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Distributed tracing 101 for full stack devs

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How do you explain a bottleneck in your web stack? Start with learning the ins-and-outs of distributed tracing and how it can help you monitor your increasingly complex full stack apps.

Understanding how a user interaction in the browser cascades into a 500 server error deep in your server stack is challenging. Distributed tracing helps answer these types of questions.

In the early days of the web, writing web applications was simple. Developers generated HTML on the server using a language like PHP, communicated with a single relational database like MySQL, and most interactivity was driven by static HTML form components. While debugging tools were primitive, understanding the execution flow of your code was straightforward.

In today’s modern web stack it’s anything but. Full stack developers are expected to write JavaScript executing in the browser, interop with multiple database technologies, and deploy server side code on different server architectures (e.g. serverless). Without the right tools, understanding how a user interaction in the browser cascades into a 500 server error deep in your server stack is nigh-impossible. Enter: distributed tracing.

This is part 1 in a series from Sentry on distributed tracing.

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