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SAN FRANCISCO — Coding for mobile apps could still be considered in its early days. So the rigorous testing procedures required for it aren’t necessarily in place yet. If your mobile app crashes, developers often have no clue where to start.

That’s where third parties like Crittercism and AppDynamics come in. Both companies are in the service business of application performance management (APM), and they’re making themselves useful to companies that need to know what happens when their apps crash and what might be the possible causes.

Bhaskar Sunkara, chief technology officer of AppDynamics, and Rob Kwok, CTO of Crittercism, discussed the emerging APM market in a session at VentureBeat’s MobileBeat 2014 event today. Kwok said APM is becoming more important, as mobile devices are taking center stage in business. Urban Outfitters, for instance, is starting to use iPads for its cash registers.

“Real revenue is at stake,” Kwok said in a session moderated by VentureBeat’s Mark Sullivan. “If any devices go down, it costs money on the bottom line.”

Sunkara said, “Performance has always been supercritical to any business. If you stand in a line at the bank, you would leave if the line is too long. If it happened a couple of times, you would consider changing your bank.”

One of the most important things that APM companies do is measure real-time performance of an app. The services identify what a user was doing when an app crashed and what part of the mobile device was under use. It gathers metrics and sends that along to the customer.

“How often does an app crash?” Kwok said. “That’s one of the first things you want to know.”

App crash rates of about 1 percent to 2 percent are normal, Kwok said. “But 47 percent of app makers aren’t hitting that baseline. Mobile is new, and no one really knows what the norms are.”

Sometimes the cause is related to an applications programming interface provided by some other party. A program that inserts ads into an app may be the cause. One huge financial services company saw its app start crashing because one developer added an analytics program without telling other developers.

Sunkara said developers should pay attention to details like performance, load time, and search queries about an app.


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