Bugsnag, an automated error monitoring platform, has announced a major new release designed to help developers more easily identify and resolve errors in their web and mobile applications.
The update, which the company calls "its biggest update since launch" includes a number of new features, including universal filtering, which allows developers to slice and dice their applications' error data. For example, using filters, developers can look for errors that occurred during specific time periods and which are associated with a variety of metadata, including versions, release stages, deployments and hosts.
Filters can also be applied to Bugsnag's new Timeline page, which gives developers the ability to interactively explore error data over time. As James Smith, Bugsnag's co-founder and CEO, explained, "From this view, you can deeply investigate spikes in error rates, understand the impact of recently deployed code, and visually compare trends in your error data over time."
Finally, the updated Bugsnag offers developers new workflow functionality designed to help them more efficiently address errors as they occur. An Error Status Menu keeps track of errors as they go from assessment to resolution, and developers have the option of suppressing error notifications based on custom criteria. For example, developers can require that a specific error event occur a certain number of times before another notification is generated.
When Things Go Wrong
To date, Bugsnag has processed over 10 billion errors and counts major tech companies like GitHub, Cisco, Square and Pandora as customers.
According to Smith, "When we first launched Bugsnag in 2013, one of our main priorities was to give developers the answers they need to understand where production errors have occurred and how to fix them. Since then, we've focused on making it easier to understand the contextual data that helps you debug errors more efficiently."
Smith says that the new features will "[provide] development teams with even better tools for analyzing their error data, understanding the root cause of errors, and learning how to ship better code."
Being able to reduce the impact of errors and handle errors efficiently is increasingly crucial for many companies, particularly SaaS and API providers whose customers are outsourcing core pieces of functionality and demand near-perfect uptime and availability.
The good news for companies is that we are arguably in the early stages of a golden age of software development. There are growing number of development tools for every part of the software development lifecycle. When employed properly, many of these can help developers produce better code. Additionally, more and more companies are adopting test-driven development practices, which help reduce the likelihood of significant bugs making it into production.
But no matter how good software development tools and techniques become, the reality is that no software is error-free. There are simply too many things that can go wrong, and, because so many service providers themselves rely on third-party services, such as cloud hosting providers, there are problem scenarios companies can't fully control.
As such, offerings from companies like Bugsnag, which can help companies proactively identify problems and better manage the "when things go wrong" aspect of software development, are likely to become an important part of many companies' software development toolkits.
For that reason, it's no surprise that there is a growing amount of competition in this space. Other players include New Relic, Sentry and Stackify, and one of the biggest companies in the market is Crashlytics, which Twitter acquired in 2013 for more than $100 million. It has become a default error monitoring choice for many developers, but it may increasingly have to fight to maintain its position as upstarts like Bugsnag seek to convince developers that their solutions are better.