Posts Tagged ‘Runtime Intelligence’

Runtime Intelligence Portal 2.0 now live for commercial users

Friday, July 22nd, 2011 by Brandon Siegel

The next version of PreEmptive’s Runtime Intelligence portal was rolled out for commercial Runtime Intelligence users Friday afternoon. The underlying infrastructure has been rebuilt from the ground up to provide better performance, reliability, and security. More details of what’s new in Runtime Intelligence Portal 2.0 are available in the original announcement blog entry.

As always, we deeply value your feedback. You can directly reach the Runtime Intelligence portal dev team by leaving a comment on this blog entry, posting a message on the Commercial RI Portal forum, or tweeting us @PreEmptive.

Runtime Intelligence for Windows Phone 7 Apps extended until further notice.

Monday, May 9th, 2011 by Gabriel Torok

Thanks to the overwhelmingly positive response; we are delighted to announce that the WP7 development community will continue to have free use of PreEmptive Solutions Runtime Intelligence for Windows Phone until further notice.
 
What does “until further notice” mean? We heard loud and clear that a lot of you actually held back and chose not to take advantage of the initial offer because you were nervous about the service being suddenly taken away and so, in addition to extending the free offer, we are committing that we will not make any changes to this offer without a minimum of a 60 day notice (and we have no plans at this time to make any changes).

Here are some of the main goals for application analytics:
•  Measure adoption & activity
•  Improve user experience
•  Measure and improve quality
•  Simplify and improve support
•  Enable user profiling

What specifically are WP developers using analytics for? Here are just a few examples…
• Improving the feature split between trial and paid versions of marketplace applications.
• Responding more rapidly to user preferences, settings, and search strings to provide better defaults and prioritize/expose features that improve user experience.
• Capturing exceptions to improve user support and application quality.
• Tracking ad placement effectiveness within an application (are ads more effective at the 3rd level of a game or at the start?)

Do you have other use case scenarios? One you wish we could support? Let us know – we intend to continue to expand and improve this service for a long time to come.
And of course, if you haven’t already registered yourself, go to http://www.preemptive.com/know-more/windows-phone-7 and jump start your development today.

Introducing Runtime Intelligence Portal 2.0

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011 by Brandon Siegel

After many months of polishing, the next version of PreEmptive’s Runtime Intelligence portal was rolled out for Runtime Intelligence for Windows Phone 7 users late Sunday night. In the coming weeks, the new portal infrastructure will be released for our commercial Runtime Intelligence customers as well. The underlying infrastructure has been rebuilt from the ground up to provide better performance, reliability, and security. On the surface however, the functionality and look & feel of the portal remain mostly the same. Notable changes include:

  • Portal performance is improved. Additionally, load times should not be affected by factors such as the range of data being examined.
  • The metrics surfaced on each dashboard are more useful, consistent, and intuitive.
  • Some calculations were made more accurate (for example, average session duration is now calculated across only completed sessions).
  • Better and more compatible dashboard widgets.
  • SSL encryption is now mandatory for sensitive operations such as login, and optionally available across the entire site (just use https:// instead of http://).
  • Expanded browser compatibility.
  • Many visual and usability improvements to refine the user experience.

We’ve spent a lot of time refining the portal, and we think that we’ve come up with something that works well, looks good, and addresses many of the concerns that we’ve heard from the community. Of course, we know that this is a continuous process and there’s still plenty to do. To that end, we welcome your feedback. Love it? Hate it? Something not quite right? Comment on this blog entry, post a message on our forum, or tweet us @PreEmptive. Anything you write will go directly to those of us on the Runtime Intelligence portal development team, and if your suggestion is a good one you can look forward to seeing it implemented in a future portal update.

Obtaining opt-in consent: The responsible way to collect application analytics

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010 by Brandon Siegel

Runtime Intelligence is a powerful tool that is able to illustrate in great depth how your applications are actually being used. But of course, with great power comes great responsibility. While individual developers are free to collect analytics data in any way and in accordance with any privacy policy they wish, allowing your users to opt-in to collecting usage information is not only standard in the industry, it’s also the right thing to do for your users. With Runtime Intelligence, we’ve make this important functionality easy to implement via the OptInSource properties of the SetupAttribute. Simply specify the name and owner of the property, method, field, or method argument that will contain the user’s opt-in setting at runtime, and the instrumented Runtime Intelligence code will retrieve the opt-in setting before any attempt to send analytics data.

If the user has opted-out, no data will be collected or sent in nearly all cases. The exception to this rule is that if you have chosen to use Tamper Detection and Notification, and you have configured it to send Runtime Intelligence messages when tampering is detected, these messages will always be sent regardless of the user’s opt-in choice. Additionally, the Exception Reporting feature contains a mechanism that allows the user to specify an explicit opt-in for an individual exception report, which will override the Runtime Intelligence opt-in setting for that message only. The default exception reporting dialog that Dotfuscator can inject makes use of this mechanism, and the specifics of how to provide this explicit opt-in are detailed in the manual so that developers rolling their own solution using Exception Reporting can do the same.

