Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)
In software engineering, observability is the ability to determine the current state of a software system based on its external outputs or signals such as metrics, logs, or traces. Web engineers rely on the web browser console as the primary tool to monitor the client-side of web applications during end-to-end tests. However, this is a manual and time-consuming task due to the different browsers available. This paper presents BrowserWatcher, an open-source browser extension providing cross-browser capabilities to observe web applications and automatically gather browser console logs in different browsers (e.g., Chrome, Firefox, or Edge). We have leveraged this extension to conduct an empirical study analyzing the browser console of the top-50 public websites manually and automatically. The results show that BrowserWatcher gathers all the well-known log categories such as console or error traces. It also reveals that each web browser additionally includes other types of logs, which differ among browsers, thus providing distinct pieces of information for the same website.
browser automation; log gathering; empirical study