Why apps crash, and what is the reason behind it? Is it because of lacking from the developer’s end or the user’s end? What is the impact on business and developers? There are various reasons because of which your app can crash. Sometimes developers make mistakes, and sometimes it is the fault of the software.
No matter whose fault it is, the developers or the business suffers when an app crashes. No one likes to open an app only to find that it is not working. Users expect apps to load within four seconds. The majority of users uninstall an app as soon as it crashes, has errors, or freezes. All hell will break loose if your e-commerce app crashes. It is the platform where users come to buy your products. Here are ten reasons that can cause an app to crash.
Highlights of Contents
10 Mistakes to Avoid From Getting Your App Crash
1. Excluding Intents
Intents are one of the key components in app development. It helps in passing data between parts of an app and between different apps on the system.
Suppose you have a gallery app with the ability to share a download link to images through SMS. When you do not use intent, you have to write your code for sending the SMS. In this method, you have to explain to your users why your app needs permission to work.
On the other hand, you can use an SMS Intent. In this method, the app designed for SMS does all the work automatically. You can apply this method for various functions. You can also use it for opening links, adding events, picking contacts, recording video, taking pictures, sharing content, etc.
If you provide android development services, you should keep these things in mind. Make a custom implementation for specific tasks, such as applying filters in the camera. For common scenarios, always use Intents. It will reduce by omitting unnecessary permissions and save a lot of programming time.
2. Excluding Fragments
Fragments are sort of like separate building blocks. They have their complex life cycles existing within an Activity. They come in handy when you have to optimize apps for use on different screen sizes. The parent activity of fragments can easily manage them, reuse them, and position them at will. They are needed to keep all elements loaded, and they prevent over-usage of memory.
It is highly inefficient to launch a different activity for each app. It is because the system tries to keep it in the memory. So, even if you kill one activity, it will not free the resources used by others. If you do not want to go deep into the core of the operating system, use fragments.
3. Blocking the Main Thread
The main thread keeps the user interface responsive. It is responsible for controlling the speed of the app and making it work smoothly. The science behind measuring the frame rate and how our brains and eyes perceive it is complex and is affected by many factors. Following a general rule will simplify things for you. It will not look smooth if the frames per second (fps) are under 24 with a delay greater than 100 ms.
It means that the actions of users will give delayed feedback, and the app will stop responding. Users will leave negative feedback because it is frustrating for users to lose control of an app.
When the main thread is blocked, you will see an error displaying ‘App Not responding (ANR). The error will show if you block the main thread for five seconds for activities and ten seconds for broadcast receivers. Use background or worker threads for SD reading/writing, database querying, image processing, bitmap loading, and network calls to avoid blocking the main thread.
4. Writing New Code for Everything
Do not go overboard and start writing your code for everything that comes your way. Do not write your code to communicate with the server in the background thread. The most common things that you do in an app include but are not limited to social login, JSON parsing, database access, image loading, and network calls. These are the most common functions in every app in the market.
There is a much better way to do these without writing a code. Operating systems have grown and matured as a platform over the years. If you want to implement something, chances are someone has already implemented and tested it. It may even be in use by a large number of apps out there. Do secondary research and read programming tutorials before you begin writing a code yourself.
Do not try to reinvent something with a new solution. Previous developers might have already done what you are trying to do. They may even have shared their source code in the GitHub library. You can also go to Google for developers to browse for ready samples.
5. Poor Bitmap Usage
Users love content that looks nice and is well-formatted. Images are one of the best content in an app due to their ability to convey more than a thousand words. The only drawback images have is that they consume too much memory. Before displaying images on the screen, the app loads them in the memory.
For example, let us assume that you took a picture with a 13 MP camera. The image resolution might be 4000 x 3000 pixels, and the total memory needed to display that image might be 48 MP. Using this much memory for a single image is a lot.
When we consider the screen resolution, things change. Suppose you are trying to show a 4000 x 3000 pixels image on a 1920 x 1080 pixels screen. At maximum, you should not allocate more than eight or nine MB of memory to display the image.
Follow programming tips to display bitmaps efficiently. Always measure the view in which you will show the image. Crop or scale larger images according to the screen size.
