YC-Funded Proxino: Automated Error Reporting For Your Client-Side JavaScript

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Here’s a new Y Combinator-backed startup that’s sure to catch they eye of plenty of web developers: Proxino, a new service that promises to let developers detect errors on all of their client-side JavaScript, without having to manually wrap their code with repetitive error handling commands.

First, a little high-level background. Unlike languages like Python, which are executed on the servers of the websites you access, JavaScript code is typically executed locally in your web browser. This allows for speedy response times and nifty effects, but there’s a downside: developers have a much harder time figuring out if their sites are raising issues for some users. Each browser executes code differently — and if something goes wrong, developers won’t automatically receive a bug report.

There are some ways to deal with this. Developers can build their own test suites, which automatically check numerous test-cases for various browsers. And they can also wrap each of the functions in their code with exception handlers. But Proxino’s founders say that test suites aren’t perfect (the worst bugs are the ones that slip through these tests), and that many developers don’t want to manually add error handling.

That’s where Proxino comes in. Developers pass their JavaScript application’s through Proxino’s proxy server, which automatically wraps each part of the application with code that generates exception reports, so they get pinged any time a user’s browser has an issue. The proxy can also minify the code to reduce the download time, and caches JavaScript apps to further speed things up. And they’ll automatically convert other languages, like CoffeeScript, into instrumented, exception-catching, JavaScript.

Of course, proxy servers have a potential downside: if the server goes down, your app could go down, and you’re not in direct control of getting it working again. To remedy this, Proxino uses a fallback technique — if Proxino goes down, you’ll simply start serving your JavaScript app from your own server as your normally would.

Proxino acknowledges that there are already some tools out there that help optimize JavaScript, like Google’s closure compiler. But they say that there aren’t many tools that do a good job letting developers detect errors in browsers — and they say their competitors behave inconsistently across different browsers like Webkit and Opera.

Proxino charges based on the amount of traffic your website draws. There’s a free version for low-traffic sites with less than 1,000 page views per month; the first paid tier is $30/month for up to 10,000 page views (you can see their full price list here).

In the longer term, Proxino has some pretty ambitious goals: they say they want to “serve the world’s Javascript”.

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