Publishing an app with Twitter’s Fabric.io

Fabric.io is a great tool I discovered recently to enable application analysis for iOS and Android apps, but it does so much more than that. Crash analytics is the tip of the iceberg with Fabric, you also get Twitter Login, MoPub advertisement services (aggregates ad networks into a single entity), Answers – Fabric’s live monitoring of your app with really useful stats, and there are a bunch of other ‘kits’ for various other functions; I expect more will be released in the coming future. I added Fabric to my app in development and thought it was the bee’s knees, so I put it to the test in a release situation.

As a start – Fabric is ridiculously easy to set up in Android Studio.

  • Install the Android Studio Fabric plugin by doing the following
    • Go to File -> Settings -> Plugins, and search for ‘Fabric for Android Studio’
    • Install the plugin and restart Android Studio
  • Select the Fabric icon button from the toolbar in Android Studio  Fabric
  • This button will open the Fabric panel, where you will need to log in with your Fabric account.
  • Once logged in, you will be present with a list of ‘kits’ offered by Fabric. Each one has step-by-step guides, and even changes your code for you (when allowed)

For my Play Store app, I enabled Crashlytics and MoPub (this was tricky as the documentation is non-existent) The Play Store provides some nice statistics, but it’s slow to refresh, sometimes hours at a time, whereas Fabric is instant and provides a cool dashboard for everything. After the 8 hour wait to get my app published where I began to take up Swift, I started to see the results I was hoping for. Fabric began logging user activity, device information and crashes (caused by me on purpose, no production crashes so far!) and it also displayed a line graph of the active users in real-time.

Fabric Dashboard

This graph is one of the best features of Fabric, you can see what times people are most active, and if you were really into it you could try determine what causes spikes. My app was released 3 days ago and I’m actually surprised at the number of people using it, I was expecting a drop-off to occur by now but the figures show a steady increase day-on-day. With Answers, I can see the session length, which Android Activity was the most popular, and I could also create events to track what was clicked the most as a custom event.

Fabric Dash

As an experiment, Fabric delivered on all of my expectations, the only thing it comes up short on is documentation; I spent a solid 4 hours figuring out how to integrate MoPub with my app, and then AdMob with MoPub. I’ll provide a post soon about that endeavour as it might help someone. If you’re starting off on a new app, or even want to add analytics to an existing app, I would recommend Fabric.io for a solid experience.