In the world of software development, debugging plays a very important role. It is a process of detecting and removing existing as well as potential errors. In the same way, when you are implementing Adobe Analytics, Analytics debugging refers to validating the payload that is being sent to the Adobe Analytics server.

Why is learning how to debug an Analytics beacon necessary? It is a must skill to learn as your implementation quality and speed improves. You don’t need to wait for data to be populated in your Adobe Analytics report suite and then make the appropriate changes. This is a big help especially when you are working for a live project.

This means you check the variables and their values that your TMS is sending, even before Adobe Analytics processes it and stores it in the designated report suite. With the need defined, let me take you through a list of tools that are available to debug an Adobe Analytics implementation:

  • Adobe Experience Platform Debugger
  • Charles Web Debugging Proxy Application
  • Debugger for Adobe Analytics Extension
  • Browser Network filter
Adobe Experience Cloud Debugger

This is the official debugging tool provided by Adobe and is currently available as a Chrome and Firefox extension. The debugger is an all-encompassing toolset which means you can use it for validating all Adobe Experience Cloud solutions including Analytics, AEP, Target, Audience Manager etc.

It has an array of features such as ability to inject or replace Adobe Launch embed code, federated login to auto populate property and the environment variables, lock mechanism to stay connected to the tab in focus, console logging, inbuilt Auditor etc. These rich and helpful features make it a must have tool for debugging any implementation project. And since it is supported by Adobe, you can expect feature upgrades which will make it more relevant and useful for your implementation needs.

Level of use: Easy

Charles Web Debugging Proxy Application

Charles app is not just a debugging tool. It is a web proxy that runs on your system. This makes it the middle layer to record and display all data that is sent and received from your browser. It means it can read all type of payloads including ones sent by Adobe Experience Cloud solutions.

The tool used to be my default go to utility until Adobe introduced the Experience Platform Debugger. Besides filtering for specific requests, it has some excellent features like Map Remote, Map Local, SSL Proxying etc. These were a great help for mapping development libraries on a production site to debug and find out errors for fixing issues. The tool has certain downsides too such as cost of accruing a license, a complicated setup for SSL tracking etc. But it is a great application that certainly should be explored.

Level of use: Hard

Debugger for Adobe Analytics Extension

Sometimes we don’t need a very elaborate setup like the one that Adobe Experience Platform debugger or Charles command. We want a quick view of the data that is sent to Adobe Analytics without moving away from the browser. Enter Debugger for Adobe Analytics Chrome Extension. This is my favorite debugging tool as it allows me to view the variables within the Chrome window itself. I agree that the view is pretty basic, but it solves my purpose 50% of the time. If you are looking at a tool to debug only Adobe Analytics payload, I highly advice you install it.

Level of use: Easy

Browser Network Window

This is another very basic application available for debugging purposes. This is again a good method to debug an Adobe Experience Cloud implementation. All you need to do is head over to the Network tab in the browser and filter the requests sent using certain solution specific commands like:

  • Adobe Analytics : b/ss
  • Adobe Target : mbox
  • Google Analytics: collect

You can even write regular expression to combine two payloads such as:

/(g/collect\b|/ss)/ - For checking requests on Google And Adobe Analytics
/(mbox\b|/ss)/ - For checking requests on Adobe Analytics and Target

Level of use: Easy

That is all for this blog post. Do let me know what is your favorite go to tool for debugging an Adobe Analytics implementation. Drop me a line at (ritesh)at(thelearningproject)dot(in).