Why is the integration of the different agents so cumbersome?

Hi,

I played around with some of the APM agents, namely Java, Python, and RUM and had a look at the docs of the others.

The relatively easiest to integrate is the Java one, besides one has to know which packages are used. So far, so fine, but there is room for improvement with regards to autodetection.

RUM is okay to integrate, if you have an html file you can change, where you put the script thingy. But to integrate it in an Java application, which you don't know, is hard. Python works slightly better in this regards. I imaging, it is nearly the same for all the other platforms.

Instrumenting Python is hard, which is caused by the often unclear and ever changing documentation, at least this is my impression.

I can compare to some APM competitors and they have autodetection and much easier instrumentation of methods in their Java agents. Also, they have the RUM agent integrated in their Java agents, which makes it's use so much more accessible.

The integration of the python agent work somehow, auto instrumentation should be extended by far. But even elastic's competitors rely on, at least some, manual instrumentation.

The integration of the other agents is much worse compared to competitors.

All in all, why is the integration of elastic's agents so cumbersome and hard, the competitors show that another world is possible.

Best regards,
Robert

I think you're raising some valid points here. A big area of focus for us going forward is to improve the getting started experience so your feedback is much appreciated.

Note that the application_packages, and even service_name are optional configuration options for the Java agent. We could do a better job pointing that out in the documentation and examples.

Can you elaborate what's particularly hard for Java applications? Is it to include the RUM agents in generated HTML pages of frameworks like JSF or VAADIN? Or are you talking about the integration of, for example, React frontend applications and Java backends?

Would it be helpful if the Java agent would inject the RUM agent into the HTML pages it serves? Or do you prefer to manually add the RUM agent to your frontend application that has it's own repo so that you can use the RUM agent's API to customize spans and transactions?

What works better in Python?

Could you comment on what was particularly confusing or difficult?

Are you referring to missing auto-instrumentation for particular frameworks or libraries? If yes, which are missing for you?

Or do you mean that you'd prefer not having to do code changes at all in order to integrate the python agent into your applications?

Thanks for your feedback,
Felix

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Okay, perhaps the explanation was extended since I read it the first time. It's quite comprehensive already.
But, you should mention more clearly, that trace_methods is necessary to see anything. I missed that before.

If you are not familiar with the application, it is not always clear, where to put the file and its call. Plus, you have to recompile the app, presumably, I didn't succeed to just change the jsp file for one example app.

I would greatly prefer to have the Java and the other agents injecting the RUM agent. Additionally with the ability to configure it via the injecting agent using the Kibana APM app.

The manual injection of the RUM agent as one can change the source code without recompiling. But I didn't test it with framework create their HTML dynamically, yet.

I didn't understand, how the auto-instrumentation is supposed to be used or how it works. I imagined that all code is instrumented somehow.

  • werkzeug
  • urllib[2,3]
  • some other low level modules

It would be great in general, not to have to change the source code. But in case of python, even the bigger players didn't achieve this.

Thank you for your interest.
Robert