Intro & Feedback Overview
Feedback Loops & App Center Analytics
Baselines & Noise
The course is part of this learning path
The application lifecycle doesn’t finish with app deployment. Feedback is an important element of refining an application, whether that’s exception detection and diagnoses or improving the user experience. In this course, we will look at a suite of services that capture a vast array of feedback data, ranging from exceptions to client and server telemetry. This data can be turned into easily digestible information that can be used to trigger alerts and feedback into the development lifecycle as work items.
This course begins by describing what feedback is, and the types of feedback for improving application performance and usability. It then moves on to how we can integrate feedback into the software development lifecycle and what tools we can use to simplify that task. Finally, we will look at optimizing feedback mechanisms to get meaningful data from feedback noise.
For any feedback and questions relating to this course, please contact us at email@example.com.
- Designing application and user feedback loops
- Setting up crash and event notifications for App Center
- Setting up work item integration from App Center
- Making sense of App Center’s analytic and diagnostic information
- Adding Application Insights Telemetry to an application
- Setting up Application Insights alerts
- Work item integration from Application Insights
- Designing feedback dashboards
- Viewing Application Insights Telemetry data
- Discussing types of user feedback and how they can be captured
- Ways to baseline and filter feedback data
This course is intended for:
- People preparing for Microsoft’s AZ-400 exam
- App developers
- Project managers
To get the most from this course, you should have some experience with Microsoft Azure and application development, as well as knowledge of software project management concepts.
In this course we started by looking at what feedback is, and the types of feedback that can be useful for refining your application once it’s been deployed. Starting with exception or error feedback we saw how a loop should be designed to integrate with development workflows. We then learned how diagnostic feedback could be incorporated into mobile and desktop apps using App Center. Then we analyzed those exceptions and saw how to use those exception events to send notifications and create work items that were integrated with Azure DevOps and GitHub. For web applications we saw how exception data could be pulled from Application Insights telemetry metrics. We set up alert rules that would send notifications via email or integrate directly with third party systems. Again, we learned how work items created in Application Insights could be fed through into Azure DevOps and then appear in Visual Studio Team Explorer for actioning.
We need a way to easily assess the state of our development workflow and with Azure DevOps we can use the dashboard facility to create a custom dashboard with a variety of graphical widgets.
Feature and usage is the next feedback element we examined. Using Application Insights, we can monitor the performance of an application not only in system performance terms, but also how users interact with it. The live metrics feature let us see real time usage. This is valuable information from a UI perspective. It allows to see whether the app is fulfilling its objectives in terms of conversion, and also is the application intuitive to use. This is valuable information for assessing efficacy of features, or whether those features need to be made more prominent within the application, or perhaps removed as they are redundant. Application Insights tells us where in the world and what operating system and browser is running our app.
Next, we went back to the App Center to see how we could implement event tracking and analytics in non-browser applications. Using the TrackEvent statement sprinkled liberally through an application you can see events being logged, and the log flow lets you see those events being triggered in real time.
User feedback is the final element in the feedback trio. This ranges from help desk contacts which are easy to categorize and integrate with workflows, through in app ratings and questionnaires, to forums and social media. Each of types of feedback have their pros and cons which more or less lie along the dimension of information accessibility versus information richness. Ratings are easy to deal with but are one dimensional. Questionnaires and surveys have more information, but the participants are self-selecting and normally have an axe to grind. Social media is where the unvarnished truth lies, but that is the most difficult to extract and integrate.
To make really good use of all this feedback data we need to know how it relates to our baseline state. We can use the feedback tools to arrive at baselines by analyzing historical data and monitoring changes over time. In the context of alerts the data coming in is dense and it will contain a fair amount of noise, so we saw how set up filtering to be notified of real events.
Using a combination of App Center, Application Insight and Azure DevOps you can build feedback collection and workflow integration solutions that will help you implement continuous feedback with relative ease.
About the Author
Hallam is a software architect with over 20 years experience across a wide range of industries. He began his software career as a Delphi/Interbase disciple but changed his allegiance to Microsoft with its deep and broad ecosystem. While Hallam has designed and crafted custom software utilizing web, mobile and desktop technologies, good quality reliable data is the key to a successful solution. The challenge of quickly turning data into useful information for digestion by humans and machines has led Hallam to specialize in database design and process automation. Showing customers how leverage new technology to change and improve their business processes is one of the key drivers keeping Hallam coming back to the keyboard.