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January 2017 - Posts

  • DevExpress Logify: a New Exception Reporting Tool

    We at DevExpress write controls, components and frameworks. Before we make them available to our customer base, they are integrated into our internal applications for that extra battle-hardened test: can we ourselves use these libraries and tools? Obviously, part of that process is catching exceptions that may be raised and logging them for further reporting and analysis.

    To make this easier, we wrote our own logging tool, codenamed Logify.

    Logify: intro

    The tool has become so invaluable for our internal testing, that we now have packaged it as a new product. Currently DevExpress Logify is in beta: although it works for us, we need a lot more data and feedback from our customers using it in their applications.

    In essence, DevExpress Logify allows you, the developer, to catch all unprocessed exceptions in your applications, log them, and then process and report on them through a web interface. Let us explore the features of the product.

    What can DevExpress Logify do for you?

    We developed DevExpress Logify to simplify and expedite the collection and processing of application crashes. DevExpress Logify does this by:

    • Allowing you to customize notification types and times so you receive alerts where and when you want them.
    • Providing notifications to give you comprehensive and actionable information to help you fix crashes efficiently. You’ll always know when and why a crash happened.
    • Enabling you to maintain stable, robust, high quality apps through constant monitoring and crash reporting. You will no longer need to rely on inaccurate user reports or complaints.

    Why DevExpress Logify?

    There are several exception logging libraries and crash reporting tools available, some open source. Why do we think that DevExpress Logify is superior? There are six main advantages:

    Easy to begin using it

    DevExpress Logify doesn’t require any complex installation or registration. We provide you with an API key for your application and several lines to add to your application’s code. Recompile, and that’s it! Your application is ready to report all unexpected crashes to DevExpress Logify.

    Comprehensive reporting

    Along with a simple preview, DevExpress Logify provides you with an itemized, comprehensive report view that contains detailed information about the crash: exceptions and their call stacks, operating system details, application metrics, and many other actionable insights.

    Logify: Comprehensive Reporting

    Ability to focus on the real issues

    DevExpress Logify allows you to set up special rules to automatically reject or ignore unusable reports and instead concentrate on the real critical issues in your application.

    Using custom data

    The default logs collected by DevExpress Logify contain a number of predefined application metrics. However, you can also attach custom data to these logs, and then view this data within the generated reports in the DevExpress Logify web interface. In addition, the custom data can be used for filtering and detecting duplicate reports.

    Easy to use reporting UI

    Without a doubt, making it simple to provide actionable reports is part and parcel of an exception logging tool. DevExpress Logify makes the reporting process easy.

    1. Smart report preview.

    Typically, finding the reason for a crash doesn’t require that much information. For example, developers can, in general, determine the cause of an application crash by exploring the call stack only. DevExpress Logify initially provides a brief report preview that allows you to not only view the call stack, but also providing the most useful actions as simple buttons.

    Logify: Smart report preview

    2. Automatic translation of localized reports.

    If your application is used worldwide, under many locales, you can still get reports in English. DevExpress Logify automatically translates all reports with non-English locales. Hence, you can process your reports either in (translated) English or in the original language used by the report.

    3. Status highlighting.

    DevExpress Logify provides you with various report statuses that assist you in processing crash reports more efficiently.

    Logify: Status Highlighting

    4. Report sorting.

    You can use the DevExpress Logify built-in sorting to customize your reports. You can sort by report date, an application name, an application version, and so on.

     

    Logify: Report sorting

     

    5. Searching.

    DevExpress Logify has a powerful search function, allowing you to easily find almost anything anywhere within your crash reports.

    Logify: Searching

     

    6. Powerful report customization.

    You can easily customize your application reports’ appearance. Logify Alert allows you set up such parameters as:
    - Detecting “My Code” boundaries: used to divide lines in the call stack from your application and lines in the call stack from third-party libraries.
    - Call stack lines collapsing. You can use this feature to hide/show required call stack blocks within the report preview and within the detailed view.

     

    Logify: Powerful report customization

    7. Smart reports grouping.

    As a rule, users using your application on different devices could cause the same error. As a result, your application will send several unique reports to DevExpress Logify. In this case, our service will group all these reports into one, so that you will only receive that one grouped report for that issue instead of several. This allows you to focus on the issue and not have to identify and ignore repeated reports.

    Open-source Clients

    All DevExpress Logify clients are open source and stored in GitHub repositories. You can explore and analyze this client code to ensure that DevExpress Logify does not collect any personal or private information. Please note that at this time, Logify is for .NET, JavaScript and node.js applications only. In particular, it does not support VCL applications.

    DevExpress Logify Beta

    As stated earlier, DevExpress Logify is about to be released into beta. For that to happen we need to invite developers to join the beta, to incorporate the DevExpress Logify clients into their applications and deploy. Our service – which, it must be emphasized, will be a paid service when launched – will collect your application crash logs, and provide you with the reporting web interface to allow you to analyze and understand your application issues. There are various aspects of DevExpress Logify that we wish to further test in this beta, namely a broader set of applications than we’ve used so far, how people use the reporting UI, an understanding of possible ways of charging for the service, etc.

    The beta is an EXCLUSIVE beta. Participation is by INVITATION only. To join we will need to understand the basics of your application, what devices and run-times it runs on, the competency of your user base, and so on. Essentially, we want a set of developers who will use this crash reporting tool in their applications, and who will act upon the information it provides.

    If wish to be considered for the DevExpress Logify beta, please contact us by email (support@devexpress.com), with a subject line of “Logify Beta”, and we’ll follow up with a short questionnaire.

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