G1 failing miserably..

by Al Sutton » Sun, 12 Apr 2009 14:23:41 GMT


Sponsored Links
  http://stuffthathappens.com/blog/2009/04/11/android-hall-of-shame/ 

Not a happy user, any ideas on what would cause this and how to fix it?

Al.

---

* Written an Android App? - List it at  http://andappstore.com/  *

======
Funky Android Limited is registered in England & Wales with the 
company number  6741909. The registered head office is Kemp House, 
152-160 City Road, London,  EC1V 2NX, UK. 

The views expressed in this email are those of the author and not 
necessarily those of Funky Android Limited, it's associates, or it's 
subsidiaries. 



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G1 failing miserably..

by admin.androidsl...@googlemail.com » Sun, 12 Apr 2009 16:24:48 GMT


 The second one is a Application Not Responding (ANR) dialog which is
not a crash, just means the app is taking a while to catch up. If the
user clicked ait it probably would have worked.

But the wording of this dialog creates a user perception that the app
has crashed when it is just slow, so should probably be changed.

iPhone apps crash too - but its probably inexcusable for the camera
app to crash like that!





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Sponsored Links


G1 failing miserably..

by Pd » Sun, 12 Apr 2009 16:43:05 GMT


 Al,

My curiosity got the better of me so I've just downloaded the Weather 
Channel app to see if I could re-create the problem Eric saw.  Sadly I 
did. 

With the weather channel app I saw the force close dialog when the app 
was accessing the Internet for a weather update.  I think the problem 
may be that the Activity is waiting for data from the call for new 
weather data.  I guess the way around it would be to put all networking 
calls in a service and poll for data when required by the UI Activity.  
This way the UI doesn't have to hang around for a reply and the service 
can update the UI when data is ready.  Sort of fire and forget.  For 
user friendliness I would put a "Loading data, please wait!" type 
message in the tab which gets replaced with data when retrieved by the 
service.

Then again I could be miles off the mark  ;-)

Pd.





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G1 failing miserably..

by Mariano Kamp » Sun, 12 Apr 2009 18:37:56 GMT


 This guy is a developer, and an Android developer on top of that, himself.
So he is not trying to understand what the dialogs mean. He knows.
So he seems to be publicly shaming apps for not being up to the expected
standards (long running operations on the UI thread, forced closes) and by
association, the platform.






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G1 failing miserably..

by Al Sutton » Sun, 12 Apr 2009 19:34:41 GMT


 y concern is that the the Camera is a "built-in" app, Weather channel app
is *the* number #1 app in terms of popularity in Market, and snake is the
number #5 game by popularity, and all three throw up errors like this which
will make the *average user* feel that Android is flaky by association.

I am a developer, I can understand how things like this can happen, but this
is not a developer-only product we're talking about. This is something that
is aiming to be as popular as possible and used by everyone from kids to
pensioners.

So maybe the discussion should be; What do we do? Do we name and shame apps
to try and get them improved? Do we look at improving the OS to deal with
situations like this in a better manner that doesn't require users to be
shown error messages they may not understand?, or do we carry on with the
current system where we expect users to educate themselves to deal with
problems like this?

To me the last one isn't part of the path to success.

Al.

---

* Written an Android App? - List it at http://andappstore.com/ *

======
Funky Android Limited is registered in England & Wales with the
company number 6741909. The registered head office is Kemp House,
152-160 City Road, London, EC1V 2NX, UK.

The views expressed in this email are those of the author and not
necessarily those of Funky Android Limited, it's associates, or it's
subsidiaries.





_____

From: android-discuss@googlegroups.com
[mailto:android-disc...@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Mariano Kamp
Sent: 12 April 2009 11:38
To: android-discuss@googlegroups.com
Subject: [android-discuss] Re: G1 failing miserably..


This guy is a developer, and an Android developer on top of that, himself.
So he is not trying to understand what the dialogs mean. He knows.

So he seems to be publicly shaming apps for not being up to the expected
standards (long running operations on the UI thread, forced closes) - and by
association, the platform.

On Sun, Apr 12, 2009 at 10:42 AM, Pd <lotusscr...@gmail.com> wrote:



Al,

My curiosity got the better of me so I've just downloaded the Weather
Channel app to see if I could re-create the problem Eric saw. Sadly I
did.

