Gomez is this week announcing plans to release a service to enable IT managers to get more detailed data on web application performance from an end-user perspective.

The website monitoring and web application performance management tools and services vendor said Actual Experience XF can measure performance aspects of an online application, including download times, abandonment rates and service consistency.

The service can also tell IT or business managers where the customer is logging onto the site from demographically, the type of browser they are using and the size of the browser window – which can help website developers tweak page appearance.

Essentially, Actual Experience will show IT managers what the end user saw, said CTO Imad Mouline.

"We are going to sit inside transactions on the browser, which lets us see the actual traffic as it happens," he said. The Actual Experience XF service would require customers to embed a small bit of software code on their website and, when customers request the page and applications on it, the Gomez network is triggered to start measuring performance.

"Agent-based technologies can be a pretty big headache for network administrators," says Lisa Erickson-Harris, a research vice president at Enterprise Management Associates. "But agents can also provide more granular and detailed data as to what is actually happening on the desktop and much closer to the end user."

The service complements existing services provided via Gomez Performance Network, renamed to Gomez ExperienceFirst Network services and is based on the company's Universal Transaction Agent (UTA), which emulates browser or website interaction to capture and report single and multi-step, transactional web page performance information.

The agents reside on Gomez's network, to which customers connect via a VPN. Depending on the amount of services purchased, customers can also have agents installed within their firewalls and located closer to end-user desktops. The company said it offers a non-intrusive, lightweight agent to report on the performance in the last mile.

Gomez competes most directly with Keynote Systems, but also runs into vendors of end-user and customer experience measurement appliances such as Coradiant and Tealeaf. Actual Experience XF is scheduled to be generally available in the first quarter of 2007. The company says pricing will be based on consumption, and that it will release pricing for the service when it becomes available.