Welcome to Raygun: A quick start guide for new and returning users

| 11 min. (2157 words)

Welcome to Raygun. Whether you are new to Raygun or have been a customer for a while, there is always plenty to discover inside the Raygun app.

Raygun helps your development team discover and reproduce issues affecting end users with greater speed and accuracy. Less than 1% of users report a software error they encountered. Raygun helps you to discover these errors, look after your users and prevent future software problems.

In this article, you’ll learn how to best set up Raygun to be the most effective, and a few key features that we recommend.

Essential setup

Advanced setup

How Raygun organizes and displays your data

How to maintain Raygun and get the most from your plan

Essential setup

Not sure where to start? The essential setup section of this guide will help you navigate through creating the foundation of your Raygun account. Raygun is highly customizable to your business needs, so once you have the basic setup steps completed, we recommend you follow the advanced guide to start receiving data that suits your preferences and developer workflow.

Start sending data to Raygun

The first step is to add Raygun to your production environment. Data will start flowing through your Raygun dashboard immediately, and you’ll be able to sort, assign and act on the data. Installation is language specific.

All it takes is a few lines of code

Invite your team to Raygun

Add team members to Raygun so everyone can get access to your account. (We understand you might want to explore Raygun first so that you can skip this step until you are ready.)

Strip sensitive information and define your privacy settings

You have maximum control over how much data Raygun collects. If you do not wish to capture any user identifier information, exclude sensitive data as early as possible. You may also be interested in how Raygun handles privacy, including government and industry compliance (such as HIPPA).

Read more about security and how to strip data

Integrate your current technology stack

Build robust error resolution processes by integrating your existing development tools with Raygun. Integrating doesn’t take long, and can have a profound difference on the time it takes to raise issues to the right person.

**ChatOps: **No-one wants to spend all day in email. Integrate your ChatOps software such as Slack and HipChat with Raygun to receive all error notifications inside a dedicated chat window.

**Source control: **Raygun works with your source control software to synchronize issues, making it easier to stay on top of errors in your application. You can also link back to source with GitHub, BitBucket, and GitLab for the fast retrieval of a stack trace.

**Alerting: **If something breaks in the middle of the night, you need to be reassured it will be raised and fixed quickly. Raygun integrates with alerting software like PagerDuty and VictorOps to ensure on-call developers have the diagnostic details they need to fix an error quickly.

**Project management: **Integrate your issue tracker or project management tool with Raygun so you can plan, track, release and support your software. Here’s a guide to integrating JIRA Software and Raygun.

What is an ‘app’ in Raygun, and how do I handle environments?

As a first time user, you may be wondering what defines an app in Raygun.

Each application you create in Raygun has a unique and separate API key. It is the API key that tells Raygun where to send the error report. Your API key provides a way to group errors into containers. It’s your very own filing system to store your errors.

For more details on setting up your environments, look here

Set up your notifications preferences

Raygun Crash Reporting wants to keep you regularly updated on the health of your software. Any time your software throws an error, Raygun will automatically keep you in the loop by sending an email notification containing the diagnostic details you need for a fix. We recommend you customize these notifications from day one, so you receive the relevant notifications and disregard noise.

*Important: Avoid using your email provider’s inbox filters for any Raygun emails. You may miss important emails regarding billing information. Whitelist the email address billing@raygun.com to ensure important emails regarding you plan reaches your inbox. Error notifications come from **notifications@raygun.io **

Here’s how to customize your notifications

Advanced setup

Raygun is designed to provide you with the actionable data you need to find and fix performance problems for your end users. To get the most from your Raygun plan, we recommend you customize your Raygun account to receive the data that makes sense for your development workflow. This advanced setup section will help you surface the most pertinent data to the right people on your team.

Tags allow you to attach custom data to send additional contextual information when the error occurs. All custom data is then searchable and filterable within Raygun so you can pinpoint and triage errors with greater speed and accuracy. You can also tag VIP users to understand how they use your application and which errors they run into frequently, so you can prioritize the fix.

Getting started with Raygun tags

Read a step-by-step how OpenWater use tags to reduce error noise by 99%

Attach a trail of events leading to a crash with Breadcrumbs

Using this feature, you can connect an accurate trail of the events through your system leading up to the moment a crash report was generated. You’ll gain more insight into why the application crashed when it did, making prioritization of fixes much easier.

Here’s what you need to know about breadcrumbs

Filter unnecessary data with Inbound filters

Inbound filtering is one of the best ways to sort your errors. Create criteria to ignore errors coming from a particular IP address, machine name, created by a specific version, and more.

Where to find inbound filtering

Identify your users with User tracking

Use Raygun to determine the individual users having a bad experience so you can offer exceptional and personal customer service by enabling User Tracking. View performance breakdowns on page load speeds as well as full diagnostic details for errors and crashes that caused users to walk away. Use this information to reach out to customers before they report the error – they will be delighted.

Enable user tracking

Set up Deployment tracking

Deployment tracking will give you visibility into software releases and the effects they have on both your application and end users.

