This guest post was written by Wendy Dessler, from Outreachmama, who frequently writes about the latest advancements in digital marketing and focuses her efforts on developing customized marketing plans depending on the industry and competition.
No matter how prepared your development team is, errors still happen. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to prevent 100% of problems. However, when things do go wrong, it’s best to have a plan of action for resolving it quickly for your users.
Speaking of your users, they don’t have much tolerance nowadays when things go wrong. With over 6,000 new apps appearing on the Android Marketplace every day, there’s a lot of competition. When you have persistent errors, you’ll lose users to your competitors. Today, users are harsh critics. They have no patience for broken apps, and they’re more likely to leave your app a negative review without a second thought.
How can you compete in this rapidly changing world of app development? It all comes back to that plan. You need a way to quickly track down your app errors so you can resolve them quickly. Even better, you need a way to log your app in real-time so you can prevent those errors from happening in the first place.
Start with vigilant testing
While you should have a plan for testing continuously, you need to start with comprehensive testing before you launch your app or any deployments thereafter. Android devices come in over 24,000 unique types between tablets and smartphones. How will you make sure your app works on all of them? While you shouldn’t go out and buy one of every device, you can still prioritize the most common operating systems and devices and start there.
To test your app and deployments across operating systems, try Bitbar. It works by testing your app on over a 1000 Android and iOS devices so you can make sure your app is poised to succeed.
Be open about problems
It’s understandable to not want to advertise when things do go wrong, but there’s a reason you should be clear about problems. If you aren’t able to communicate across developers and teams within your organization, you won’t be able to distribute changes effectively.
Be clear about what’s wrong, how users are impacted, and how soon the app will be fully functional again. This is not only helpful for developers, but it’s also an asset for customer service teams who are dealing with users in real-time. Being communicative with your users about what’s going on will help save your reputation when things do go south.
Invest in application logging
Logging is a key part of applications. The better designed your logging system, the easier it will be to track down errors in real-time and prevent them from happening in the first place. Whenever users execute the program at the front end, the system builds a vault of information (logs) about these interactions.
Having a more extensive log of your application will serve as a roadmap if things go wrong. What exactly should you log? Here are the most important things to consider:
- Application exceptions: While you probably won’t need to log all exceptions (like managed exceptions), deciding which exceptions need to be logged is a good first step to creating a clear path to any errors.
- Application events: This should focus on major components of an application like start, stop, and restart. It’s also worth logging security-related events that could show any cyber-attacks.
- Debug information: Debug logs can be added into your code to diagnose any problems that occur.
- User HTTP requests: It’s worth logging what is coming from the user to get the full parameter details.
Leveraging this information can help you create a more powerful app that’s able to handle a variety of environments and user information. Developers can choose session-specific data to include in these log messages, and this becomes critical in the event of an error or bug.
Monitor your app on an ongoing basis
One of the most important parts of managing your app is performance monitoring. Application Performance Monitoring helps you keep a competitive edge on the competition. Like logs, they keep track of vital information relevant to the performance of your app.
While logging will help you track an error if it does occur, monitoring prevents these errors from happening in the first place. Application monitoring includes information like the number of downloads, new users data, load times, and other performance metrics that indicate a successful app.
Monitoring your app will help you create a better customer experience on every level. It’s not enough for your app to be running. It needs to be running well, and that means keeping track of a lot of moving parts. If you monitor IIS performance and other metrics, you’ll be able to make smart decisions about your platform, and you can prevent problems before they happen. Remember, happy customers are paying customers.
Listen to user feedback
Your users are your biggest asset. They’re the ones interacting with your app at all levels, and their insight is worth its weight in gold. As we said before, just because your app is up and running doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to improve. Smaller bugs and errors can often go unnoticed, even by logs, especially if they aren’t a part of the apps biggest processes.
Encourage your users to report any glitches, no matter how minor. Pay attention to app store reviews, and take their concerns seriously. Though they might seem small, these insights are what can make the difference between your users using your app or your competitors.
Track Down App Errors
No developer can plan for everything. With such a fast-paced industry, new deployments are being pushed out faster than ever to keep up with demand. These improvements are good, but they bring their own challenges.
These tips above will help you not only prevent errors from happening in the first place but will also help you track them down when they do happen. As long as you’re proactive about combatting potential problems and staying open with your users, you have all the components of building a successful application.
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