With the weather channel app I saw the force close dialog when the app
was accessing the Internet for a weather update. I think the problem
may be that the Activity is waiting for data from the call for new
weather data. I guess the way around it would be to put all networking
calls in a service and poll for data when required by the UI Activity.
This way the UI doesn't have to hang around for a reply and the service
can update the UI when data is ready. Sort of fire and forget. For
user friendliness I would put a "Loading data, please wait!" type
message in the tab which gets replaced with data when retrieved by the
service.

Then again I could be miles off the mark ;-)

Pd.



Al Sutton wrote:









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G1 failing miserably..

by Mariano Kamp » Sun, 12 Apr 2009 19:50:01 GMT


  think you can only write better apps and hope that they overtake the bad
apps. That's how the rating system is supposed to work, no?Maybe at some
point in time the Android Market will take the more recent history of
comments/ratings into account with a higher rating and will help to dethrone
the (buggy) incumbents.

Yeah, this is dreamy, but everything else will fail anyway.

On Sun, Apr 12, 2009 at 1:34 PM, Al Sutton <a...@funkyandroid.com> wrote:


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G1 failing miserably..

by Al Sutton » Sun, 12 Apr 2009 20:28:16 GMT


 he problem is that it's a naieve system that only works when all developers 
are considered equal.

Once you get into dealing with brand names the system falls apart and it also
isn't helped by the fact that as Market lists apps ranked by popularity by
default thus helping popular apps stay popular and other less popular apps have
a small window in which they're shown to the user.

To try and alieviate this AndAppStore switched to a popularity chart which
covers the last 7 days only, at least that way apps have to maintain popularity
as opposed to just clocking up the numbers.

Al.


----- Original Message -----
From: Mariano Kamp
To: android-discuss@googlegroups.com
Sent: Sunday, April 12, 2009 12:49 PM
Subject: [android-discuss] Re: G1 failing miserably..


I think you can only write better apps and hope that they overtake the bad
apps. That's how the rating system is supposed to work, no?
Maybe at some point in time the Android Market will take the more recent
history of comments/ratings into account with a higher rating and will help to
dethrone the (buggy) incumbents.


Yeah, this is dreamy, but everything else will fail anyway.


On Sun, Apr 12, 2009 at 1:34 PM, Al Sutton <a...@funkyandroid.com> wrote:

My concern is that the the Camera is a "built-in" app, Weather channel app
is *the* number #1 app in terms of popularity in Market, and snake is the
number #5 game by popularity, and all three throw up errors like this which
will make the *average user* feel that Android is flaky by association.

I am a developer, I can understand how things like this can happen, but
this is not a developer-only product we're talking about. This is something
that is aiming to be as popular as possible and used by everyone from kids to
pensioners.

So maybe the discussion should be; What do we do? Do we name and shame apps
to try and get them improved? Do we look at improving the OS to deal with
situations like this in a better manner that doesn't require users to be shown
error messages they may not understand?, or do we carry on with the current
system where we expect users to educate themselves to deal with problems like
this?

To me the last one isn't part of the path to success.

Al.
---

* Written an Android App? - List it at http://andappstore.com/ *

======
Funky Android Limited is registered in England & Wales with the
company number 6741909. The registered head office is Kemp House,
152-160 City Road, London, EC1V 2NX, UK.

The views expressed in this email are those of the author and not
necessarily those of Funky Android Limited, it's associates, or it's
subsidiaries.







----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From: android-discuss@googlegroups.com
[mailto:android-disc...@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Mariano Kamp
Sent: 12 April 2009 11:38
To: android-discuss@googlegroups.com
Subject: [android-discuss] Re: G1 failing miserably..


This guy is a developer, and an Android developer on top of that, himself.
So he is not trying to understand what the dialogs mean. He knows.


So he seems to be publicly shaming apps for not being up to the expected
standards (long running operations on the UI thread, forced closes) and by
association, the platform.


