Android – Bugsense Library for Handling Errors

Background
Shortly after posting Android applications in the Android Market, Play Store, I noticed that due to the diversity (fragmentation?) of hardware and software combinations there were many errors users were experiencing that I wasn’t able to duplicate. In addition, I also quickly noticed that when logs were submitted to the Google Play store and appeared in my developer account, they didn’t always contain helpful details.

Bugsense Experience Highlights
To easily and quickly remedy this issue, I started using Bugsense around November 2011. In order to add Bugsense to the application, the developer literally only has to add one .jar file and one line of code. The free account has been sufficient as historically I’ve had under 500 bugs a month but many application downloads in a month. I have never had any issues with downtime. Emails are sent as soon as the application force closes, have accidentally tested this during development one too many times. The ability to track bugs all in one simple to use dashboard interface has greatly eased the overall application maintenance task.

Upgrading to Paid account
Reason why I’m over the 500 bug reports a month limit and needing to purchase the $20 a month plan is recently, somebody posted an older version of my paid Build Prop Editor application on a Russian forum for free. Now, the one bug in the app is reported 800-900 times a month and since they’re using a “pirated” version, they aren’t receiving updates. This one bug puts me over the Bugsense quota limit for the free account. If I want to stay current on legitmate bugs during the second half of the month, I need to upgrade my account.

Alternatives
The alternatives are to use the open source library ACRA that sends the bugs to a Google document or Crittercism that limits usage based on the number of devices loading the app. The Google document is much more difficult to manage than the Bugsense Dashboard. For Crittercism, since I have popular apps, I am over the Crittercism free limit, even though the bug count would be low.

Conclusion
The Pros far outweigh the Cons. By using Bugsense, I’m able to spend my time developing and fixing bugs in my applications, rather than developing a proper system to collect and organize the bugs. Thanks Bugsense!

Below is my personal list containing the Pros and Cons to Bugsense.
Pros:
**Reliable (I haven’t experienced downtime in the last year)
**Fast (Bug reports are emailed almost instantly)
**Quality customer service (Over quota and emailed sales. The CEO answered and has been very friendly and helpful)
**Easy integration (Add one .jar and one line of code)
**Also supports other systems, such as iOS, HTML5, etc.

Cons:
**Previously when product first launch, bug quota was unlimited but now free account is limited to 500 bugs per month (No such thing as a free lunch…)
**No plan pricing less than $20 a month
**No way to stop old bugs from consuming the free account monthly quota
**No way to stop Bugsense library introduced bugs from consuming the free account monthly quota

Links:
Bugsense
Bugsense – Pricing
Bugsense – Android Instructions

Update
An Android library Bugsense developer reached out to me regarding this blog post and requested a list of the Bugsense library bugs being reported in my project. I sent over 6-7 of the most recent and last week sent over another 4-5 new bugs. Hope they are getting patched!

Disclaimer: I’ve received 50% off for a one year subscription by writing this blog post. I was granted complete control over the content I’ve posted.

Additional potential alternatives: Airbreak, Hockey App, Apphance, TestFlight, Usermetrix, Crashlytics, and Crittercism

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