Buglife wants to put the power of reporting mobile software bugs in the hands of users – TechCrunch
Every day we come across bugs in mobile apps. They may crash or work in unexpected ways, but how about if you could report the bug to the developers as it happened with all the background information they need to fix the problem ? That’s what Buglife a member of the Winter 2018 Y Combinator class is trying to do.
Founders Dan DeCovnick and Dave Schukin came up with an early iteration of the idea in 2011 when they were both working at Amazon developing a music player for the iPhone. During beta testing of the software, they found that people were having issues such as music not playing in certain situations and emailing them. But they lacked context about what was happening on the phone when the issue arose.
They needed to know more to fix the problem, such as phone type, OS version, and underlying log data. They built some basic tools at Amazon to help capture that data, but the same problem surfaced in later jobs at Yammer and Twitter, and he said he kept seeing the same reporting hole.
They started Buglife in 2016 to produce their idea for a bug reporting tool. They joined Y Combinator last month. The way the service works is that developers embed the Buglife SDK into their iOS or Android app. When a user encounters a bug, they can simply shake the phone, or developers can choose another way to enter the Buglife workflow. Then they can take a screenshot, draw an arrow to the bug, and enter a note about it. Buglife captures all related information such as capture logs, network information and routes it to Jira or Slack to provide developers with rich bug reports in the reporting tools they are used to.
Shukin says they originally saw the tool as a way to report bugs when they were testing the app internally before release, but found that by releasing it to the world, the developers were using their tool on live apps in the app stores too.
He says the big difference between his company’s product and those like Crashlytics or Bugsnag (a company we recently covered) is that they’re more of an attempt to automate the quality assurance process. Schukin said Buglife is more about user feedback/crowdsourcing hard-to-automate bug types.
If you’re worried about the privacy implications of taking a screenshot and sending it to developers, Shukin says they’ve set it up, so sensitive data like phone numbers and credit card numbers will be blurred when screenshotting.
The company reports good early traction with some 300 apps integrating its bug reporting SDK. They charge per app per month with a free pricing tier for indie and open source developers. They have an enterprise pricing tier to help businesses with more complex integrations.
The two founders are the only employees at the moment and they felt joining Y Combinator was a no-brainer. As an engineering couple, they can get advice on the intricacies of running a business. “To start, [it’s helpful] just being in contact with many founders and getting advice from them and hearing about their experiences building similar businesses,” Shukin said.
“I have lots of friends to ask about coding, but no one to ask about how to negotiate a contract or manage hiring. Access to these resources has been tremendous,” he said.
As for the future, the company wants to be the solution for developers to collect bug information from mobile apps around the world. “We want to be the central point where teams can easily collect all possible data and context where the user became frustrated or had issues and intelligently provide all that data to developers without having to go through steps with customer support. .”