On Sun, Apr



G1 failing miserably..

by Mark Murphy » Sun, 12 Apr 2009 20:41:47 GMT


 


That assumes the average user is seeing these errors. I feel like a
broken record, but one or two data points, out of a set of a
million-plus devices, does not make a pattern. They aren't a good sign,
but they aren't evidence of Armageddon, either.

Ideally, apps should never fail. By the same token, ideally, I should
have hair.


One entertaining-yet-probably-controversial way to do this would be to
bake into Android a top-level exception handler that, in addition to
providing better error messages, attempts to push the identity of the
app and the exception stack trace to a Web service. Said Web service,
perhaps running on App Engine, would make the information available to
the application author...and anyone else.

Average users would not find the information meaningful. Those
interested in a name-and-shame approach, though, could create their own
site to roll up the data to more average-user-friendly details.

This won't work for all situations (e.g., crash while in airplane mode),
but it might work for enough.


The "deal with situations like this in a better manner" side is beyond
my pay grade.

Better error messages might be useful. Even if the automatic
post-the-exception stuff I list above is deemed too intrusive, it would
be helpful if Android had a send-the-crash-info button to do it more
manually. Developers can put that in their own apps, but if you want it
across the board, it's better to have it in the OS, IMHO.


Indubitably.

Here are some other not-mutually-exclusive options:

-- Better educate developers on proper patterns for this sort of thing

-- Better frameworks to help lead developers in the right direction for
this sort of thing

-- If people have figure out a way to get at the error log from
application code on the device (and I forget if someone has a trick for
that), it should be possible to create an AlarmManager-triggered app
that scans for errors and publishes them to a Web service without having
to modify the OS or instrument every app. We'd need to encourage users
to install it, and power users might, giving us access to some level of
crash details.

-- 
Mark Murphy (a Commons Guy)
 http://commonsware.com  |  http://twitter.com/commonsguy 

Android App Developer Books:  http://commonsware.com/books.html 

--~--~---------~--~----~------------~-------~--~----~



G1 failing miserably..

by Mariano Kamp » Sun, 12 Apr 2009 22:16:34 GMT


 ark,
a common crash reporter and publicly available data sound really great, and
to be honest, that sounds like a typical platform feature. Also better
education would be awesome, but that might come from the community.
I have a little problem with collecting log data. At least a common twitter
client was (is?) logging passwords in clear text in the log. This kind of
carefreeness might lead to insecurities.

On Sun, Apr 12, 2009 at 2:41 PM, Mark Murphy <mmur...@commonsware.com>wrote:


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G1 failing miserably..

by Mariano Kamp » Sun, 12 Apr 2009 23:04:04 GMT


 h, one more thing I'd like to share.
I use an automatic bug reporter that is installed when the app starts and it
populates an error email with the stacktrace and some app specific
information when an exception is not handled.

This is great to reproduce bugs and to see how often they occur. That was
what I expected though, what I didn't expect is that it is a great way to
learn to know your users.
I have to say that nothing boils my blood so quickly as some comments I see
in the Android Market and those guys start from a neutral position.
When submitting a bug report this is not the case, the app already
inconvenienced the user. But still I never had even a single mail with
swearing or unsubstantiated claims. Quite the opposite, at least every third
bug report contains encouragements and quite a lot feature requests or
insights about my users.


On Sun, Apr 12, 2009 at 4:04 PM, Mariano Kamp <mariano.k...@gmail.com>wrote:


--~--~---------~--~----~------------~-------~--~----~



G1 failing miserably..

by Al Sutton » Sun, 12 Apr 2009 23:05:02 GMT


 sing a lifetime downloads count as a major part of a popularity ranking
means that apps that get wide press coverage at launch have a good chance of
getting into and then staying in the "popular apps" list in the Market
client even if those users who download it on launch day lose interest in it
due to it having annoying bugs.

Using a 7 day average means that unless developers are able to maintain
interest in their app beyond the initial PR push the app will only have a
short lifetime in the "popular apps" list at AndAppStore.

Al.

---

* Written an Android App? - List it at http://andappstore.com/ *

======
Funky Android Limited is registered in England & Wales with the
company number 6741909. The registered head office is Kemp House,
152-160 City Road, London, EC1V 2NX, UK.

The views expressed in this email are those of the author and not
necessarily those of Funky Android Limited, it's associates, or it's
subsidiaries.





