App error reports

Froyo (Android 2.2) introduced automatic error reporting. Whilst the idea is good, the implementation is truly awful.

Developers are not notified of each error report. It just appears in their dashboard with no discernible pattern that I can find. It appears to be grouped loosely by WHERE the error occurred in the app.  The helpful!!! message you include with your report is stored separately WTF.

Anyway the point of this post is to let you know that if you have a problem with the app. DO NOT rely on the error reporting to let me know. It is likely I will only find your report when bored and browsing.

Please report the error but follow it up with an email letting me know what you were doing at the time. An error without knowing the context of it appearing is pretty much useless. Simply saying “Crashed” is totally unhelpful. I know it crashed as I’m reading a crash report. I need to find out why the error occurred and that is only going to happen if you follow up with a message detailing what you were doing at the time.

Why am I telling you this? I just found 40 error reports in my Developer dashboard but nobody reported them to me so I didn’t know they existed. It took 5 minutes to fix the error that has been affecting a small number of users (without my knowledge) for weeks. Some of you even posted quite threatening messages with the reports but as the reports are totally anonymous, I can not get in touch to explain this.

A much more helpful system is to email me your log file after an error occurs(download CatLog from Android Market). That way I can see the error and ask for more information as required etc.

The moral of the story… If you expect an error to be fixed, report it and don’t rely on someone else to report it for you. You could be in for a long wait.

One Comment:

  1. I have just read the problems you have had with error reporting and feel sympathy for you.However the fact that people threaten but choose to remain anonymous tells you a lot about the people. Keep up the good work.

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