Record or history of user activity?

  • I'm looking for an API that allows me to record user activity such as
    items selected from menus, keystroeks, etc. I'm trying to identify
    what was happening in my application immediately before a crash
    occurs. Sometimes, backtraces aren't all that helpful.

    Of course, I don't want to slow down the application in the process.
    It seems trapping every NSEvent* and recording it is overkill. Plus it
    wouldn't give me information such as which menu was selected, which
    window was frontmost, etc..

    Any pointers where to start looking? Is there something in the
    Accessibility API that might be useful?

    Thanks,

    David Francis
    President
    Francis Technical Services, LLC
  • On Jan 17, 2008, at 6:55 PM, David Francis wrote:

    > I'm looking for an API that allows me to record user activity such
    > as items selected from menus, keystroeks, etc. I'm trying to
    > identify what was happening in my application immediately before a
    > crash occurs. Sometimes, backtraces aren't all that helpful.
    >
    > Of course, I don't want to slow down the application in the process.
    > It seems trapping every NSEvent* and recording it is overkill. Plus
    > it wouldn't give me information such as which menu was selected,
    > which window was frontmost, etc..
    >
    > Any pointers where to start looking? Is there something in the
    > Accessibility API that might be useful?

    No APIs needed for these first three:

    (1) Instruments (specifically its User Interface instrument)

    (2) Automater's record feature.  This is really useful for apps that
    are accessible as it appears it uses the accessibility APIs to give
    nice names to your recorded items (e.g. Click the "Drills" button).

    (3) PreFab browser can also tap into accessibility-savvy apps and
    allow you to create GUI scripts.

    You can also just look into doing strategically placed NSLogs.  Or,
    better yet, really dig into your crashes using the many different
    strategies of debugging.  For example, perhaps you're trashing memory
    beforehand and that's why your crash stack-trace isn't that useful?
    Definitely look at NSZombie and friends for help in that area.

    ___________________________________________________________
    Ricky A. Sharp        mailto:<rsharp...>
    Instant Interactive(tm)  http://www.instantinteractive.com
  • Thanks Ricky. I'm actually looking for something that can be handled
    non-obtrusively from the user's perspective. For example, when the
    user has a crash have a dump file of recent "events" automatically
    written to a log file. On the next application launch, look for a dump
    file and if so, upload it to a URL for post processing by me.

    Thanks.
    Dave

    On Jan 17, 2008, at 7:08 PM, Ricky Sharp wrote:

    >
    > No APIs needed for these first three:
    >
    > (1) Instruments (specifically its User Interface instrument)
    >
    > (2) Automater's record feature.  This is really useful for apps that
    > are accessible as it appears it uses the accessibility APIs to give
    > nice names to your recorded items (e.g. Click the "Drills" button).
    >
    > (3) PreFab browser can also tap into accessibility-savvy apps and
    > allow you to create GUI scripts.
    >
    >
    > You can also just look into doing strategically placed NSLogs.  Or,
    > better yet, really dig into your crashes using the many different
    > strategies of debugging.  For example, perhaps you're trashing
    > memory  beforehand and that's why your crash stack-trace isn't that
    > useful?  Definitely look at NSZombie and friends for help in that
    > area.
    >
    > ___________________________________________________________
    > Ricky A. Sharp        mailto:<rsharp...>
    > Instant Interactive(tm)  http://www.instantinteractive.com
    >
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