_____

From: android-discuss@googlegroups.com
[mailto:android-disc...@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Mariano Kamp
Sent: 12 April 2009 15:05
To: android-discuss@googlegroups.com
Subject: [android-discuss] Re: G1 failing miserably..


Al,

covers the last 7 days only, at least that way apps have to maintain
popularity as opposed to just clocking up the numbers.<<


And what a difference this makes. I know that AndAppStore and the Android
Market are apples and oranges, but still, my app is in the top 20 on your
page and is about the 192.000th(*) in the Android Market.

(*) I don't know how to acquire a hard number for the Android Market.


On Sun, Apr 12, 2009 at 2:28 PM, Al Sutton <a...@funkyandroid.com> wrote:


The problem is that it's a naieve system that only works when all developers
are considered equal.

Once you get into dealing with brand names the system falls apart and it
also isn't helped by the fact that as Market lists apps ranked by popularity
by default thus helping popular apps stay popular and other less popular
apps have a small window in which they're shown to the user.

To try and alieviate this AndAppStore switched to a popularity chart which
covers the last 7 days only, at least that way apps have to maintain
popularity as opposed to just clocking up the numbers.


Al.



----- Original Message -----
From: Mariano Kamp <mailto:mariano.k...@gmail.com>
To: android-discuss@googlegroups.com
Sent: Sunday, April 12, 2009 12:49 PM
Subject: [android-discuss] Re: G1 failing miserably..

I think you can only write better apps and hope that they overtake the bad
apps. That's how the rating system is supposed to work, no?
Maybe at some point in time the Android Market will take the more recent
history of comments/ratings into account with a higher rating and will help
to dethrone the (buggy) incumbents.


Yeah, this is dreamy, but everything else will fail anyway.

On Sun, Apr 12, 2009 at 1:34 PM, Al Sutton <a...@funkyandroid.com> wrote:


My concern is that the the Camera is a "built-in" app, Weather channel app
is *the* number #1 app in terms of popularity in Market, and snake is the
number #5 game by popularity, and all three throw up errors like this which
will make the *average user* feel that Android is flaky by association.

I am a developer, I can understand how things like this can happen, but this
is not a developer-only p



G1 failing miserably..

by JP » Sun, 12 Apr 2009 23:08:06 GMT


 


Devels have got to understand how the underpinnings work and how to
create efficient apps that use the thread model proper, set timeouts
etc. etc. That object instantiation and garbage collection are so darn
expensive operations adds considerably to the challenge.

Within the constraints of the mobile world, it easily takes 90% effort
to get this right while on the surface the app even doesn't look all
that different. This is not a learner's environment, and in my view
the clips on the official developer site that advertise how easy it is
to create Android apps don't help.

Reflect that against the reality that there is siltch nada no money to
be made and here we are.

--~--~---------~--~----~------------~-------~--~----~



G1 failing miserably..

by Al Sutton » Sun, 12 Apr 2009 23:37:50 GMT


 ark,

Apps are predictable state machines, your hair is an unpredictable chaos
engine :).

The error is easily reproducible and so should be easily tracked, yet the
developer of the most popular android app is showing that you don't need
ship quality products in order to get the top spot, which is a dangerous
precedent to set.

Al.

P.S. Interesting ideas, lets keep them coming so we can see if there is
something we get implemented.

---

* Written an Android App? - List it at http://andappstore.com/ *

======
Funky Android Limited is registered in England & Wales with the
company number 6741909. The registered head office is Kemp House,
152-160 City Road, London, EC1V 2NX, UK.

The views expressed in this email are those of the author and not
necessarily those of Funky Android Limited, it's associates, or it's
subsidiaries.


-----Original Message-----
From: android-discuss@googlegroups.com
[mailto:android-disc...@googlegroups.com] On Behalf Of Mark Murphy
Sent: 12 April 2009 13:42
To: android-discuss@googlegroups.com
Subject: [android-discuss] Re: G1 failing miserably..


Al Sutton wrote:

That assumes the average user is seeing these errors. I feel like a broken
record, but one or two data points, out of a set of a million-plus devices,
does not make a pattern. They aren't a good sign, but they aren't evidence
of Armageddon, either.

