Cetrus Blog

How are applications launched?

Posted by Erik Hoogerhuis on Oct 2, 2015 3:57:02 PM

In our last posting, we mentioned that to monitor an application, a vendor has to know how the application is launched. Monitoring an application requires a start point, and application launching is where Process Meter starts. We will only discuss applications running on a user’s desktop - which means downloaded applications as well as applications running in a browser. We won’t discuss server-based enterprise applications or Application Programming Interface (API) based application launches, as that is not a space Cetrus covers today.

Application launches start with an action: either the user clicks on an application, an icon, a tab, a link or types in a URL. The application can be launched by another action – it is called by another application. Most Microsoft-based desktop applications have an executable .exe file that when opened, starts the application. Some applications are plugins or extensions of another application. When you launch the extension, it calls the anchor or underlying application (which typically is launched with the .exe).  

Another monitoring approach is to track Microsoft’s Task Manager. Whenever an application launches, it kicks off a process which Task Manager tracks. There are plusses and minuses to monitoring applications using Task Manager vs .exe’s, which we won’t go into.

Monitoring browser-based applications requires a different approach. Each tab supports a different application, and the monitoring solution just needs to do a URL/Domain name match when the user hits the enter key to identify which application(s) are of interest.

So why is this information important? Monitoring starts when an application starts. When, where, how, etc. an application is launched provides context that is of value to a stakeholder. The action of launching an application also provides the impetus for gathering contextual information as well. An application launch triggers the start of more than just the application.

Come back next week, when we look at some of the kinds of information is of interest to stakeholders.


Topics: Insider