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Posted April 6, 2022

Error Reporting: Improving Outcomes with Proactive Identification

Errors happen. Despite best efforts, no piece of software is perfect. Unintentional issues with code, updates to existing frameworks, or unexpected interactions with other tools can all cause errors. As a result, it's critical for companies to deploy robust and reliable error reporting processes that help them proactively identify potential issues and improve operational outcomes. In this error reporting overview, we'll break down how error reports work, what advantages they offer, and how this process works in Backtrace.


What Is Error Reporting?

Error reporting is the process of identifying, monitoring, and reporting errors in software solutions, mobile applications, or web services to help companies streamline both development and deployment. While the top-level function of error reporting is to pinpoint key issues, the ultimate goal is to discover the underlying cause of errors, in turn making it possible for IT teams to permanently correct the issue for all users.

Although error reporting has always been a key component of software development, the uptake of more flexible processes such as continuous development (CD) and continuous integration (CI), along with the rise of DevOps teams to help streamline these operations at scale, has increased the need for error reporting tools that can keep pace with enterprise application growth.

In addition, the increasing expectation of employees and end-users for cloud and mobile-native apps that support always-on connections and real-time interaction means that companies can't afford to wait when it comes to eliminating errors. The sheer scope and size of application environments create a situation where even small issues can rapidly become big problems.

Benefits of Effective Error Reporting

Some of the top benefits of error reporting include:

  • Reducing customer churn: If customers encounter application-breaking crashes or issues that prevent them from quickly completing key functions, they'll churn to other options. Pinpointing problems ASAP helps companies reduce the risk of customer churn.

  • Capturing critical events: Comprehensive error reporting helps your team separate one-off events from more widespread and problematic issues. Complete capture of these issues allows teams to fully investigate them and find a fix.

  • Creating reliable analysis: Analysis of error reporting data makes it possible to discover trends that are impacting your operations over time. Regular and reliable analysis, meanwhile, empowers teams to understand how errors are impacting your network at scale.

  • Increasing development speed: The rise of DevOps teams speaks to the need for speed. Employees and end-users want access to new applications and updates as quickly as possible, and teams want built-in processes that empower this effort without compromising security. Continuous error reporting gives DevOps teams the data they need to make adjustments as software is being developed, rather than after the fact.

  • Identifying root causes: The biggest benefit of error reporting? Identifying root causes. While solving for symptoms can temporarily pause problems, it won't address underlying issues, in turn creating circular concerns. Root cause identification gives teams the tools they need to solve problems permanently.

Types of Error Reporting and Monitoring

There are two basic types of error reporting and monitoring: front end and back end. Let's break down each in more detail.

Front-end monitoring focuses on the perspective of the user. As a result, front-end monitoring tools are typically designed to mimic common user behaviors such as accessing and interacting with web or mobile applications and then providing feedback about what worked, what didn't, and what needs improvement. 

Back-end monitoring, meanwhile, is all about infrastructure. This includes monitoring for issues such as excessive resource use, data storage problems, hardware failures, or security vulnerabilities. 

Error Reporting with Backtrace

Backtrace is an error reporting platform that empowers companies to capture, prioritize, and resolve key issues ASAP. It's designed to automate the process of cross-platform crash and exception management so teams can focus on creating the best code and the best apps as quickly as possible. Paired with the Sauce Labs Continuous Testing Cloud, it's possible for organizations to quickly scale up their testing and error monitoring frameworks to address problems of any scope or size.

Key Features

To help give enterprises an unfair advantage in error monitoring, Backtrace includes key features such as:

  • Cross-platform capture: No matter where your applications are designed and run, Backtrace has you covered. Supported platforms for error data capture include C/C++, Electron, C#, Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android, UE4, Unity, Xbox, Minidump, Coredump, Visual Studio, and more. Put simply? Backtrace covers your stack.

  • Query and search: Backtrace lets teams search across a wide range of attributes and issue types to prioritize error responses.

  • Customizable attributes: Customize your prioritization processes based on the number of hosts or clients impacted, specific runtime data, or create your own attributes to resolve key issues.

  • Debug on the web: With Backtrace, you get the benefit of debugging on the web, letting you identify and resolve issues faster than ever.

  • Workflow integration: Backtrace works with your existing supply chain management, alerting, ticket tracking, and messaging systems to help deliver seamless error management.

  • Flexible deployment: Host Backtrace where it makes sense for you—on-premises or in multi-tenant or dedicated instances.

  • Retention management: Both metadata and error dump files can be managed on their own schedules, in turn making long-term trend analysis possible.

  • Data scrubbing: To help ensure compliance, Backtrace provides data scrubbing of personally identifiable information to remove sensitive information from dump files across execution paths, memory, environmental variables, and register values.

Critical Processes

For Backtrace to deliver unparalleled error reporting performance, three processes are critical:

  • Agility: Using a cross-platform call stack and event aggregation monitoring, Backtrace lets you process errors from anywhere in your system at any time to deliver unparalleled agility.

  • Automation: Automated analysis of error data means you'll spend less time tracking down important signals, in turn improving your time to resolution objectives.

  • Analysis: Get the answer to questions that matter with a rich query and analysis engine that provides high-level views of error frequency, prioritization, and trends across your entire stack.

Solving for Problems at Scale

Ready to take your error reporting and monitoring to the next level? Start with Backtrace, then scale and sauce it up with the Sauce Labs Continuous Testing Cloud. For more information, let's talk.

Apr 6, 2022
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