back to article Hey app developers, here's a way to monitor your users for free!

Compuware's latest foray into mobility is a free bundle of cloudy code for dropping into mobile apps, which it will then monitor and measure for developers' (and Compuware's) benefit. Compuware's Application Performance Management (APM) lurks quietly in the corner of an app, reporting back every now and then but mostly watching …

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The thing is, remote monitoring like this can be handy as a developer. You can design the best testing procedures and systems on earth, but you can't entirely accurately simulate the impact of 100s of users.

As such, these systems can be a godsend for diagnosing the fault.

It's not quite the same, but I maintain a PHP based website at work that uses a java based webservice to do a lot of it's donkey work. It has a simple fault monitoring system that fires off emails including various bits of diagnostic information (things like user ID, parameters passed in and stack traces etc) if a variety of things occur, such as exceptions being thrown. The result of the system doing this is I can often have the problem at least diagnosed (if not fixed) by the time the user reports it. It's not a full fault reporting system as such (it does not store details of the faults, so the only why I can analyse them is by keeping the emails) but it does the job it was intended for..

I'd be a little wary of these services offering to store this kind of info for free.I've never really looked into how much the paid services charge, but given an app with a reasonably large user base, this app sounds like it could potentially generate a lot of data. Data that would need to be stored. Storage costs, so I'd be wondering where the company that so generously offers to store this data for free is deriving it's income.

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Black Helicopters

Annoying.

What annoys me most about this is that privacy intrusions are almost everywhere and it's difficult to evade them, but more importantly, your privacy can be attacked even from places you cannot possibly influence. Colleague that has your contact details on his/her cellphone downloads an application that collects all contact information (I think WhatsApp is doing this) and suddenly they have a lot of information about you. Some people save all kinds of information in their contact lists.

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Unhappy

More effing bloat and spyware

I'm beginning to wonder why anybody would install any apps at all on a phone.

It's surprising how much bandwidth these apps use in reporting back and I think it will be an issue unless you have a large or unlimited data capacity. The couple of apps that I have installed consume about 8% of my meager 500Mb monthly data limit. Thankfully I don't need to be update my farce-book status every 10 minutes and neither do I suffer from tweet-arrhea.

I am beginning to that the app I need most is a good firewall.

And finally, monsieur, a wafer-thin mint app.

Nah.

Oh, sir, it's only a tiny, little, thin one packet.

No. Fuck off. I'm my bandwidth is full.

It's only wafer thin a very small data packet.

etc. etc.

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Anonymous Coward

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

Farce-book! Like Facebook but you've changed part of the word to something that sounds similar! "Hilarious"

Hahahahahahahahahahaha.

Hahaha.

Ha.

Sorry, I just find that quite annoying, and usually a sign that the person writing it is really tedious. See also: Crapple, Micro$oft, Tony bLiar

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Thumb Down

Re: More effing bloat and spyware

The need to install "apps" to make the phone fully functional is another major stupidity of modern technology I can't stand. Such a waste.

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Silver badge

Re: More effing bloat and spyware

Agreed. Phone manufacturers should just pick exactly what functionality you need and lock you into that.

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So...

... these people will give you software that steals your customer's data, and they will then sell this data back to you.

It's not the price of the lunch, it's the price of the key to the toilet.

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Re: So...

Hi,

I'm actually from Compuware, and I thought it would be helpful to clarify a couple points from the article that are slightly misleading--

In fact, the amount of data collected in a cloud-based setting is relatively minimal, especially from a privacy sense. We don't collect any app-specific "data", but rather the timings between two instrumentation points in the code. So, for example, if you have [instrument point 1] -> [user does something] -> [instrument point 2], what is sent to the cloud is the amount of time that passed between point 1 and point 2.

For errors and crashes, what is sent to the cloud is the "stack trace" or the set of functions that were executing (down to the line of code in the app) that corresponded to that failure. It may tell you what the user was doing at the time, but it doesn't send out any other non-relevant data from the app.

Also, the error and crash results can include "lifecycle events" which trace the user's path through the application, in terms of going from screen A to screen B to screen C, so a developer can reproduce the error or crash. Again, no screenshots or user data is sent.

Finally, the question was asked about why this service would be offered for free, and what our revenue would be. We sell a premium edition of this capability that also includes the option of an on-premises version that sends nothing to the cloud. That has the capability to capture much more data and a deeper level of analytics.

I hope this helps clarify!

Thanks,

Ben Grubin

Director, Product Marketing

Compuware

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Silver badge

As LINC would have it,

"be vigilant"

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