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WP App Lifecycle Series – Maintaining Your Apps: Dealing with Crashes

As much as we all try, some of our apps crash.  The more complex your app, the more libraries it includes, the more toolkits you utilize, the higher the risk of a crash when the user runs your apps.

We have all been guilty of it, I found out recently that I had an app that crashed all the time according to the users, but in my testing, I never did see a crash.  This actually speaks of a different problem, testing your own software.   If you can, get other people to test your software, preferably a mix of designers, software developers and most importantly, n00bs, neophytes and technophobes Winking smile.  The latter group will give you the best bang for your buck because they will do things to/with your software that you would never dream of and, guess what?  They are actually your audience!!!  You are building this software for them if you are trying to make money with it!

Now, back to the crashes…  Horrible things, but they need to be dealt with.  Bugs, we gotta squash ‘em.   Here’s how to get a pretty accurate account of what is happening to your poor users.

What to Do:

You should regularly check with your App Hub account to see what is going on.
(I am trying to write an app for us all to do, comment if you want this!).

To do this, go to your Dashboard for Windows Phone and look under the App Highlights.  Here you will find a report that shows you your Most downloaded and Recent crashes.

Under the list of Recent crashes, you will see a list of any of your apps that have had crashes reported by the users.  Click on the number of crashes listed beside.

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This will take you to a screen called crash count (beta) which will show you when the crashes are occurring and allows you to download a file that contains the stack traces of the errors!  A note: I usually select a start date way before I released the app to make sure that the report includes all the crashes!

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Once the file has downloaded, you can then examine it for a wealth of information on the details of the crashes that the users have experienced.  Everything from the Version of Windows Phone the user was using and the Problem Function:

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To the Exception Type and how often that type of crash has occurred:

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To the meat and potatoes of the Stack Trace (Format with Wrap for best readability Winking smile):

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So, there you have it, you can harvest enough information to make sure that, with some adjustments, you can improve your users’ experiences with your apps and also extend your knowledge of the Windows Phone development framework!!!

Posted in Game Development, Mango, Mobile Development, Windows Phone 7, WP App Lifecycle, XNA.


5 Responses

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  1. Paras Wadehra says

    I want the app to manage crashes.

    • Atley says

      Of course, and so we all should. This is to help us get the information for crashes that we didn’t catch or forsee. Some of these are caused by connectivity concerns, early termination of an app, device-specific issues, etc.

      In a larger, more complex problem, errors will get through from time to time. You should always write your code to handle errors as gracefully as possible. This is a tool that helps you to do that.

  2. Melanie says

    The blog is cool, thanks!

  3. James Buckle says

    When I originally commented I seem to have clicked the
    -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on each
    time a comment is added I get 4 emails with the same comment.

    There has to be a means you can remove me from that service?

    Thank you!

Continuing the Discussion

  1. WP App Lifecycle Series – Maintaining Your Apps: Dealing with Crashes linked to this post on February 6, 2012

    […] Read original post at Atley Hunter's Blog […]



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