I’m a software developer by trade. I’ve got a computer science degree. I build shit in my spare time, just for shits and giggles. Believe me, I know how annoying it can be when you’ve got a bug that’s screwing everything up and you’ve got to hunt it down. This goes double when it appears intermittently.
When the code base you’re dealing with is deployed at a large scale, the pressure is on to fix any problem that emerges in the shortest time possible. And there are no shortage of packages and products that promise to make this easier.
A new contender in the bug reporting and crash analytics space is Bugsee, which launched yesterday after a few months in stealth mode. In short, it acts a bit like the black-box flight recorder on a 747, but for your app.
It sits, constantly collecting data. It records every user action within the application, meaning that should it crash, the developers will be able to see the events that happened immediately beforehand.
I can’t understate how much data it collects: in addition to video footage from the user’s device, it also collects network traffic, and console logs.
The advantage of this is that it saves a shedload of developer time. Devs spend less time communicating with users and trying to recreate issues. All the data is right there in front of them.
You would be forgiven for thinking this is a huge privacy risk, however. Alex Fishman, CEO of Bugsee, was eager to downplay these worries: “In iOS, when you type information into a field that’s obscured by dots (like a password field), we cover this with a black rectangle and don’t record the keyboard.”
Fishman also said that it was possible to turn off monitoring in certain areas through the API.
Moreover, a Bugsee representative emailed me to say “Privacy and security is one of our key differentiators. Whether its’s an email password, a credit card number, or a photo taken by smartphone camera, the Bugsee system considers that information private and automatically removes it from the video for added security.”
You can try out Bugsee from today. For less popular apps, or those just wanting to experiment with the platform, there’s a free tier. This affords you ten test devices, and ten thousand ‘live devices’, which are end-users running your software in the real-world. But if you need more than that, expect to open your wallet.