Working with a BlueConic Sandbox

First of all: what is a BlueConic Sandbox? A BlueConic Sandbox is a playground instance of BlueConic that can be used to simulate the behavior of a real BlueConic server. The instance will be empty so you can start from scratch. It is a fully functional BlueConic environment where you can experiment with production websites without having to work in the BlueConic production environment.

A sandbox is typically used in conjunction with the BlueConic Chrome Extension. This is a browser extension for Chrome that can be installed from the Chrome Web Store for free. The BlueConic Extension is used to work with BlueConic Sandbox environments, as it can tie any website to a particular BlueConic Sandbox without the need to edit that website. A sandboxed website will run all Listeners and Dialogues from the connected BlueConic Sandbox.

Any website can be sandboxed with the BlueConic Extension active:

  • Websites without the BlueConic script will get the Sandbox script inserted.
  • Websites that already contain a BlueConic script will have it replaced by the Sandbox script. This means that existing BlueConic listeners and dialogues will not be run. Instead, the listeners and dialogues of the BlueConic Sandbox will be executed.

This makes the BlueConic Chrome Extension an invaluable tool for people on a sandbox. This document describes the BlueConic Extension in greater detail.

Follow the procedure below to start working with a BlueConic Sandbox:

1. Request a BlueConic Sandbox environment

To avoid working with a production BlueConic environment you should request a BlueConic Sandbox environment if you have not done so yet.

** Note that you can only get access to a BlueConic Sandbox environment if the organization you work for has made the appropriate legal arrangements. Please check your BlueConic contract before submitting a request.

2. Install the BlueConic Chrome Extension

Go to the Chrome Web Store and install the BlueConic Extension.

The BlueConic Chrome Extension is an extension like any other. To maintain it, you can open chrome://extensions. Here you can allow the extension to also be active in incognito mode, or you can disable or even remove the extension. If you disable the extension, the configuration will be kept, so the next time you enable the extension all settings are restored. If you remove the extension all settings are removed as well.

 

3. About the BlueConic Extension

The BlueConic Extension does not require any manual configuration. Instead, it tracks your login status. Log in to your BlueConic Sandbox and the extension will work with its channels. Log out of your BlueConic Sandbox and the extension will stop working with its channels.

You can verify this by examining the icon of the BlueConic Extension:

  • Browse to one of the websites in your universe, e.g. "www.taylor-shop.com".
  • The icon of the BlueConic Extension should turn blue: .
  • Now browse to a website that is not in your universe. The BlueConic Extension icon should turn grey: .

Notice that the BlueConic Extension icon turned blue  to indicate that the website you are viewing will be sandboxed when it is loaded. In other words: all pages of the website will get the Sandbox Script inserted, effectively tying the website to your BlueConic Sandbox.

You can disable the BlueConic Extension by clicking its icon and deselecting "BlueConic Extension is enabled". This icon should become ghosted: . This means that no websites will get the Sandbox Script inserted.

It is important to note that the extension uses the exact hostname and aliases of the channels in your universe to determine whether or not insert the Sandbox Script. For example: if you added "www.taylor-shop.com" all pages on that website will get the script inserted, but any page on "shop.taylor-shop.com" will not. If a website uses multiple hostnames for serving pages, all those hostnames will have to be part of the universe in your BlueConic Sandbox.

 

4. Add Channel to your Universe

With the extension active, you can add the website to your Universe:

  • Open the BlueConic Sandbox.
  • Go to "Settings > Universe"
  • Select the Domain you want the website to belong to
  • Click "Add Channel"
  • Create a new channel of type "Website" and enter the details.

The BlueConic Extension is smart in that it recognizes that you are working in the BlueConic Client. When it recognizes the BlueConic Client, it examines any website shown inline and sandbox it when necessary. In the example the BlueConic Extension icon turned blue  to indicate that the inline website was sandboxed. Note that switching sandboxing on and off for an inline website is possible in the BlueConic Extension.

Troubleshooting

BlueConic script cannot be found on page

If the address bar for an inlined website turns orange in the BlueConic Client, the BlueConic script cannot be found on the page. Click the orange question mark for details.

A common cause for this is that the BlueConic Extension is not configured to be active for the inlined website, recognizable by the grey  icon in the top right of the browser window.

  • Click on the icon and inspect the configuration
  • Is "Hostname of the BlueConic server" correct for the BlueConic Sandbox that you are using? If not, enter the correct hostname or select the correct set from the pulldown menu.
  • Read the description, e.g. "The BlueConic script is currently disabled for this domain (www.taylor-shop.com)". Is the domain name as you would expect? If so, try switching sandboxing for the domain on by clicking the toggle in the BlueConic Extension and try loading the website again.
  • Click on "Show all domains". Is the hostname of the inlined website among the list of domains? If not, try opening the inlined website in a new browser window and switch sandboxing for the domain on by clicking the toggle in the BlueConic Extension.
  • Sometimes a website will use a different hostname to retrieve the BlueConic script from. Use the Network tab of the Chrome developer console (f12 or alt-command-i) to find out what the hostname in the URL of the script "blueconic.min.js" is. Make sure both hostnames are added as Channel and that they are listed under Domains.