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application performance monitoring tools

Mobile Application Performance Monitoring Tools for iOS

by Svitla Team

November 15, 2018
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Application Performance Monitoring (APM) Tools have become the industry’s standard to provide an enhanced and superior user experience and general app excellence. In this article, you will see what Mobile APM  is, its tools, key metrics, and analytics to better understand how it is improving mobile applications.

Competition is at its fiercest stage today, with every company deploying applications left and right. This highly-competitive environment reduces the timeframe for the application development lifecycle, which can result in unstable or faulty performance. This new phase in application development calls for a systematic method and solution to monitor apps effectively. Let’s take a look at what Application Performance Monitoring is and the tools that are shaping the future of apps.

What is Mobile Application Performance Monitoring?

Application Performance Monitoring is “one or more software and hardware components that facilitate monitoring to meet five main functional dimensions: end-user experience monitoring (EUM), runtime application architecture discovery modeling and display, user-defined transaction profiling, component deep-dive monitoring in an application context, and analytics”, as Gartner defines it. This clear definition is essential to further exploration of APM tools.

  • EUM: refers to any bottleneck or issue experienced by the end user within the application.
  • Runtime application architecture discovery modeling and display: reviews the potential scope of a problem in the application’s runtime architecture.
  • User-defined transaction profiling: refers to transactions made by the end user as they transit across different paths to assess the source of a problem.
  • Component deep-dive application monitoring: refers to a deep-dive examination of components executed based on the previous dimensions.
  • Analytics: the final dimension, refers to establishing a root cause, based on data resulting from the first four dimensions, to mitigate or prepare contingencies for future end-user experience problems.

To a certain extent, it is expected that applications will fail or demonstrate an undesired behavior. Simply put, application performance monitoring examines, measures and studies the performance and the user experience of software applications. As stated above, it monitors a number of aspects such as runtime, speed, display, reliability, and other metrics that measure the optimal level of service from an application.

With variables such as numerous operating systems, browsers, connection speeds, devices, and locations it can be challenging to do local testing, so it is important to use a robust APM tool to obtain the most accurate measures of an application’s overall performance.

Now that we have a clear understanding of what APM entails, let’s dive into iOS Performance Monitoring.

iOS Performance Monitoring

As recorded by Statista, Apple’s App Store is the second largest app store worldwide with over 2 million available apps. With the vast number of applications available for Apple devices, Application Performance Monitoring for iOS increases in significance as it is all about improving the performance of apps available in Apple’s App Store.

iOS Performance Monitoring tools help track and monitor the performance of different activities such as every user action, session, finger-swipe, screen loading, and more, specific to iOS-native applications. The APM monitoring helps identify, mitigate and solve problems or issues that may arise in the app, which ultimately affects the overall reviews. There are a number of metrics that are helpful when monitoring an iOS application. Next, you will find a more detailed review of these metrics.

Mobile APM tools for iOS

In the world of mobile, the user experience is pivotal and performance is the main ingredient for providing a premium user experience. Mobile APM tools for iOS monitor backend service infrastructures for both native and hybrid mobile apps. With that being said, tools help identify root causes of detected problems in the application.

How do performance monitoring tools improve the user experience?

Everyone wants a fault-free, seamless mobile application. While this may be hard to obtain, with the right APM tool in place, it is not impossible. Every day, new tools emerge with more features and capabilities that make them better able l to identify, mitigate and resolve probable and existing issues.

User experience is considered by many the most relevant aspect of a successful mobile application. Everything is centered around the end user experience and how users interact with the application.

With APM tools, users are spared many issues, defects, and bugs that may otherwise be undetected by the development team. With outbursts of data pouring in, these tools help provide actionable insights by performing a series of tests and analytics to pinpoint areas of concern.

Types of APM tools for iOS

According to industry experts, there are three types of APM tools for mobile, including both Android and iOS. These are:

  • Metrics-based tools: These tools use metrics to measure and monitor an application’s performance.
  • Code level performance tools: Code level performance tools are based on code profiling and transaction tracing to monitor an application.
  • Network-based tools: These types of tools monitor and measure an application’s performance based on network traffic.

iOS app analytics 

Key metrics to measure and monitor application performance

The most important metrics to measure and monitor for iOS app analytics are:

  • User satisfaction
  • Launch time and resume time
  • UI average response time
  • Crashes
  • Error rate
  • Battery consumption
  • Cellular data consumption
  • Application and server CPU usage

IOS Crash reporting and analytics

As we mentioned before, it is inevitable for mobile apps to crash. But what is the source of these crashes?  The questions of “what”, “how” and “why” - are the focus of crash analytics. With crash analytics, users are able to filter crash results based on the app’s version, device, operating system, and more.

iOS app analytics for crashes is critical to the features and capabilities of mobile APM tools for iOS. Crashes can drive users away completely or cause them to interact with the application less and less as they become disengaged with the user experience and overall performance. Understanding the context behind why an app crashes can help developers and analysts alike generate a strategy to prioritize and solve crashes.

