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DevJuice: HockeyApp improves crash reports, beta testing


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You may be familiar with the well-respected TestFlight beta distribution service. Now, HockeyApp has arrived on the scene to give TestFlight a little competition. TUAW sat down with its developer to discover what the service might mean to you.

Like TestFlight, HockeyApp offers a core beta over-the-air distribution service. This includes managing testers, invitations, and beta recruitment. But the service goes beyond that. HockeyApp also adds advanced crash tracking to the mix.

As a developer, the first part of fixing any problem is discovering what that problem is. HockeyApp helps you collect, manage, and understand crash reports so you can better improve your apps.

HockeyApp includes an open-source framework that you embed into your applications. It allows your apps to collect crash reports -- both during the beta period and after App Store deployment.

HockeyApp automatically symbolicates the crash reports and it groups similar crashes together, giving you a higher level overview of problem areas within your apps.

Symbolication enables you to associate program symbols with crash reports collected by the HockeyApp framework and by App Store. Instead of the hexadecimal addresses normally supplied by the crash report, symbolication translates information from the app's .dSYM files to meaningful labels.

Integrating the framework allows you to know exactly in which classes and methods, and at which line number your apps crashed. The website provides a complete reporting solution. That's where you can view statistics and analyze your crashes.

Plans start at $25 a month, supporting up to 5 developers and 25 apps at a time. Premium plans grow from there for more heavy-duty development operations. If you're a small independent developer (up to 2 developers, up to 5 apps), you can take advantage of HockeyApp's limited time $10/month Indie Plan.

Remember this: iTunes Connect collects just a fraction of your app's crashes. HockeyApp's developer promises his service will help you localize where your crashes are happening, so you can improve your app's reliability. Better reliability means better App Store ratings, and better ratings mean better overall sales.

Want to learn more? Visit the HockeyApp feature overview page.

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