News: Windows 8 Gets App Quality Reports, Which Helps Developers Improve Their Apps: Part 1

Apps Quality Report.png

The Windows Store offers developers Quality Reports, which Microsoft has detailed in its latest Building Windows 8 blog.

Quality Reports show developers how their app is performing, and why, so Microsoft thought it would be a good idea to talk about them

Microsoft’s Building Windows 8 blog is rolling out content daily, explaining individual features of the new operating system. Yesterday it was the Photos app, which is self explanatory, and today it’s Quality Reports for developers putting apps into the Windows Store.

Quality reports are accessed through the app’s app summary page, and then clicking the Quality Link takes developers to the Quality Report page.

Quality reports are great for developers looking what to patch: they show the crash rates and failure rates. A failure is one of: a crash, an app that hangs and an unhandled Javascript exception. The latter is only applicable to apps using Javascript, naturally. Microsoft says the reports allow the quality of your app across multiple versions that have been released. That’s especially useful if a patch or feature intended to improve the experience doesn’t, and developers want to know why.

Plenty Of Information For Developers

It also means the top failures/crashes are shown, so fixes can be prioritized. We’re not developers so we don’t know what the back-end of iOS looks like, but the features seem very useful for developing using Windows 8 at retail for the first time. Undoubtedly there will be something that works in the Release Preview, that does work on the Release Candidate.

Data for failure rates is collected from a quality panel, defined by at least 500 machines. Apps and quality reports with less than 500 machines won’t show results, but will still be tracked. Failures are tracked over 15 minutes periods, as Microsoft says over time the failures become more consistent, especially for Metro apps.

The top five most common crashes are also shown, which again helps for delivering a patch targeting the most common issues. Next to each crash is the number of times it’s happened, the average per computer during initial use, and the ability to download the .cab file. The combination of reports mean issues can be fixed quickly, before feedback becomes damaging to the point where the app is actively avoided.

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Jonathan is a writer on the technology and video game industries. He is comfortable with using Mac OS X and Windows; he began using Windows with Windows XP during his early double-digit years, and started using OS X in 2009 on a MacBook Pro. He began gaming on the SNES back in the 90s.

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