Replays

Replays are like a car dashcam for bugs. It allows Bird Eats bug to constantly record a page in the background, so the next time a bug occurs you can simply hit "Replay your actions" to re-live 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.

See a replay example →

Hit "Replay your actions" to replay the last events and see the bug that the extension just recorded for you

How it works

Standard screen recording, like the one used in the Bird Eats Bug 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. That's fine for occasional screen recordings, not so great for recording continuously in the background (unless you compromise on the quality of the recording).

Replays work by capturing the underlying page structure (or more accurately, 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 a visualisation that looks and works just like a video. This allows our background recording to be very lightweight, and run uninterrupted without consuming a lot of computer resources. To optimise storage, Replays only record the most recent activity: unless you find and upload a bug, old events will be discarded routinely.

A Replay Session captured with Bird Eats Bug

How to enable

This feature works on a per-domain basis. Instead of having an on/off switch that indiscriminately records all your activity on the browser, every time you toggle the Replay feature on you are opting-in on the specific domain of the current page.

This way you get full control over which domains/pages you want to allow Bird Eats Bug to actively monitor and record in the background. And this feature has the same privacy-first design as the rest of the extension: no data whatsoever gets sent to our servers until you actually hit the upload button. Everything resides on your browser, under your control.

Hover over the "Replays" toggle to enable the feature on the domain of the current page

Limitations

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

  • Some embed elements like <iframe> and <canvas> are not recorded (e.g. Google Maps), and neither anything outside the HTML document like native MacOS/Windows menus.
  • Only content on the specific page is recorded, data in popups or other tabs are not recorded.
  • The technology works by recording "events". On pages 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) that could cause stability issues.

If Replays cause you trouble, you can deactivate it in the extension settings. We would love to hear your feedback in our Slack community.

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