Monday, September 26, 2011

Runtime Intelligence and Dotfuscator for WP7 developers speak (Mikey likes it!)

In my last post, I drew a correlation between apps that used Runtime Intelligence and their relative (positive) success as measured by user ratings and engagement. While it was fairly clear that developers who chose to use Runtime Intelligence built more successful apps than their counterparts, it really said nothing about a) Runtime Intelligence analytics’ contribution to their success or b) developer satisfaction with Runtime Intelligence overall.

Well, there’s really only one way to answer these questions …and that’s to ASK THEM.

I sent out an electronic survey starting on Monday of last week (September 19) and have received over 200 developer responses. Here is what they said…

Who is doing what?
  • 32% indicated that they are only using Dotfuscator to protect their application
  • 24.5% said they were only using Runtime Intelligence
  • And 43.4% indicated that they were using both.

Do these “smarter than the average bear” developers see the value?

In a word, YES.

Looking only at those developers who indicated that they already had their applications in the marketplace (representing over 100 development organizations):
  • 60% indicated that analytics set the wp7 platform apart from all other platforms or added significant value to the platform.
  • 68% indicated that protection set the wp7 platform apart from all other platforms or added significant value to the platform.

Analytics’ perceived value increases by 450% with developer experience

When looking at those developers that indicated that analytics and/or protection “set the WP7 development platform apart from all others,” analytics’ value actually increased by 450% (from 2% to 9%) as developers moved from no app, to less than four weeks to a ship date, to actually having an app in the marketplace (and getting analytics back). Interestingly, obfuscation (protection) peaked in value just prior to shipping.

So what’s the takeaway?

In my last post, we established the user of Runtime Intelligence were more successful than other WP7 developers. In this post, we see that these developers credit their success, to some material degree, to either Runtime Intelligence or Dotfuscator protection (or both).

In their own words
(selected - but unedited - responses to the open-ended question "what are you most excited about?")

I like being able to get crash reports without much additional work.

It gives the developer ability to know about usage patterns in an application. Obviously code obfuscation is a necessity, especially for paid apps.

It offers a unique way to see how users interact with the application, and with the latest release it also has error reporting. Awesome!

I'm an excitable person.

Fabulous data provided by RIS to analyze the performance, usage and app demographics.

So I can know what is happening in my app and protect my code.

Used correctly, the analytics really let me see how and by whom my application is being used. I get more insight into this information than I could if I set up a usability lab or just did extensive user testing. There is no better way to observe than to do so in production.

The concept of attaching runtime analytics after the compilation process is very useful for us (standard software development, single application in various customer-specific configurations), since we are able to attach this on a per-customer basis and don't have to manage it in code.

UI for parameterization

It gives detailed statistics about the usage of all parts of the software and helps to recognize the hot features of the software are and which parts are less used. This adds great value into the effort of making software better.

Really gives me insight into what my customers are doing with my applications. They help me to understand where I can enhance functionality and add value.

Quality of product

Analytics give me an idea on what I should work on next to improve my application

Runtime analytics is cool because there is no code to write.

I can collect the exact information i need.

It allows me to phase out or strengthen certain parts of my apps. I currently have seven apps and the instrumentation is crucial.

Because i can have a deep analysis of when and especially how my application is being used. If you add the fact that all these data are aggregated and presented in such a nice way by the portal, you end up with a great product

I produce libraries (DLL's) that are handed to third parties, hence the need for obfuscation.

Kickass obfuscator.

It helps me keep track of any bugs. And it allows feature tracking. And it gives me the cool world map that shows where some of the users are.

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