Customer Use Case: Shipping Code Faster

Customer success stories are among our most prized assets. They validate our company mission to build the best crash management platform to improve every aspect of the debugging workflow. Plus, understanding how our customers are using us in practice helps us shape our roadmap. A recent story caught my attention that I wanted to share (read: brag).

Read more to learn about how a recent customer used Backtrace to ship code faster.

Customer Profile

OpenALPR Logo

I wanted to improve the crash management process, and prioritized finding a platform for its simplicity, notification capabilities, and auto-decoding stack traces.

OpenALPR is a security product that empowers cameras with license plate recognition capabilities in order to improve security on premises. Matt Hill, founder and developer of the company, says the “OpenALPR agent recognizes license plates as a background daemon and uploads the data to a webserver”.

For OpenALPR, crashes are infrequent, and originally the debugging process was entirely manual. This created a couple issues that made crash management challenging. First, Matt wasn’t notified when crashes occurred, leaving open the possibility of missing a crash. In addition, when he did discover a crash, the stack traces were missing debug symbols, costing him extra time during investigation.

To address these issues, Matt said “I wanted to improve the crash management process, and prioritized finding a platform for its simplicity, notification capabilities, and auto-decoding stack traces”. In short: he wanted a product to streamline the crash management process, which led him to checking out the Backtrace free 30-day trial.

Quick Self-Service Setup

As much as we take pride in our customer success team’s ability to support our customers during the integration, we built Backtrace to be completely self-service and invested heavily into our documentation to support our users. Matt took advantage of this and integrated his application entirely on his own, relying primarily on our docs, in less than a day.

Crash Detected!

We didn’t need to wait long for an opportunity to help Matt out. After deploying some innocuous-looking code, Backtrace started reporting on some crashes. However, they were only happening on a few systems under specific circumstances, making it more difficult to discover. Fortunately, Backtrace doesn’t care if a crash happens once or thousands of times. We detected the crash data and automatically alerted Matt of the crash via Slack.

This is an example Slack notification with Backtrace data

The Slack notification was just a click away to the Backtrace Web Debugger, where we pointed to the exact line number that was the culprit of the crash.

Line numbers in the Callstack at the bottom left (NOT the actual customer data)

Shipping Code Faster

The beta process is much smoother since I feel confident that I get alerted about any possible errors. Without good crash management, I tend to be more conservative about changing solid, tested software. Now, I feel like I can make more significant changes since I know any bugs would get resolved quickly.

What was the benefit? In short, we saved Matt time. “The automatic alerts save time identifying issues. I don’t have to decode the symbols when looking at problems. I don’t have to manually decode traces.” The key takeaway: don’t rely on manual processes to address mission-critical issues when automated crash management is accessible to you.

The other benefit, which is a bit more subtle, is that Backtrace acts as a safety net: “The beta process is much smoother since I feel confident that I get alerted about any possible errors. Without good crash management, I tend to be more conservative about changing solid, tested software. Now, I feel like I can make more significant changes since I know any bugs would get resolved quickly.” Ship code faster, trusting that Backtrace will minimize the ramifications for code oversight.

Hey… This Sounds Just Like Me!

If any of this sounds familiar and/or interesting, come check us out. If we’re able to help you, we’d love to feature you in a blog post as well.

Interested in reading about another Backtrace customer? Check out an earlier post covering how we helped Circonus shorten their mean time to resolution.

By | 2017-07-12T11:42:17+00:00 July 12th, 2017|Backtrace, Customers|