nico.fyi
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How to report bugs to developers

Authors
  • avatar
    Name
    Nico Prananta
    Twitter
    @2co_p

You found a problem in an app and are about to tell the developer. But before you dash off a quick "Hey, it's not working" message, remember that software can be pretty tricky. An app might act differently on various devices, web browsers, or operating systems — there's no one-size-fits-all rule. So, if you're ready to jump in and tell about a bug (even if you're not a tech whiz), this guide is perfect for you.

Also, if you're a developer and think this guide is helpful, make sure to share it with your friends and family who aren't great with tech. It'll definitely help cut down on those confusing "it's broken" texts later on.

Here's how you can get that pesky bug squashed quickly and efficiently:

  1. Craft a concise and descriptive title - Get straight to the point but be specific. "Upload function fails" beats "it's broken" any day.
  2. Provide step-by-step reproduction steps - The clearer, the better. Every detail counts.
  3. Detail your environment - Device, operating system, browser, and their versions matter more than you think.
  4. Mention the app version - It's crucial for tracking down the bug.

Concise and Descriptive Title

Your title is the first thing developers see. It's your pitch. Instead of "Found a bug," try "Profile photo upload fails on Android app." It's like the subject line of an email; make it count.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Here's where you shine by being thorough. Start from the very beginning, like "Open the app" and guide the developer through each step you took until the bug appeared. Imagine you're teaching someone to bake a cake but every step has to lead to the exact same lopsided result.

Your Environment

Providing more details is really helpful. Instead of just mentioning "on my phone," it's much clearer to specify your device (like "iPhone 13 Pro Max"), operating system (OS) ("iOS 15.4"), and browser if you are using one ("Chrome Version 89.0").

Even if you're using the same browser to visit a website, how it works may differ depending on the browser version. These little differences are very important in figuring things out, as they give us valuable hints to identify what might be causing the problem.

App Version

Often overlooked but always important, the version number found in the app's settings is a crucial detail. It aids developers in identifying the exact point in time a bug might have slipped into the software.

Lots of folks who aren't deep into tech stuff might not get that software is always a work in progress. It's always getting updates, and when it's no longer supported, that's the end of the line. Each new version might add cool new stuff, but it could also bring in bugs or revive old ones. That's why it's super important to mention the version number when reporting a bug.

In Conclusion

Bugs are a pain, but with your detailed report in hand, developers are better equipped to swat them. By taking the time to report issues properly, you're not only helping yourself but improving the software for everyone. Think of it as doing your bit for the digital world. Plus, the next time you hit a snag, you'll know exactly what to do.


Are you working in a team environment and your pull request process slows your team down? Then you have to grab a copy of my book, Pull Request Best Practices!