Application Insights is a new project by Microsoft. It is an APM, or App Performance Monitor. The announcement by Microsoft was made at Build 2015 by Brian Harry, the Team Foundation Server product unit manager. The announcement coincided with Microsoft’s announcements for other upcoming projects, including new versions of Visual Studio and Team Foundation Server and other products.

What Application Insights Can Do

Application Insights is designed to give app developers greater visibility into how their apps are being used and how well the app is working.

Application Insights can offer developers an arsenal of tools to diagnose, troubleshoot, and improve their existing applications. It offers performance insight, lets the developer know how often the app is being used, and where bugs and other troubles lie. Application Insights gathers operational data, including usage analytics and login analytics. It offers the developer access to metrics including how often users deploy their app, what features users most take advantage of (or don’t), and exactly how users are making use of the app in question.

How Application Insights is Different From Other APMs

If it sounds like Application Insights is just another APM, Microsoft assures that it isn’t. The difference is that Application Insights is focused toward the developer. It is integrated with Visual Studio, Android Studio, Eclipse, and others, and allows the developer to create custom metrics and logging, which is difficult or impossible to do with other APM tools currently in use. 

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Application Insights works with a wide range of operating systems and applications, including .Net (dot Net), Windows-based applications, enterprise-level Java apps, and of course Android and iOS operating systems. It is also compatible with most of the popular developing languages, including JavaScript, Python, C++, PHP, Ruby, and more.

When Application Insights is Available and Pricing

When? Where? How much? Here’s the scoop.

A public preview of Application Insights is available now, and until the commercial release of the product is available for half off the price. The commercial release is expected to roll out within “the next few weeks,” which would indicate summertime, or at least before the fall. The price for Application Insights is based on the amount of data collected. Full price for the service is set at $24.50 for each 15 million data points, and an additional $1.75 for each million data points thereafter. A free version is also available.

How This Data Will Be Helpful Long-Term

The data collected by Application Insights won’t just be helpful for debugging and troubleshooting existing apps. This data will also be useful in developing better apps for the future. App developers can use this information to develop the types of features users are enjoying and leveraging within their apps, while allowing them to eliminate features and options that are slowing things down or just aren’t as popular.

Hopefully, Microsoft has set the bar for future APMs a little higher, meaning that more will focus on delivering useful information developers can take advantage of. The simple, intuitive use of Application Insights (combined with the powerful ability to create custom matrix and logging) might also mean more APMs in the future that give developers the flexibility to track and monitor usage statistics that actually drive better development practices.

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