Instant Replay (BETA)

Instant replay is like a car dash cam for bugs. It allows Bird to record a page in the background, so the next time a bug occurs, you can simply hit "instant replay" to re-watch the bug and see what caused it, along with all the technical logs that an engineer might need to fix it. Saving you the need to reproduce and record the bug manually.

This feature is currently in Beta release, so you may encounter stability issues. To try it out, make sure Bug Watch is enabled on your page and enable instant replay in the extension settings. We would love to hear your feedback in our Slack community.

Instant replay recording

How it works

Standard screen recording, like the one used in the Bird extension, captures every pixel frame-by-frame to create a video. While this is a reliable way to record your screen, it consumes some computer resources i.e. great for occasional screen recordings, not so great for recording continuously in the background (unless you compromise on the quality of the recording).

Instant replay works by capturing the underlying code on your page (or more specifically, the DOM) and only records the changes, or "events", e.g. when you click a button, when some data loads etc. It then reconstructs your screen using this data to present something that looks and works just like a video. This allows the screen recording to be very lightweight, and run in the background without consuming a lot of computer resources. To optimise storage, instant replay only records the most recent activity. So unless you upload the bug, old events will be discarded routinely.

Limitations

While the lightweight aspects of the technology has made instant replay possible, it does come with some limitations in what can be recorded. So some screen recordings may appear different, or have missing sections, depending on the contents of the page:

  • Iframes, canvas and native elements are not recorded e.g. Google maps, or native MacOS/Windows menus.
  • Only content on the specific page is recorded, so data in popups or other tabs are not recorded.
  • The technology works by recording "events". This could be a limitation that trigger a high volume of events in a short period of time e.g. a page loading a lot of data in the background.

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