By identifying isolated and recurring crashes, mobile developers can swiftly fix these events before they negatively impact the app’s ratings.

With iOS crash reporting, you can find out all of the reasons involved in why an application crashes and understand how to solve them quickly and easily, while also analyzing how to prevent them in the future. Most tools offer smart troubleshooting when it comes to crash patterns, providing code-level visibility for the traces of an issue’s trail.

Performance mobile app analytics tools 

Mobile app analytics tools take performance analytics very seriously, as performance plays the critical role of ensuring the user experiences a satisfactory application. Performance analytics is broad and encompasses a number of factors that affect the application’s end-user experience. By understanding how a given issue directly affects a user, mobile developers can work on addressing the concern, sometimes within hours or even minutes, with the help of the right mobile app analytics tools.

Performance analytics take the guesswork out of locating issues, which makes it easier, more cost-effective, and faster to fix a performance bottleneck.

Some of the key metrics for performance analytics, are user satisfaction scores, average response time, error rates, number of running application instances, traffic monitoring, application availability, and more.

With the insights gained from these metrics, mobile developers can understand how the user experience is affected by performance issues. This visibility drives upgrades for improved and enhanced applications.

Back-end analytics

Mobile developers have their work cut out for them when dealing with and managing the backend aspects of the application. Complexity is not unusual when it comes to the backend of an application, which is why backend analytics is helpful in shedding light and offering control in terms of programming languages, containers, versions, databases, and more.

While fast backend transactions don’t necessarily equal an outstanding user experience, it can definitely help significantly to track problematic events that affect the overall rating of an app. For example, with backend analytics, you can see how internal services or 3rd party API call performance issues affect the application.

Additionally, you can leverage backend analytics to understand and diagnose problems you may not have been able to uncover in backend production.

The best APM tools for iOS

Let’s review some of the most outstanding mobile application performance monitoring tools for iOS.

  • New Relic: One of the most widely-used tools for APM, New Relic is a tool that helps teams build high-performance, stable applications. New Relic’s toolset quickly spots and resolves internal backend services or 3rd party API call performance issues.  It provides diagnostics on performance per operating system, devices, and different versions, it discovers response time, data transfer and network failures across geographical regions, and it identifies performance breakdowns across wireless carriers or networks.
  • Dynatrace: Dynatrace monitors the stability, performance, and usage of iOS apps in real-time. It helps users understand how and why iOS app crashes occur through statistics that trace platforms and other criteria to indicate root causes. Mobile crash reports can be filtered based on app versions and provide downloadable traces to pinpoint the root cause of crashes. In essence, Dynatrace provides insights about crashes, affected users, the percentage of crash-free users, number of crashes per minute, and crash reports.
  • Raygun: Raygun provides a focused approach to errors, crashes, and performance issues. It is capable of collecting errors under a single root cause to help isolate and diagnose performance issues of any kind. Additionally, it identifies users to detect who specifically is encountering errors. Among its key features, there is full-text search and filtering, multiple tracking of apps with any language/framework, a centralized platform to track errors, crashes and performance issues, unlimited end users, critical bug discovery, version tracking, automatic error reporting, and more.
  • AppDynamics: This tool provides real-time insights about iOS mobile application performance by continuously monitoring data categorized by device, carrier, geographical region, and more to gain visibility of the mobile end-user experience and proactively pinpoint and mitigate performance issues.

Features and Capabilities of APM tools for iOS

The key features and capabilities that APM tools for iOS should have can be summarized as follows:

  • Ability to monitor activities with a timestamp to identify the time in which each event occurs.
  • Ability to monitor calls-to-action made from real users in real time.
  • Ability to provide a detailed app error analysis report.
  • Ability to deep-dive into device data (database, memory, UI performance).
  • Ability to personalize metrics to suit specialized transactions.
  • Ability to perform compelling analytics about how the app performs on different devices and operating systems.
  • Ability to compare app performance from different app versions.
  • Ability to alert users when the app is not functioning as expected.
  • Ability to monitor performance by region.
  • Ability to monitor performance across wireless carriers or networks.
  • Ability to identify internal backend services or 3rd party services that affect the app’s performance.

Conclusion

Nowadays, speed is vital. Every minute is critical when it comes to having an application in the market, s because revenue and customer engagement are directly affected. Companies are shifting gears to embrace application performance monitoring tools to get the job of assessing performance in a quick and accurate fashion.

A shift in the market, where app monitoring tools are more comprehensive than ever before, delivers immense value to companies that want the best application performance tools in their toolbelt for software applications.

Performance, user experience, and analytics are the backbone of a successful application and APM is the solution to analyze all of the Big Data associated with applications, in order to gain insights for more compelling and substantial results.

by Svitla Team
November 15, 2018

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