January 20, 2014
An app is not just for Christmas!
When you release an application out into the wild you can not predict exactly what will happen. This is especially true for Android but is becoming more so for iOS applications. Both Google and Apple do have some support for telling you something unexpected and very bad has happened in your app but these are very simplistic offerings. Despite how much care and attention goes into an application no realistic amount of testing will have tested every possible use of the application. As such problems do occur and as a responsible warrior in the battle on bad apps you want to address these problems as quickly as possible.
The first problem is knowing that your app has a problem. Google Play & iTunes Connect show you summaries but you have to actively log in and seek this information out. This is obviously not ideal as, hopefully, there will be nothing to report on most days. This rules out the standard offerings from helping you produce better software.
The main alternatives that I’ve used over the years are:
Flurry was one of, if not the first, modern mobile analytics company. After the initial innovation they stopped and the tool soon became dated. In 2014, Yahoo purchased them and things started progressing again with a modern and fresh look to the data analysis.
Almost no app would be complete without integrating Google Analytics and they also include some very basic crash reporting. I have never found the level of detail useful enough but it is better than nothing and comes straight out of the box.
TestFlight used to provide an outstanding tool to allow developers to distribute their applications. This has now been acquired by Apple.
Created by Twitter and now mainly under the Fabric name this is the best tool available for native applications. It provides automatic categorisation, historical records and issue management. It also provides a great way to distribute your test applications to small (<100) dev / test teams.