Crash Reporter for Android application developers

Programs crashing post release is not uncommon. Such situations are also not easy to handle as they might be occuring under certain conditions which might not easy to replicate. Crash dumps come in handy to solve such field issues.

Wikipedia defines crash reporter as “an application whose function is to report crash data to a third party, usually to the party responsible for the crashed program. Crash reports often include data such as stack traces, type of crash, and version of software. This information helps software developers to diagnose and fix the underlying problem causing the crash.”

Imagine a Logistics Company who has deployed their newly developed “Proof of Delivery” (POD) application. The application was “sufficiently” tested in-house where it went through multiple validation cycles. It was then commissioned for use on hundreds on Android based devices going into the hands of the mobile workers.

Crashed Android application

Crashed Android application

Everything was working fine until one day a report came in coming in from the field stating that the POD application was crashing intermitently. There was apparently no way to reproduce the behavior consistently. The issue was escalated to the development team which got ready to look into the “bug”. But there was problem. This particular phone was hundreds of miles away and there was no way the dev team could figure out what was happenning to the application. If only they could get hold of the stack trace when the application crashes. That was not possible as the end-user was a NOT programmer or a techie who could pull the crash report from the phone and send it to the development team.

Thats when the development team got an idea. They remembered when the devices were rolled-out, the IT department had installed a Remote Mobile Device Management solution to keep an eye on the devices in the field. This MDM system was actively being used to gather various device health information, to push new software updates, to secure and to track the phones.

IT manager knew about a feature in the MDM solution that could monitor any application on the device and could report issues incase the application failed. MDM was asked to monitor the POD application. The user was then asked to launch it.

Crash Report in SureMDM

Crash Report in SureMDM

A few hours later the application crashed, but this time MDM caught the crash, collect the crash report with stack trace. This crash report was provided to the development team. And voila! the problem was fixed in no time by the smart developers. New version of the POD application was re-deployed on the phones remotely using the MDM solution.

Conclusion

Crash Reporting is an important feature which ensures any serious issues with the application don’t go un-reported. Sometimes such crash reports are the only way to diagnose and fix the problems.

Wondering which MDM solution supports Crash Reporting for Android devices. Thats SureMDM from 42Gears Mobility Systems. Now you can not only control and manage the mobile devices, but also the mobile applications when they run into problems.

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