Discover if the latest version release slowed down your application, or if it caused an error. You’ll be able to make a more informed decision on whether you roll back the deployment, or address the fix.

Start tracking deployments

An example of a deployment tracking workflow

Visualize and access data quickly with Dashboards

Raygun gathers a great deal of data on your applications, and the Raygun dashboard allows you to visualize all this data in one place. Drag and drop tiles showing error trends over time, adoption rates and more, and create multiple dashboards depending on your needs. Dashboards are invaluable when you need a quick at-a-glance health check. You’ll see error spikes and performance problems displayed in an easy to digest UI.

Visualize data with Dashboards

How Raygun organizes and displays data

Great, so now you should be all set up with our core features. But how can you start navigating all your customized data? This section will explain how Raygun sorts and displays your data so you can organize your dashboards quickly.

Error statuses and how to solve your first error

When Raygun receives an error, it gets sent to the ‘Active’ tab in your main dashboard. You can then take action to change it to another status. Error statuses are a great way to organize your dashboard and prioritize your resources for error fixes. They also directly affect your plan’s usage. Use the error statuses to drag an ‘Active’ error to the ‘Resolved’ tab. Congratulations, you resolved your first error!

Read more on error statuses here

Customizable error notifications

Raygun wants to keep you regularly updated on the health of your software. Any time your software throws an error, Raygun Crash Reporting will automatically send an email notification containing the diagnostic details you need to fix it.

Customize your notifications

How to filter and search information relating to errors

Use inbound filters to filter error groups: Inbound filters are necessary because they will reduce any error noise from any applications you wish to ignore. (For example, a legacy version.)

Search error groups: Raygun search allows you to view error groups and instances that match the keyword queries you enter.

Build custom reports: Raygun never samples data; we store every single error instance, which means you can download detailed reports for analysis. (Business and Enterprise plans only.)

Full session trace on errors

Edge cases are usually caused by an unforeseen sequence of events, for example, the way the end user is traveling through your app combined with the browser they use. Therefore, replicating the environment in which an error occurred takes longer. The full session trace is invaluable for revealing this information.

Make replicating errors easier with user tracking

How does Raygun automatically group errors?

Raygun’s error grouping algorithm relies primarily on the stack trace. Therefore, it works best when errors are given the appropriate design considerations before they are sent into Raygun.

Here’s how to write great software error messages

Error status explanation

How to get more control over error grouping

If rewriting your error messages is not a viable option, here are some ways you can add additional controls over your error grouping.

**Make sure you are using the latest version of your Raygun language provider: **Running your application on an outdated version means you won’t get all the benefits of the best grouping logic Raygun has to offer. Each time Raygun adds an updated version we include many edge cases from the billions of data points we collect. 

JavaScript error grouping can be particularly problematic, so be sure you update to the latest version of our JavaScript provider.

**Merge error groups inside the app: **You can merge similar errors inside the app on an ad-hoc basis by using the merging featureAfter merging singular errors into a group, both types of error will appear under the newly merged group. Reoccurring errors will also appear in the newly merged group.

**Use the custom grouping feature: **Everyone has slightly different ideas of how to group errors. Inconsistencies between languages make grouping criteria even harder. Raygun groups errors primarily on the stack trace.

When there are edge cases that Raygun can’t deal with, you can use the custom grouping feature to apply additional logic on top of what Raygun can automatically provide.

This is a feature that should be used with caution and only used when the built-in grouping logic doesn’t quite suit you.

Need further assistance with error grouping?

We are constantly working on improving our grouping algorithm to ensure that the right errors are grouped together. Having said that, it is a difficult problem and we don’t always get it right, so it helps to get some examples from our users to help us improve. 

If you’ve tried all of the above methods, understood how Raygun automatically groups errors,  and you still need further assistance, we’d like to hear from you. 

Send us the name of the provider and language you are using and the URLs of the error events that you believe are grouped or separated incorrectly, and one of our engineers will be in touch.

Maintaining your Raygun account

Raygun will soon become an integral part of your workflow. Keep your eye on our monthly product newsletter and in-app messages for updates. In the meantime, you may be interested in where Raygun fits into a workflow, and how to keep your error quota in check.

Where does Raygun fit in with my workflow?

This question will depend on your technology stack, but many of our customers use integrations to set up a robust debugging workflow.

Read an example debugging workflow from Atlassian

Read a recommended developer workflow

How can I keep my error quota in check?

The key to staying within your quota is to keep the Raygun dashboard organized. Staying organized helps save time, too, as you’ll prevent non-critical errors staying active, ensuring you and your team are only alerted to the errors that matter.

Read the guide on keeping your error quota down

Suggest features in our feature request forums

Is there something missing from Raygun that would make your life easier? Suggest what you need in our feature request forums. We read every one, and if we receive enough requests, we’ll get to work building it for you.

Don’t be shy

Are you still unsure about some of your plan settings or how to find features? Ask for a walkthrough of how best to set up your Raygun plan.