Ideally, apps should never fail. By the same token, ideally, I should have
hair.


One entertaining-yet-probably-controversial way to do this would be to bake
into Android a top-level exception handler that, in addition to providing
better error messages, attempts to push the identity of the app and the
exception stack trace to a Web service. Said Web service, perhaps running on
App Engine, would make the information available to the application
author...and anyone else.

Average users would not find the information meaningful. Those interested in
a name-and-shame approach, though, could create their own site to roll up
the data to more average-user-friendly details.

This won't work for all situations (e.g., crash while in airplane mode), but
it might work for enough.


The "deal with situations like this in a better manner" side is beyond my
pay grade.

Better error messages might be useful. Even if the automatic
post-the-exception stuff I list above is deemed too intrusive, it would be
helpful if Android had a send-the-crash-info button to do it more manually.
Developers can put that in their own apps, but if you want it across the
board, it's better to have it in the OS, IMHO.


Indubitably.

Here are some other not-mutually-exclusive options:

-- Better educate developers on proper patterns for this sort of thing

-- Better frameworks to help lead developers in the right direction for this
sort of thing

-- If people have figure out a way to get at the error log from application
code on the device (and I forget if someone has a trick for that), it should
be possible to create an AlarmManager-triggered app that scans for errors
and publishes them to a Web service without having to modify the OS or
instrument every app. We'd need to encourage users to install it, and power
users might, giving us access to some level of crash details.

--
Mark Murphy (a Commons Guy)
http://commonsware.com | http://twitter.com/commonsguy

Android App Developer Books: http://commonsware.com/books.html





G1 failing miserably..

by Mariano Kamp » Sun, 12 Apr 2009 23:39:01 GMT


 l,

covers the last 7 days only, at least that way apps have to maintain
popularity as opposed to just clocking up the numbers.<<

And what a difference this makes. I know that AndAppStore and the Android
Market are apples and oranges, but still, my app is in the top 20 on your
page and is about the 192.000th(*) in the Android Market.

(*) I don't know how to acquire a hard number for the Android Market.

On Sun, Apr 12, 2009 at 2:28 PM, Al Sutton <a...@funkyandroid.com> wrote:


--~--~---------~--~----~------------~-------~--~----~



G1 failing miserably..

by Andreas Kostyrka » Mon, 13 Apr 2009 00:19:13 GMT


 m Sun, 12 Apr 2009 16:13:56 +0200
schrieb Mariano Kamp <mariano.k...@gmail.com>:

There is a big misconception.

Comments are comments. Not bug reports. That's what the "Email the
developer" button is for.

Most users do not get that.

And yes, I usually try to be friendly, include all informations that
seem relevant, and in some cases I was able to pinpoint the bug, but
then I guess this would be to much to expect from an average user.

And yes, writing an Android app is clearly way harder than "trivial".

OTOH, before we start whining how badly Android sucks (and there are
problems from the community interaction to API problems, hardware
issues, and so on), Google Android managed something that is really
hard: An essentially working multitasking OS for mobiles. And that's an
achievement, just compare:

iPhone: no multitasking, strictly limited push functionality => there
are many apps that are not doable with an iPhone, or only by using a
server. E.g. chat apps work badly if at all, and even with the newest
stuff (not sure if they managed to release Push, officially it should
have been released more than half an year ago) only by implementing the
chat client in effect on the server and putting only a UI client on the
phone.

Symbian S60: supports basically multitasking. Only issue, that in many
routine situations I found myself with up to one minute delays where
the phone "worked" without even drawing anything on screen. Comparing to
my G1 where the phone slows down with a dozen of activities at the same
time, the multitasking on a S60 device (or a S80 device although these
are not produced anymore) is crude and works really bad. And if the
memory runs out, which does happen rather often, it soft resets the
phone.

Basically, while we may complain about many things, but the
possibilities on Android are a magnitude bigger than say on the iPhone,
while at the same time it's reasonable easy to program and works rather
well. They are harder to program correctly (probably, never done
iPhone development, my last forays have been when MacOS X was still
called NextStep) than say iPhone apps, because you have to deal with
the multitasking bit.

Andreas


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