As a quick example, let’s say I wanted to persist the user’s opt-in setting using Isolated Storage. For simplicity’s sake, I am using the IsolatedStorageSettings class available in Silverlight and Windows Phone 7, but applications that target other frameworks can perform the same operations in a slightly more verbose way. Your business requirements would of course drive the value of RIOPTIN_DEFAULT; for this example I have chosen to opt-in the user by default.

public static class UserPrefs {
    public static bool RIOPTIN_DEFAULT = true;

    public static bool RIOptIn {
        get {
            bool optIn;
            if (IsolatedStorageSettings.ApplicationSettings.TryGetValue("rioptin", out optIn)) {
                return optIn;
            } 

            return RIOPTIN_DEFAULT;
        }
        set {
            IsolatedStorageSettings.ApplicationSettings["rioptin"] = value;
            IsolatedStorageSettings.ApplicationSettings.Save();
        }
    }
}

Now all I need to do is set the following properties on my SetupAttribute (either in code, or via Dotfuscator’s Instrumentation tab), and my users will be able to rest easy, knowing that they have control over whether and how their activity data is shared.

[Setup(
    ...,
    OptInSourceElement = SourceElements.Property,
    OptInSourceName = "RIOptIn",
    OptInSourceOwner = "UserPrefs",
    ...
    )]

You can see a complete example by checking out the awesome open-source OneBusAway app at http://onebusawaywp7.codeplex.com. The Runtime Intelligence opt-in preference is wired up via data binding to a toggle in the app’s settings scene, and is persisted in the same way as my sample above (property backed by isolated storage). They’ve included their Dotfuscator config file in source control, so you can take a look at a real-world example if need be. The OneBusAway project is also a great example of our exciting partnership with CodePlex that provides free, integrated Runtime Intelligence analytics to all the projects they host, so definitely check it out!

Launch of Visual Studio 2010 & Dotfuscator CE 5

Monday, April 26th, 2010 by Brandon Siegel

With the launch of Visual Studio 2010 and Silverlight 4 at the DevConnections show in Las Vegas last week, I am pleased to announce that Dotfuscator CE version 5 is now generally available. With an all-new user interface, more intelligent obfuscation, and application analytics instrumentation, this promises to be the biggest change we’ve made to Dotfuscator CE in its history. I am particularly excited because soon, with the application analytics included in Dotfuscator CE, millions of developers world-wide will have the opportunity to see real usage data coming in from their applications. Even better, they will be able to do so completely cost-free.

I was invited to act as part of PreEmptive’s delegation to the launch event and humbled to speak with so many passionate developers, architects, DBAs, and yes – even managers. What I did not initially expect was the overwhelmingly positive response from nearly everyone we talked with. Most people had never heard of application analytics. But, with a brief introduction everyone quickly understood the idea and many offered up scenarios where they would want to use it for their applications (completely unsolicited, I might add). It was thrilling to receive such a positive response to something I - and the other fantastic developers here at PreEmptive - have worked very hard over the past few years to create.

I very much encourage the great folks I met in Las Vegas last week, along with millions of passionate developers across the globe, to open up Dotfuscator CE and try out the free analytics we’ve included. Today, most web developers wouldn’t think of publishing a web site without including web analytics. I hope that having these analytics included with Visual Studio 2010 will lead to application developers thinking the same way about their applications. Of course, using the two together in a Silverlight or ASP.NET application to get a complete view of the visitor’s experience is a natural fit. But application analytics extends far beyond that. Now, all .NET developers are able to get live information that can help steer development focus, even in areas that were previously completely opaque – from cloud apps running on Windows Azure to mobile phone applications on Windows Phone 7 and even to applications running on Linux and Mac with Mono.

In fact, I look forward to seeing how application analytics will be used to support open source development throughout the .NET ecosystem. Because open source developers essentially donate their spare time, being able to focus their efforts in places that have the most user impact is crucial. An open source development model also allows far greater flexibility for developers to immediately shift their focus to match what their users are actually doing with the software they produce, without the constraints of rigid development and deployment practices. Because of these factors, I specifically encourage maintainers of open source projects to try the free application analytics provided in Dotfuscator CE. Together with the bug reports and feature requests you already have, you will be able to truly make the most of the precious time that your contributors give.

Some might say that it’s counterintuitive for a company known for source code obfuscation to support open source development, but at PreEmptive our guiding principle is simply “help software succeed”. With application analytics, we have the opportunity to extend our dedication to this principle beyond proprietary software. In the past few months, we’ve released numerous projects on CodePlex including some awesome editor extensions that integrate application analytics right into the Visual Studio 2010 IDE, an endpoint starter kit so you can write your own backend to receive and process Runtime Intelligence messages, a data visualizer sample to demonstrate how to consume analytics data using our RESTful analytics API, and an API helper library to make using our API even easier. And our new partnership with CodePlex, which will provide free application analytics for hosted projects surfaced right within each project’s page, provides us yet another great opportunity to help software succeed.