Apphance – Improved Bug Reporting in iOS

Last month, we introduced a brand new UI for Apphance, our mobile quality tool that makes it easy for mobile app developers to understand how their apps are working across a wide range of mobile devices, carriers and locations. After making so many improvements to the UI, we’re ready to turn our attention to the other half of the Apphance software stack – the SDKs. Today we’re launching a new and improved version of the iOS SDK, version 1.8.8, that adds several features and enhancements our users have been asking for. Let’s take a look at a few of the big ones:

Two-Finger Swipe Bug Reporting

One of Apphance’s coolest features is in-app bug reporting. You simply shake the device and Apphance responds by taking a screenshot and allowing the user to write a complete bug report right on the device itself. Our customers love this feature because it allows them to see bugs in the same context as they were discovered, along with important details and information about the device and app state.

While most users prefer to trigger bug reports by shaking the device, some of our customers have asked us for an alternative. Many of them use the accelerometer for other purposes, or they’re developing fitness apps where the device is always in motion. With this new update, we’re introducing an alternative (and optional) bug reporting approach that relies on swiping your fingers upwards from the lower corners of the screen.

Instructions for changing the bug reporting mechanism are available in the Apphance help topics. By default, Apphance will still trigger bug reports using the accelerometer, but switching to the two-finger swipe method can be accomplished by adding just two lines of code.

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Essential Guide to Mobile App Testing

Apphance – Improved, Instant Symbolication

Last summer, we announced Apphance – our new mobile quality tool. One of Apphance’s biggest features is crash reporting, which gives developers unparalleled information about app crashes that happen in-the-wild.

But for iOS developers, interpreting crash reports can sometimes be difficult. Before submitting an app to the App Store, developers must remove the symbols from their builds. While this makes their build files smaller (and easier to distribute), it also makes it impossible to read the stack traces when the app crashes. To overcome this limitation, iOS developers must add the symbols back to their stack traces after the fact. This process is called symbolication, and it’s necessary for properly interpreting any crash reports from an iOS production application.

In the past, symbolicating a crash report was time consuming, sometimes taking almost an hour to complete. Today, we’re introducing a new and improved approach to symbolication in Apphance that makes the process nearly instantaneous. When Apphance receives crashes, they are symbolicated almost immediately and made available in the Apphance panel. That means that you’re seeing crash reports when they happen, and not after a significant delay.

This new symbolication process is straightforward and simply requires pre-processing your build using a special script, which can be downloaded from the Apphance help topics. Simply download the script, pre-process the iOS app archive for your build, and upload the outputted symbols file to Apphance. From that point forward, any new crashes from that build will be symbolicated automatically.

If you’re uploading builds to the App Store, then you should definitely use Apphance for crash reporting. And now with instant symbolication, you can have complete symbolication of your crashes nearly instantly. Get started by checking out the symbolication article in the Apphance help topics.

Wrap-Up

Symbolication is one of many great features we have coming soon. Have a great idea for our future product releases? Drop us a line and tell us what you think.

Essential Guide to Mobile App Testing

iOS v. Android: [Surprising] Crash Data by Version

We all know that developers love iOS but it’s interesting to read that, based on a study from earlier this year, iOS crashes MORE than Android per app launch.  Of course, iOS 5.0.1 accounts for 28%+ of the total crashes, which certainly skews the numbers.

A few important excerpts to note:

…Many people apparently take their time updating their iPhone software or never update it at all.

…People often don’t update their apps–just as they don’t update their operating system. (Android, unlike iOS, allows users to auto-update their apps, which can eliminate some of the problems.)

The very top Android apps are achieving a crash rate that, at least in this time period, the best iOS apps can’t match.

Interestingly, when we crawled 250,000 apps across iOS and Android we found that the average app store rating for Android and iPhone was 3.58 and 3.56, respectively – nearly identical.  The larger gap is that Android users complained more about performance and crashing than iPhone users.  Then, in March, we tested the SXSW App across iOS, Android, Windows and RIM and we found that iPhone & iPad had the highest overall scores and the best Application & Performance data.

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Essential Guide to Mobile App Testing

Testing the #SXSW Mobile Apps (iOS vs. Android vs. Windows Phone vs. RIM)

For the second year in a row, uTest will be making an appearance at SXSW, the world-famous music/film/interactive conference in Austin, Texas. Unlike last year – where we spent most of our time eating, drinking and schmoozing with storm troopers – we have  some new, big plans in store.

The obvious difference is that we’ll be cruising around Austin in the RVIP Lounge, hitting up hotspots, giving rides, singing karaoke (poorly) and playing host to SXSW attendees throughout the week. More to come on that, but you can follow @InTheWildTest for deets on our adventures, and real-time locations if you’re at SXSW..

The other difference is that, instead of just talking about the merits of in-the-wild testing, we decided to show a real-world demonstration. So, over the last 36 hours, we assembled a select group of US-based testers to put the official SXSW mobile apps through their paces. In-the-wild testing means live testers, real devices, imperfect connectivity… basically, true real-world conditions. So we went to work testing SXSW’s official apps for iOS, Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry. For iOS and Android, we also included tablet testing, to bring the comparison total to six.

Below are some top-level results (note that each category ranged from 1-5):

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% of Total Bugs 17.7% 18.3% 18% 6.6% 23% 16.4%
Overall Score 4.1 4.0 4.6 4.7 3.8 4.2
Usability & Design 4.2 4.1 4.6 4.8 4.1 4.2
Features & Functionality 4.1 4.1 4.7 4.7 3.2 3.9
Application & Performance 3.3 3.2 3.9 4.0 3.5 3.7

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Of course, these figures only tell part of the story. As the apps were tested in terms of functionality, performance, design, connectivity and other factors, several issues popped up on more than one occasion. Here were a few areas where some notable bugs were uncovered:

  • Incorrect time displays
  • Sync issues with registration and deleted items
  • Crashes on various tablet OS versions
  • Issues with installation
  • Social media integration
  • Issues with rating and uploading photos

It should be noted that despite these issues, the overall reaction from our community was positive for each of these applications. In fact, the overall ratings you see above are substantially higher than the industry norms, so kudos to the respective dev teams.

Anyway, if you’re at SXSW and want to learn more about In-The-Wild Testing, be sure to stop by the RVIP Lounge. If you’re not able to attend, then head on over to inthewildtesting.com.

Essential Guide to Mobile App Testing

[Infographic] The State of Mobile App Quality: Android vs. iOS

It’s the industry’s premiere event, attended by some of the biggest names and brightest stars in the world…and it’s not the Academy Awards. I’m talking of course about Mobile World Congress, which kicks off today in Barcelona, Spain. While mobile enthusiasts convene to see what’s new and what’s next, we here at uTest decided to take at look at the current state of mobile app quality, which brings us to the following infographic. Below is an in-depth a look at the state of user satisfaction in the top two mobile ecosystems: iOS and Android.

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Essential Guide to Mobile App Testing