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Application Insights for Visual Studio Online

Visual Studio 2013

Application Insights is in preview.

Caution note Caution

If you have Visual Studio Update 3 or later, you’re probably using the new version of Application Insights in Microsoft Azure.

Application Insights for Visual Studio Online lets you monitor your deployed live application.

Tip Tip

Application Insights is moving! We are making a transition to become a service in Microsoft Azure. If you added Application Insights to your project by using Visual Studio 2013 Update 3 or later, then you’re probably using the new version. Read about it here.

You can monitor any of these types of application:

  1. A web service or web application.

  2. Web pages that use JavaScript.

  3. A Windows Phone 8 app.

  4. A Windows Store app.

Just by installing the Application Insights SDK in your code, you get basic information such as how many users you have and how often they come back. But by inserting snippets of code you can also count how often them use particular features, achieve specific goals, or make particular mistakes. And you can measure timings—for example to find out how long a typical game lasts.

Build and redeploy your app to the users, and then watch your usage reports on the Application Insights portal. In the next few hours and days, they’ll build up a picture of the frequencies and timings of the events across all your users.

Choose Usage, Features. Page Views

If your app is a web application, or if it’s a device app that uses a web service, you’ll want to know if the site becomes unavailable or responds slowly. You can monitor the availability of any website or web service that has a public URL. Application Insights sends web requests to your server at regular intervals from several parts of the world, simulating real users. You don’t have to change the website itself in any way. A test can ping a single URL, or it can simulate a user scenario with a more complex sequence of steps.

You see the results as graphs of availability and response times:

Drag across the small summary chart to zoom

Discover and diagnose performance issues in your web app. If your app sometimes runs out of resources or throws exceptions, you can get stack traces to find out what’s going on. You can monitor performance in:

  1. A .NET web service. You have to have administrative access to the server machine to install Microsoft Monitoring Agent. You don’t have to alter the code of the web service.

  2. A .NET service running as a web role on Microsoft Azure Cloud Services. You have to have access to the code. You run the Application Insights tool on your development machine, then rebuild and redeploy the service.

  3. A Java web service. You download the agent to your server machine, update the configuration files, and restart your web service.

The agent monitors the performance of your web applications and sends the results to Application Insights.

You get graphs of responsiveness under load, and a list of any uncaught exceptions. You can configure emails to alert you of performance issues and exceptions. You can drill into the exception stacks to pinpoint the problem in the code.

Under Performance, Server, select your app.

You can also see on the same charts when your latest builds were deployed, to help you pinpoint any issues that might have arisen from a recent change.

If you log events using Log4Net, NLog or TraceListener, you can search the logs quickly and effectively with Application Insights. Add the adapter to your app project and then you’ll be able to search your events like this:

Expand any result for more detailed properties

Dashboards let you bring together the metrics and events that you are most concerned with. Keep your dashboards on display in your team room to keep an eye on your live service. If you have several dashboards, you can run them as a continuous slide show.

Example completed dashboard

If your application has performance issues, throws exceptions, or becomes unavailable, you’ll want to be the first to know. Set up to be alerted when any of a variety of performance counters goes outside the limits you set.

If you’re working with a Visual Studio project that is already configured for the VSO version of Application Insights, there’s no problem. It will continue to send data to the VSO portal.

If you want to configure Visual Studio so that new projects are configured with the VSO version, then

Read the details for monitoring a web application or monitoring a Windows Phone or Store app. Briefly - in Visual Studio 2013, in Tools > Extensions and Updates, install Application Insights Tools for Visual Studio, version 1.*. Then you’ll be able to add Application Insights to existing or new projects.

Alternatively, open an account in Visual Studio Online and choose the Application Insights tile.

No. Application Insights is a separate service, and you can use any source code system.

No, but it’s easier in some cases. Without using Visual Studio, you can create availability tests, monitor performance of ASP.NET or Java web services, and track usage in the web page. It’s more difficult to track usage in a web service or Windows device app without Visual Studio, because you have to add the NuGet packages.

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