Can you promise me a bug free app?

April 20, 2017

I remember about 18 months ago, seeing an app development company’s website which promised bug free apps. As an experienced software developer I know that such a claim is a very bold one to make.

A mobile app is a piece of software just like Microsoft Office, Photoshop or Windows 10 - in most cases much less complex, however a piece of software nonetheless. If you are someone who has ever used Microsoft Office, Photoshop or Windows 10 you will know that bugs do exist in these products. Mobile apps from the big companies such as Google and Microsoft often get released with bugs which either go undetected by their internal testing or are deemed not severe enough to delay the app going out to customers.

Here is an example of an App Store description from the latest update to Google Sheets:

“Bug fixes and performance improvements”

App development teams at companies such as Google will consist of tens of developers. If you get an app developed by a freelancer or agency you are unlikely to have more than 1 - 3 developers on a project. So even with a big company’s resources they still release software which has bugs.

There are many ways to catch bugs in an app before it gets released - good design and architecture, unit testing, automated UI testing, continuous integration, testing and QA procedures. The best developers will want to release bug free products, however despite adopting best practice procedures apps may still contain bugs. In addition to apps in the code written by your developer there will be bugs in the underlying operating system, either there when your app is being written or introduced in iOS or Android updates.

Some bugs will go unnoticed by users or will be so minor as to not disrupt from a great user experience. Other bugs will crop up, annoy users and detract from your app. Its vital to have a plan for how you’ll deal with bugs once an app is released. Monitoring of crash reports, having an easy way for users to contact you and looking at App Store and Google Play reviews should all be part of this. When an issue is reported or detected it should be assessed and given a priority for being fixed.

In short, don’t expect or demand that your developer delivers a bug free app. They should do everything within their power, and the budget you’ve agreed, to find and fix bugs before release - however more importantly they should work with you to have a strategy for maintaining and improving the app once its out there in the wild.

If you have a project you’d like to talk with Apps On The Move about please get in touch. We can have an honest chat about your next app project!

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