Ahead of Twitter?s upcoming developer conference Flight, Twitter?s Answers service ? which provides developers with a real-time display of events happening with their apps ? is getting a big update that provides developers with a more robust way to track their apps.
Previously, it focused on a few moments, such as sign-ups, but Twitter senior director of platform Jeff Seibert said that larger, more robust apps needed more events to better track app performance. So Twitter is now giving developers a way to track the most common events across most applications through Answers instead of having to build more custom events themselves.
?The more we learned, we saw Answers and these metrics are super good for smaller apps, and that?s all those developers need,? Seibert said. ?For more complex apps, it turns out users have been using answers with others like Flurry or Mixpanel, the reason is they need more functionality. That?s been by far our number one request.?answers-events-predefined-grid
For example, developers can directly monitor purchases and figure out what their forward revenue projections would be. There are unique events that companies like Slack ? which, for example, would probably be tracking messages sent ? but there are a bucket of events that can apply to a wide swath of app developers. Gaming companies, for example, need a better way to track level progress in order to better target advertisements or find ways to turn players into paying customers, Seibert said.
?We?ve picked the 12 most common [events] and built custom experiences for them,? Seibert said. Instead of it being a random custom event, now we know you?re recording a purchase event, and we can make a custom dashboard automatically with the app developer doing no work. Take purchases for example ? we present the revenue chart front and center instead of a frequency graph of each purchase.?
All of this is designed to put the tracking processes into applications without needing developers to build these kinds of tools themselves. That opens up more time for those developers to focus on the core parts of their apps, like building new levels or adding new features.
The update has required a whole new level of technical challenges to go with it. answers processes 6 billion sessions a day across the apps that it works with, and with more data points comes a larger problem of scale. Twitter head of engineering Alex Roetter told TechCrunch in an earlier interview that the problems of Twitter involved a massive scale ? processing millions of Tweets a second and putting the right content in front of users ? and also keeping the service from crashing. That extends also to the rest of Twitter?s products, including its developer services.
Twitter bought Crashlytics in January 2013, and the service quickly became one of the company?s flagship products for what would become its development kit, Fabric. It had a primetime slot at Flight, Twitter?s development conference last year. Crashlytics all started when Seibert was at Box working on Box Sync ? and it kept crashing. He decided to add some code that would track when the software would crash, and a week later there were more than 6,000 reports of the service crashing among a small group of beta testers. He started building what would become Crashlytics.
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