-down: Typically, select element types have several predefined <option> elements each with their own values. Using a CSS or XPath selector, point the script at the select element. You can choose to set the option element's id attribute, value attribute, or text content.
  • Uploading files from the vault: In certain cases, a file upload may be required to correctly test your flow. For example, if you're filling out a complaint form that requires a mandatory screenshot, or if you're testing the uploading capability of an online repository. It's possible to have the transaction upload a file from your account vault. You can find a guide on how to set up file uploads further down this page.

Set action options

You have several options available to you for the Set action (see figure below). Besides the standard options, you also have one special one, Sensitive value.

  • Sensitive value: Selecting the Treat this as sensitive (hide the value from test results) checkbox hides the value in the action's test results by displaying asterisks instead of the actual value. If the value is a password or another sensitive matter that should not be exposed in the monitor results, make sure to select this option.
    When using sensitive values in your transaction, such as login credentials, the characters appear in plain text in the transaction editor regardless of whether you use the Sensitive value option. If you also need to hide these values everywhere including in the self-service transaction editor, use the Uptrends Vault.
  • The Description used for reporting purposes (required).
  • Failure message to include in error reports.
  • Error handling: Selecting the Ignore errors that occur in this action checkbox tells the monitor to disregard any errors that this action may encounter such as not finding the clickable element.
  • Wait until: Before a click action can happen, the element the monitor needs to click needs to be rendered and visible on the page (speaking in CSS terms, the element must be displayed and visible).
  • Wait timeout: You can specify the amount of time the monitor should wait for the element to meet the Wait until requirement above. The default wait time is 30 seconds, but you can override the default for a maximum wait time of 60 seconds.
Screenshot: Set action options

File uploading in transactions

To configure your transaction to upload files, you must first add the file(s) to the vault. For instructions on how to add files to your vault, see our article on the vault.

When you've added the file to your vault, you're ready to configure our transaction with the file upload. Uploading files makes use of the Set action. You'll need to add this action to our transaction, and then configure it to upload the file:

  1. Navigate to the correct transaction step editor by going to the monitor options, and then the Steps tab.
  2. Add a Set action in the step where you require the file to be uploaded.
  3. Set the correct CSS or XPath selector to select the file upload element.
  4. Note: Most often, the correct file upload element to interact with on the page is an input type="file" element. In some cases, these elements can be 'hidden' on the page, where the user clicks on a button or link instead. The Set action should take place on the actual file upload element on the page. Since such elements are not always visible, it is generally a good idea to set the Wait until option in the Set-action from its default value of The element is both visible and enabled to The element exists.

  5. Click the ellipsis button next to New value to open the dialog that allows you to specify the element value.
  6. Specifying the file for upload

  7. Click Vault file upload, and select the correct file. If you have more than one file in your vault, they should be listed by vault section.

That sets up the transaction to include a file upload. From here, you can continue building the transaction as you normally would.

Transaction set to upload file

Automatic variables

You can use the Set action for filling in dynamically generated data, such as timestamps or random strings selected from an array. These automatic variables should be entered as follows: {{@variableGoesHere(option1,option2)}}

Setting an automatic variable

If you wish you use any automatic variables in your transaction, please refer to the complete list of available automatic variables.