Mobile devices sale outpaced desktop computers back in 2010 and there are more mobile devices now in the world than personal computers and laptops. Android and iOS are two most popular platforms which have almost the entire mobile market with billions of devices out there. Of course this tremendous number of devices has opened new ways for app developers to expand their horizon but interestingly, the process of app development has become even more challenging now.
It is impossible to launch a mobile app without putting it through extensive testing process. Developing bug-free apps has become a challenge because of many reasons.
- First of all, mobile operating systems like iOS and Android are now more complex than ever that means the developer needs broad knowledge of the platform to fully utilize its potential.
- Similarly, apps are getting more and more complex too which translates to buggy apps and more difficult testing process.
- As a huge number of people are using the same app on a huge number of different devices, it is near impossible for even enterprises to test the app on every model in the market. In other words, people would be using your app on a device that you probably haven’t heard of, haven’t tested your app on it and you don’t know whether it would work perfectly or not.
- According to statistical analysis of some apps, the first few feedbacks on relevant app stores define the future of that app. In other words, the time you take to make your app bug-free could be costly. Physical testing is not an option anymore because of the number of different devices in the market.
Now, physical testing is out of the equation so let’s see what different ways to improve the quality of your app. Some apps rely on customer feedback but this is not an effective strategy as every user does not give feedback and your app could behave differently on two exact same devices because of other factors that you couldn’t possibly know about without having physical access to both devices.
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Some apps report crashes and this is a great feature that works in a limited sense. As mentioned above, mobile apps are now more complex than ever and sometimes they don’t crash entirely but instead behave abnormally. Crash reporting tools fail here because they do not provide detailed logs of all the events. Let’s talk about some of the most popular mobile app Q/A tools and their features.
Crashlytics Log is one of the most popular and widely used crash reporting tools that is available for Android and iOS devices. Crashlytics is mainly known for its two characteristics and features; first it is available for free and second it has real-time crash reporting system that allows developers to fix issues immediately because of the fast reporting. Crashlytics does not have usage cost, account registration fee, limitations or restrictions.
However, Crashlytics is not the most suitable choice for developers who want detailed information about every event and trigger that causes a problem but not a crash. Crashlytics has some other features like deep analysis, advanced reporting which highlights the troublemaking sections of the codes, notifications and tracking, defensive reporting, smart charts, issue aggregation and others. It is compatible with all Android devices and iOS devices running 2.1 and 4.0 or later respectively.
Apteligent / Crittercism
Crittercism has rebranded itself to Apteligent and has introduced some new features. Apteligent is quite similar to Crashlytics in many ways as both of these services are crash reporting services. However, it is a premium service that also offers free plan that comes with basic features only. Some of its features are crash reporting and diagnostics, crash trends, crash geo-location, API access, notifications and alerts,24/7 customer support and powerful integration.
Most of these features are only available for “jumpstart” and enterprise packages. The jumpstart package is available for $150 per month while the price of enterprise package depends on the features and scalability you want. The basic free plan comes with release console, performance summary, crash reporting and diagnostics and API access. You can try Apteligent for free for 30-days and after that your account will enroll to the basic plan.
Bugfender is a revolutionary platform that is specifically designed to help developers build better apps by debugging their apps as soon as the problem arise. It does not rely on traditional methods of crash reporting but instead shows real-time events and logs to the developer remotely. Developers can enable and disable log reporting on any device. Bugfender works where crash reporting tools and services fail. Its SDK even works offline and sends logs to the server when the device goes online.
Bugfender offers free plan that developers can use indefinitely. It offers four plans; startup, professional, enterprise and custom which are available for $29, $99, $349 and tailor made price per month respectively. Although the service has doubled its logging limits but there are still some limitations and restrictions associated with the free plan. Bugfender excels where apps do not entirely crash but instead behave abnormally or force device to behave that way. Traditional crash reporting tools do not report such behavior.
User Voice is also a mobile Q/A tool and service which relies on customer support and feedback. User Voice is mainly known for its Instant Answers, Canned Reponses and Image Uploads. The Instant Answer feature is designed to answer up to 40% of the queries without user submitting the ticket. It automatically saves frequently asked questions and their answers so agents can reply instantly with prewritten response.
User Voice offers three packages; standard, enhanced and professional which are available for $20, $55 and $95 per month per agent respectively. Enhanced and professional packages have some premium features like support queues, custom look and feel, custom terms of service and identity management. User Voice has some limitations for API calls, widget impressions and portal page views which are 50,000, 5,000,000 and 100,000 per month respectively.
FreshDesk is quite similar to User Voice however FreshDesk offers more plans and has easy to understand platform. Some of the main features offered by FreshDesk are email support, phone support, social support, community forums, game mechanics, knowledge base, live chat support, multiple products, multiple locations, enterprise reports, portal customization, customizable agent roles, customized email servers and IP white listing.
It offers five different packages which are sprout, blossom, garden, estate and forest. The sprout package is available for free and supports up to 3 agents. Other packages are available for $19, $29, $49 and $79 per agent per month respectively. Another great thing about FreshDesk is its 24/7 help and support that is available with all above mentioned plans.
Each of the tool mentioned above has unique advantages. Crashlytics is good for crash reporting while User Voice and FreshDesk are good for customer feedback but none of these tools except Bugfender provides detailed logs for non-crashing bugs and its ability to monitor all processes managed by the app.
And the best thing is that you can use Bugfender with all the other tools together, so you get the best of each tool to make your app more awesome!