Why do your iOS apps crash? After all that time you spent building them, running them through emulators and testing them with your blood, sweat and tears and boom, they hit the app store and users start complaining. A startup out of Boston has an innovative approach to figuring out why your apps crash and how you can isolate the problem.
Crashlytics is a cloud-based crash reporting solution that aims to boil crash reports down to the simplest common denominator. It works by writing a simple line of code that activates its lightweight SDK (about 75KB) that taps its cloud solutions to run crash reports through Amazon Web Services and return a simple report honing in on exactly the line of code that is making your app crash. It is one of the most simple yet powerful crash report systems for mobile developers available.
"Crashlytics can take 5000 crash logs and distill them to 23 issues and then just the ones that you actually want to fix," said Wayne Chang, co-founder of Crashlytics in an interview with ReadWriteMobile.
Crashlytics tries to give developers as much environmental information as possible about the state of the device the app crashed from. Was it running iOS5 or iOS 4.3? Was it in portrait or landscape mode? Crashlytics purpose is to get as much information as possible and relay it to the developer. The most impressive thing about Crashlytics is the granularity of its results. Chang said that you may get 23 issues in your report, but the platform will highlight the top two and within those two, find the specific line of code where things went awry.
Crashlytics simplifies the whole crash report timeline for developers. Right now crash logs are sent to Apple that will in turn send them to developers. This process can take up to two weeks. In app terms, that is a lifetime. When commenters are leaving negative reviews because of crashes in the App Store review section, a matter of hours can prove pivotal. The Crashlytics SDK will speed up that process and help developers fix their apps sooner than later. Like its SDK, Crashlytics also focuses on a clean and intuitive user interface to make the process as painless as possible.
Chang is an interesting character. He started writing code at age 7 and was part of the team at Napster before the whole Best Buy acquisition. This is his third startup and first in the mobile infrastructure space, where a couple of Boston startups are focusing (such as Kinvey). Crashlytics has $1 million in funding from Boston-based VCs Flybridge as well as San Francisco-based Baseline.
Right now, Crashlytics is only focusing on iOS. The team's idea is that it will do one platform really well and gain a base of users that trust the platform before moving on to the next. Chang said there should be an Android version within the next couple of months. That is a smart strategy because often an iOS developer will be the same as an Android developer.
You can sign up for Crashlytics beta here.
Is Crashlytics taking the right approach? Let us know what you think about this cloud-based service in the comments.