If you've ever worked on a project and needed to debug your company's or client's app, I'm sure you already know how frustating can be needing to audit the implemetnation. I'm sure you know I'm talking about. Not having a public and avaiable namespace and API as we do in browsers can make things really hard, even more if you don't have some technical skills.
Circa 2016 I presented ( well Sir Yehoshua Coren did on my behalf ) in the SuperWeek's Punchcard Prize a tool for debugging apps using a small hardware device ( rPI like board ). Which was essentially able to intercept anything that was connected through the Wi-Fi connection this device was generating. As simple as that sounds,on a piece of hardware made the prospect of broadly offering this to everyone somewhat difficult. At the same time, turning it into a commercial product was not an option due to my limited business and communication skills at that point.
Analysts, particularly those in data analytics and data science roles, don't need an exhaustive understanding of how everything functions. For instance, they don't require knowledge of
Kotlin to review the events tracked within an app. However, I firmly believe they should have the capability to check if, at the very least, the tracking is occurring. This is where my tools come into play, adn this is where Analytics Debugger for Apps was born, enabling anyone to effortlessly inspect what's happening in their analytics implementations.
My aim was clear: to democratize Apps Debugging, making the debugging task accessible to individuals of all technical backgrounds.
Looking back to 2019 with the upcoming release of App+Web ( now turned into Google Analytics 4 / Firebase for GA ) I began experimenting with the idea of creating a tool that would mimic the reports of the current Chrome extension, regardless of the platform being debugged. Before long, I developed "Android デバッガ" a debugger for Firebase/Universal Analytics on Android as the initial step, which was later expanded to include iOS debugging and name turned into "iOS/Android Debugger".
I really made a list of points that the tool should comply with:
- No App Modifications Needed: The debugging should work 'out of the box' without the need to recompile packages or add external libraries.
- Reports should be vendor-specific, not just a simple output of requests, in order to make the data understandable for any analyst or marketer.
- It ought to be made available for free.
- Open to the inclusion of new vendors.
At this stage of the venture, I'm happy to say that I've met all the objectives and am ready for the next steps. You might see a pattern here, but the first thing I did was change the name (once again). It's quite in line with previous name changes. So, say hello to "Analytics Debugger for Apps".
The debugger remains FREE for everyone as long as you stay subscribed to the newsletter (by the way, I've sent 0 emails in 10 years...). That's the only requirement to use the tool. You can create an account and then a license at https://app.analytics-debugger.com at not cost.
You might be wondering if there's a catch to this, but the answer is straightforward: there isn't one. I'm simply sharing one of my internal tools to help people. Not sure how long I will be doing it, so for now let's just enjoy the moment :)
You wouldn't believe how time-consuming tool development can be, especially when going solo ( backend, frontend, testing, websites, docs, social, updated, support, backups, apis, design ). Therefore, the tool is open to sponsorships. Sponsors will not encounter any nag screens or experience delays while using certain features, such as exporting data to the clipboard.
Windows 64-bit and
MacOS Universal versions are available at https://www.analytics-debugger.com/tools/ios-android-debugger/, with an upcoming
Linux 64-bit version (currently in beta) in the works.
"Due to Android's limitations, not all vendors are supported (though this may change in the near future ?), making iOS App debugging the more feature-rich version." . Featured vendors are:
Universal Analytics (to be deprecated),
Adobe Analytics . As I mentioned before, I do this in my free time. While I would love to add more features, This is where sponsorships come into play, providing me with the resources to dedicate more time to working on the tools.
I'm amazed that over 1,500 fellow analysts have used the debugger so far, especially considering the minimal marketing efforts I've put into it. Huge thanks to everyone! .