Let’s start the year 2017 with some fresh and new mobile content. Today’s post is about the mobile bug matrix. Developing, testing and releasing mobile apps can be a challenging task. However, patching an app to fix bugs is not easy, too. How do you decide which bug is going to be fixed in an hotfix or not? Once a bug is online and installed on user’s mobile phones, there is a high likelihood that the bug will stay there for a longer time period, because not everyone is updating apps every day or has the auto update enabled.
There is no way in rolling back an app version once it has been uploaded. When I explain this problem to people who are not into mobile developing and testing I use the metaphor of a burned CD. Do you remember the good old times, when magazines added CDs with useful tools or CDs containing important drivers for your PC? Then you also remember how frustrating it was when the software on that CD had bugs or was completely broken. Once the CD is burned and delivered there is no way of rolling it back. The only way to solve the problem is to send a new CD ;). The same happens with native mobile apps. Once the app file was uploaded to an app store and users have installed the buggy version, you only have the chance to patch/ update this version with the next version.
Patching an app is time consuming, requires development and testing efforts and maybe even more alignments with other departments in the company. Furthermore, the planned development and testing in the current cycle will be slowed down or paused until the app is patched. And you should also keep in mind that some app stores have a review process in place, which may take some days until the patched app is available to the users.
One way to minimize the likelihood of doing a hotfix is an extended internal testing phase with your colleagues. Another way is to distribute the app to some beta testers to gain their feedback. But we all know that the real nasty bugs happen in the wild on the customer phones and companies need to handle them as soon as possible.