John R.webp

How to crash your app in production and still delight your users

Vincent Lussenburg & Daniel Graham

Technical Product Manager & Senior Software Engineer

Backtrace & Sauce Labs

It’s 2022. The pressure to deliver features in your Android apps and games faster than your competitor is huge. Luckily you’ve invested in an automated pipeline to roll changes to production, both your microservices and your apps! You have automated tests, feature flags and controlled rollout groups. Instead of doing heavy weight manual testing up front, you rely on the safety net these rollout groups provide. You rest on your laurels knowing this is vastly faster, cheaper, better than doing it the old fashioned way. All is well, right? Wrong!

Although you limit their blast radius, you still have errors, crashes and ANRs and these are still affecting real users - the very ones you are trying to delight! It might make sense to risk churning a user from an opportunity cost perspective - but it’s far from ideal.

In this session, we’ll take you through how you can make sure you reap the benefits from pushing changes to production often while minimizing the risk of annoying your loyal customers. We’ll explore the Backtrace SDK that you can use in your Android games and apps that allow you to detect, deduplicate and resolve NDK crashes, ANRs, and errors from your apps written in C, C++, Kotlin, Java, and other languages.

With these strategies in place, we'll see that having errors and crashes can be used to actually better brand loyalty - sure, a problem is annoying, but nothing builds trust like seeing your problem is detected, communicated about and fixed swiftly!

Vincent is a Technical Product Manager for the Backtrace product of Sauce Labs. He's an enthusiastic public speaker with a background in software engineering, scrum, Kubernetes security and DevOps in two countries (The Netherlands, United States). Working for Backtrace I/O allows Vincent's inner gaming nerd to flourish, although these days he doesn't spend three nights a week raiding (WoW) or throwing his keyboard around in frustration (any FPS) anymore and tries to balance all things gaming with the great outdoors. Vincent calls Colorado home and is into (trail) running, hiking, skiing and camping.

Daniel is growth hacker at Sauce Labs. Formerly full-time contributor to the Appium open source project.