Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Crash Reporter Roundup

Daniel Jalkut:

I recently decided to bite this bullet, and I discovered that while there is some really useful open source code out there to help achieve this goal, the pluses and minuses of each package is not well documented. I hope this roundup of several options helps direct your search for the most appropriate solution in your product.

I’ve been using my own crash reporter, which installs signal handlers for immediate reporting, reads the OS-generated crash report file, presents a dialog to the user, and submits it via HTTP POST to my server, which turns it into an e-mail. One of the challenges is that some people repeatedly report the same crash, which has an easy fix, but I can’t help them because they don’t fill in their e-mail address (and the crash reporter wasn’t able to auto fill in one from Address Book). Newer versions of my applications warn if the address is left blank, which seems to help.

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Sounds great. Any chance of open sourcing it?

Perhaps. Honestly, I don’t think there’s anything in it that’s surprising. And at the same time, it depends on other framework code that I don’t want to open source.

Michael, what do you think of the idea of that the crash reporter's POST method yields a response that may be a simple acknowledgement of receipt, but could also be used to convey information to the user?

I'm thinking of building something like this in precisely so, if there's something really obvious about a crash log that keeps coming in, I can wire up the "crashreport" CGI to spit back a bit of advice to be displayed to the user.

Daniel: That sounds like a fine idea.

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