We’re excited to announce the Hoptoad iOS Notifier. If you’re an iOS developer, this means that with a single new library you can instantly track crashes and uncaught exceptions from your users' devices in a central location. This works with the same Hoptoad web interface as always. The notifier library is built by the talented programmers at GUI Cocoa and Two Guys, and just like the Ruby gem, it’s open source.
With the iOS Notifier:
- Get your reports much faster, much more often than the standard Apple Bug Reporter.
- Get crash reports from Ad Hoc or beta builds (the Apple Bug Reporter can only be used for App Store apps).
- Always provide the option for users to send or not send reports on a case by case basis.
- Receive detailed and custom information about the environment.
- We show the best guess for the view controller.
Already have a Hoptoad account? Create a new project on your account, and then select the iOS tab on your new project to find installation instructions.
Don’t have Hoptoad, but want to try it out? Sign up for an account, drop a library in your iOS app, and start tracking errors right away. Take five minutes and check it out - it’s pretty cool.
The Big Picture
Since we started Hoptoad over 3 years ago, we’ve always known that error tracking was useful beyond our wheelhouse of Ruby on Rails applications. It would be valuable for other web application frameworks, for mobile apps, and for desktop apps. We found that building a robust XML API led to a rich set of community-supported plugins, including some wild ideas we never would have conceived!
These are great, and grew Hoptoad incalculably. The thing is, we want the customer experience to be as fantastic as possible. That’s why we only officially support plugins we actually use; dogfooding helps us understand and prioritize features in a way that developers who aren’t their own customer could never do. It’s also why the developers do customer support every business day. Heck, I just looked at the support schedule and if you open a ticket today, you’ll get our CEO on the other end.
With all this in mind, we explored different ideas for delivering a better Hoptoad experience for non-Ruby platforms.
We considered branching out and writing, adopting, and/or maintaining non-Ruby notifiers ourselves, but knew we’d never fit in the customer’s shoes so well or build a library so idiomatic that the platform developers would find it a joy to use and extend. This would also ignore the community-supported plugin authors hard work.
A set of community written plugins is a good start, and we have two goals to improve things for the plugins' users and authors. First, we want to encourage that the plugins get regular updates as needed and that their users have access to quality support via the authors. Second, we want to compensate open source notifier authors for their work and reward them for growing Hoptoad. Our way forward of choice, then, was a partnership structure where we choose one or more partners per platform, and share revenue with them in exchange for their continued maintenance and active support for the notifier.
We chose iOS as the platform to investigate first. Matthias Schmidt wrote an initial spike of an iOS notifier during his internship here to validate the idea. Yet, we are not iOS developers. We wouldn’t be able to dogfood this, write the most idiomatic library, or dedicate resources to continually update and give excelling support. We looked at other iOS exception management libraries, and got in touch with the people behind a few.
We got in touch with CrashBucket, which looked like a solid offering. It’s by Caleb Davenport of GUI Cocoa, and Marshall Huss and David Browning of Two Guys. We previously knew Marshall from Ruby conferences as both chief poker vanquisher at RailsConf Vegas and head of whiskey purchasing at Max’s at RailsConf Baltimore, and decided to try things out. We proposed that they modify the existing CrashBucket notification library to build the Hoptoad iOS Notifier a little over a month ago, and they’ve worked tirelessly and been amazingly responsive during the development work and beta. Thanks, guys!
Going forward, CrashBucket will remain open to serve its customers for 6 months, encouraging current customers to migrate over to the Hoptoad iOS Notifier.
Future Notifier Partnerships
We hope that this is the first of many partner notifiers. Going forward, we want to bring Hoptoad to other platforms where ever we can make sure the user experience is first-class and the notifier is idiomatic and well-constructed. If you have thoughts about this, please leave a comment or get in touch on the Hoptoad support site. Your feedback is key to making Hoptoad the best developer exception management product for you!
So, add the iOS Notifier in your app for free in just minutes and let us know what you think!
You can read about this announcement on the Two Guys blog and the GUI Cocoa blog. Caleb also produced a screencast that shows how to install the notifier.