How to Manage Mobile App Development Complexity with Modern APM
January 28, 2020

Dave Hayes
Sentry

Share this

With a projected 7 billion mobile users by 2021, mobile is becoming the most dominant digital touchpoint for customer engagement. Annual mobile app downloads are projected to reach 258 billion by 2022 — a 45% increase from 2017. But downloads alone do not indicate mobile success — retention and engagement are key. While there are many factors that influence these metrics, application performance may be one of the most critical.

Application crashes can increase churn and damage brand reputation. In fact, app crashes cause more than 70% of uninstalls. Because Google ranking algorithms now downrank apps with stability problems, uptime and performance can even influence download metrics. It is imperative that organizations are delivering high-performing mobile applications and that the developers supporting those applications have the ability to identify and remediate errors efficiently.

But due to the growing complexity of the application ecosystem, this can be easier said than done. Developers are often limited by a lack of visibility and control over mobile devices. They have no way of knowing every device’s attributes or predicting which other apps and system processes may be competing for compute power. Mobile app developers are no strangers to segmentation faults and bus errors. And programming for such a diverse array of devices creates its own set of challenges. Flaws in native code, third-party dependencies or, in rare cases, even in the system libraries, can bring down the entire application.

Developers today are under pressure to deliver code faster than ever before. Even when rigorous testing processes are in place, the increasing complexity of application development will inevitably cause errors. Monitoring is an important component of application delivery, but the changing ecosystem calls for the reinvention of application performance monitoring that incorporates rich context and actionable insights.

Rethinking Application Performance Monitoring

While companies with faulty code are dealing with the fallout, those that rely on modern application performance monitoring (APM) are shipping better code more quickly and with less risk. Legacy monitoring tools focus more on system behavior, offering performance metrics on availability, throughput, and latency, but miss the mark when it comes to actionable insight that helps mobile developers make sense of complexity and quickly get to the root cause of errors.

On mobile — as with all native applications — it is important to have context beyond a crash. Developers need rich details supporting the error, such as the types of phones impacted, the number of users impacted, the specific actions a user took when the error was thrown, or even the storage capacity and battery life of the user's phone at the time the app crashed. These details are especially important for mobile developers because of the vast array of devices and native libraries used in programming. Having this information enables them to immediately triage and prioritize problems.

When developers can also identify the exact release and commit the error is tied to, they can quickly remediate the issue to minimize the breadth of impact. Developers can also move this feedback into the development cycle. By capturing every single exception and crash users encounter, meaningful trends will surface to help prioritize issues and avoid replication in future software release.

It is also important to consider that modern applications are not self-contained — they have multiple runtimes across the stack, causing added complexity in monitoring. Support for mobile, coupled with similar support for web, gives developers a complete picture, which is key in today’s application-centric landscape.

Innovation in the mobile space shows no signs of slowing, so developers must take proactive steps to address the factors that derail mobile app development and wreak havoc on user experience. By taking a modern approach to APM, incorporating rich context and actionable insights, and syncing this information across all of their applications, developers can code better and faster, ensuring their companies remain successful and competitive in the mobile world.

Dave Hayes is Head of Product at Sentry
Share this

The Latest

September 30, 2022

For businesses with vast and distributed computing infrastructures, one of the main objectives of IT and network operations is to locate the cause of a service condition that is having an impact. The more human resources are put into the task of gathering, processing, and finally visual monitoring the massive volumes of event and log data that serve as the main source of symptomatic indications for emerging crises, the closer the service is to the company's source of revenue ...

September 29, 2022

Our digital economy is intolerant of downtime. But consumers haven't just come to expect always-on digital apps and services. They also expect continuous innovation, new functionality and lightening fast response times. Organizations have taken note, investing heavily in teams and tools that supposedly increase uptime and free resources for innovation. But leaders have not realized this "throw money at the problem" approach to monitoring is burning through resources without much improvement in availability outcomes ...

September 28, 2022

Although 83% of businesses are concerned about a recession in 2023, B2B tech marketers can look forward to growth — 51% of organizations plan to increase IT budgets in 2023 vs. a narrow 6% that plan to reduce their spend, according to the 2023 State of IT report from Spiceworks Ziff Davis ...

September 27, 2022

Users have high expectations around applications — quick loading times, look and feel visually advanced, with feature-rich content, video streaming, and multimedia capabilities — all of these devour network bandwidth. With millions of users accessing applications and mobile apps from multiple devices, most companies today generate seemingly unmanageable volumes of data and traffic on their networks ...

September 26, 2022

In Italy, it is customary to treat wine as part of the meal ... Too often, testing is treated with the same reverence as the post-meal task of loading the dishwasher, when it should be treated like an elegant wine pairing ...

September 23, 2022

In order to properly sort through all monitoring noise and identify true problems, their causes, and to prioritize them for response by the IT team, they have created and built a revolutionary new system using a meta-cognitive model ...

September 22, 2022

As we shift further into a digital-first world, where having a reliable online experience becomes more essential, Site Reliability Engineers remain in-demand among organizations of all sizes ... This diverse set of skills and values can be difficult to interview for. In this blog, we'll get you started with some example questions and processes to find your ideal SRE ...

September 21, 2022

US government agencies are bringing more of their employees back into the office and implementing hybrid work schedules, but federal workers are worried that their agencies' IT architectures aren't built to handle the "new normal." They fear that the reactive, manual methods used by the current systems in dealing with user, IT architecture and application problems will degrade the user experience and negatively affect productivity. In fact, according to a recent survey, many federal employees are concerned that they won't work as effectively back in the office as they did at home ...

September 20, 2022

Users today expect a seamless, uninterrupted experience when interacting with their web and mobile apps. Their expectations have continued to grow in tandem with their appetite for new features and consistent updates. Mobile apps have responded by increasing their release cadence by up to 40%, releasing a new full version of their app every 4-5 days, as determined in this year's SmartBear State of Software Quality | Application Stability Index report ...

September 19, 2022

In this second part of the blog series, we look at how adopting AIOps capabilities can drive business value for an organization ...