The New Relic Synthetics team has been hard at work during the last few months. We’re now excited to release the results of that work: an update to the New Relic Synthetics runtime environment (0.6.x), so all monitors now include the Chrome version 72 runtime, V8 engine v6.6, Node 10.15 LTS, and Selenium Webdriver 3.6.0.

With this update, we’re helping Synthetics customers modernize their testing environments, as well as increasing their speed, performance, and efficiency.

Keeping pace with modern web browsers

The Chrome browser is one of the most widely used web browsers, so it’s no surprise that many developers use Google Chrome’s developer tools and components to build and test their websites and applications. New Relic Synthetics relies on Selenium-powered Chrome browsers so users can test the sites they build with simple and scripted browser monitors.

Support for Chrome 72 keeps Synthetics up to speed with recent updates in Chrome. Since Chrome auto-updates the majority of its users to the latest version within one to two weeks of an update, Synthetics users need the latest version of Chrome to ensure they can monitor their sites accurately.

This runtime update also helps Synthetics users who need to emulate popular browser components. For example, in previous versions of the Synthetics runtime environment, users who built projects in React weren’t able to use iFrames in Chrome monitors. That’s no longer the case, as Synthetics users can now more easily script modern workflows.

Get optimum speed and performance from your synthetics monitors

Optimum page-load speed is part of any Synthetics user’s performance strategy. With the updated runtime environment supporting Chrome 72, Synthetics users can create monitors and test their sites and applications against one of the fastest web browsers without worrying about performance degradation from older devices.

And with optimizations to the runtime environment, including additions like V8 JavaScript engine v6.6, you’ll notice page loads and performance that more closely align with your customers’ experiences as they regularly update to the latest versions of Chrome.

Important note: If you have any simple browsers or scripted browser monitors that use an older runtime, you’ll need to update them to use the new runtime environment or else face slower response times, which is a result of the performance optimizations built into Chrome 72.

Bundled async/await functions

Node 10.15 LTS, which we’ve built into this version of the Synthetics runtime environment, includes async/await functions, so Synthetics users will benefit from having to write less Javascript.

As explained in 6 Reasons Why JavaScript Async/Await Blows Promises Away, async/await enables developers to write cleaner code. No more conditionals, nested code, or boilerplate JavaScript.

For example, here’s a JavaScript function without async/await:

 

 

Here’s the same JavaScript function with async/await:

Build modern, efficient monitors

With this update to the Synthetics runtime environment, we’re giving customers closer parity with the latest versions of the Chrome web browser. Customers can monitor the latest front-end frameworks like React and Angular right out of the box, and also be sure they’re keeping pace with their customers who regularly update to the latest versions of Chrome. After all, it’s crucial to align with the customer experience, especially when it comes to perfecting page load time and performance.

Finally, leveraging the latest technology like async/await helps you avoid having to write custom code to monitor your more complex scripts.

Mat Ball is a product marketing manager at New Relic focused on the impact of frontend web applications to business and customer experience outcomes. Previously, Mat worked for SOASTA, where he marketed their data science product. View posts by .

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