10 June 2014

Capturing user information on a Visualforce page using Javascript

I was working with a force.com developer who added the Boomerang JavaScript to his organization's pages in order to track browser performance. As a result, when he received a call from a user in Germany claiming that there was a slow down in app performance, he could correlate the Boomerang performance data to the actual user's information. This is a handy tool for tracking app performance in the browser for supporting users.

However, he was having problems querying the user information necessary to correlate the user in Germany to the data he was collecting from the Boomerang script. He needed a way to collect both performance data as well as information about the user.

Visualforce makes this pretty easy already with data binding. Especially since he was also tracking non-Visualforce pages where data binding isn't as easy, I decided to look at other ways to surface that information through JavaScript to make it easy to collect with the Boomerang performance metrics.

There are a couple useful techniques including using the AJAX toolkit, JQuery, and native JavaScript querying cookie information. Okay, the last technique wasn't that successful since we obfuscate user information in the cookie on Visualforce pages but it does become more interesting when adding a performance tracking script to non-Visualforce pages. 

If you want to take a look at the code I wrote for it, you can check it out in my Github repository: https://github.com/atorman/userInfo

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