Sentry has extended the reach of its performance monitoring tool to add support for React Native, Android, and Xamarin applications in addition to expanding its current support for Flutter to additional languages.
Usage of frameworks for building mobile applications that can run on multiple mobile platforms is on the rise. There are still plenty of use cases where a framework optimized for a specific platform may be preferred, but in many cases enterprises are now routinely building applications for both Apple iOS and Google Android devices.
Sentry for Mobile is designed to give developers visibility into how their code is behaving on both the frontend and backend of a mobile application in a way that consumes just tens of kilobytes of memory after being embedded directly within an application. That approach eliminates the need to depend as much on an application performance management (APM) platform to monitor and observe an application. Sentry claims there are now 68,000 organizations worldwide using its performance monitoring tool. After raising an additional $60 million in funding, the company is now valued in excess of $1 billion.
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The expanded support for Flutter, a mobile framework created by Google, now captures errors across applications built using Kotlin, Java for Android, Swift, Objective-C for iOS, and C/C++. Originally created in partnership with Google, Sentry for Flutter now also captures exceptions within the Flutter engine itself. Other new capabilities include offline caching and fatal crash support, which ensures reports are sent even if a device goes offline or a fatal crash occurs.
Framework troubleshooting challenges
In general, modern frameworks such as React that enable more real-time experiences are more challenging to troubleshoot because the applications running on a mobile device are also interacting with backend systems, says Sentry CEO Milin Desai.
Desai says most developers would prefer to not be dependent on internal IT teams to help troubleshoot their applications. APM platforms typically require developers to insert agent application software that in many cases is too large for a mobile application. Once inserted, that agent software needs to be maintained and updated, adds Desai.
As application development continues to evolve, developers are assuming more responsibility for the end-to-end application experience as part of the transition toward employing best DevOps practices. As such, they now require tools that can show them how their code is actually behaving versus simply being granted access to a dashboard created primarily for an IT operations team, notes Desai. “They need to see the issues with the code,” he says.
APM impact unclear
It’s not clear what impact tools such as Sentry might have on reliance on APM platforms. There is a general shift toward enabling more observability across IT environments that APM platforms can help provide. Most IT teams today employ a hodgepodge of isolated monitoring tools that don’t provide much context whenever there is an issue. Developers, of course, are always trying to resolve issues as quickly as possible. Every minute spent fixing a bug in one existing application is one less minute they have to write the code that drives a new application.
Regardless of how developers go about instrumenting their applications, the one thing that everyone agrees on is that flying blind after an application has already been deployed in a production environment is almost always going to have a negative outcome. And that pretty much explains Sentry’s billion-dollar valuation.