6. Poor Memory Management
Poor memory management is one of the most crucial reasons for crashing an app. Memory management includes the number of threads an app might be using for a specific task. Using too many threads means taking up a huge chunk of memory resources. The problem can also arise if the device has more than a couple of apps running in the background.
Developers need to think of the device as an app ecosystem. Do not write the code believing that your app will be the only app running on the device. For example, news apps save a lot of information on the system. They might be archiving news from the previous months.
Different problems arise in iOS and Android. In iOS, you can do lots of things to leverage Objective-C to handle memory issues. In Android, you have much more control over the memory, and you can make it do what you want, but it increases complexity.
When it comes to Android, you come across problems like running out of memory in Java. It happens because apps load huge images or take time to process bitmaps. You will also come across issues like linker issues, where you cannot find a class or an exception known as an unclassified link. iOS apps, on the other hand, suffer from an exception called NSInternalInconsistency. Such things can happen when the developer changes the data collection or an array in one place while another is reading through the existing list.
7. Software Lifecycle
App development is a repetitive process with a consistent series of frequent releases. This process allows apps to get to the market with a minimum viable product (MVP) that can be improved over time as its users increase. This new process comes with its own set of issues related to third-party Application Programming Interface (APIs) and the operating system.
At times, when the operating system is updated, some apps can crash. It is not due to a problem in the app but because of an unstable OS update. Problems can also arise because a user might update the OS but does not update the app, or the user might forget to download the latest version of the app.
The rise in cloud services and app development has increased the dependency on third-party services and APIs. They save time and help get the app to the market in the least possible time, but they pose their problems.
The majority of libraries try to come up with a solution for as many problems as possible. But they do not focus on making an optimal solution for any specific issue. To understand this problem, consider the performance limitations of an API for a particular app.
APIs can bring forth unexpected modifications such as the number of API requests, version of API, data bandwidth, error rates, and API latencies. These small issues can turn into larger problems. APIs themselves have a chain of dependencies that need specialized tools to track the problem.
8. Improper Network Management
Network management has become particularly noteworthy because apps are increasingly depending on network access for third-party services or data. The most common reason for an app’s crash is responsiveness. When the app starts hanging as the user submits something or is trying to get some information, the app’s unresponsiveness frustrates the user. The reason could be anything from a poor internet connection to problems in the mobile network.
A network change can also cause the app to stop responding, such as going to 3G from 4G or losing reception. These problems can result in scrambled or lost packets.
There are several ways in which you can counter network problems. Inform the users about the network issue through the app, and offer something else to remedy the situation. Such as making sure that the user can continue their work in the app and the data will sync with the server as soon as the network connection becomes stable.
A user will usually not be annoyed with the app if they understand that the problem is temporary and not an internal problem.
9. Exception Handling and Error Code
Errors are inevitable due to the complexities of mobile app development. Complications can come from anywhere, like a memory issue that was not detected previously, a sudden change in API, or a network problem that disturbs the connectivity delaying the transmission of videos and images.
The only thing that stands between a situation like this and a crash is the exception and error handling. In this way, an app cannot crash by the loss of connectivity, an API providing text instead of a numeric value in the response, or an incorrect response from the user.
A properly coded app will deal with such situations by noting the unexpected event and find an elegant way to terminate the process while also informing the user about the problem. It might not be the best way to counter the situation, but it will help retain the user.
10. Not Enough Testing
App developers know the importance of testing the app before its launch. Testing the app can be challenging due to the plethora of OS versions in the market. Simulators can help in testing the app on different versions of the OS, but they might not give similar performance limitations.
Try to combine testing with benchmarking against the user expectations and industry standards. It will reduce the ambiguity between what the developers think is acceptable and what the users think. Testing should be a continuous process. Monitoring the performance of the app and looking for user feedback on the app is vital. Try to fix these problems on priority.
These are ten mistakes that will crash your app. Keep them in mind while developing an app, and you will not run into these problems at the very least.
Remember to use intents and fragments to keep things simple. Do not block the main thread because it keeps the app responsive. Try to use existing codes for common functions. Manage bitmaps, memory, and network properly. Handle exceptions and error codes in a way that does not frustrate the user. Keep on testing the app as long as you can before its launch.