If you're an Android user, you've no doubt encountered the famous "force close" screen. For those that aren't familiar with this, it's caused by an unhandled exception in an Android program, causing it to "crash". This pops up a dialog with one option: Force Close.
Unfortunately, "Force Close"'s on the Android platform are inevitable.
From a developer's perspective, there's nothing more annoying than a 1-start rating, with the comment "Force close". It tells us nothing about what happened, and only serves to lower our credibility as developers rather than helping us build better apps.
So, to help us out, here are a few tips for getting your app fixed.
1) Send us an email
Make sure to include the following information: Phone Model (ie:Motorola Droid), Version Number (if applicable), and a brief description of what happened when the program force closed. This can go a long way in helping us figure out what happened.
2) Use the Log Collector app to send us a copy of the stack trace
The "Log Collector" is an open source program available through the Android market, and running this after a crash is probably the most helpful thing you can do. By sending us a copy of the stack trace, you're sending us a snapshot of the events that lead up to the crash, as well as detailed data about the crash itself.
To use the Log Collector effectively, make sure you run our app first, then run the log collector immediately after the "force close". This ensures that we get the data for our app, and not someone else's. Then, just fill in our email address, and that's it.
3) Download and run the Advanced Task Manager (ATM) application
The ability to run multiple processes at once is both a blessing and a curse in Android. To make sure that the problem really is with our app and not another backgrounded one, download and run the Advanced Task Manager (ATM)
ATM is available through the Android market for free, and allows you to close multiple tasks. I recommend killing only the tasks that you personally opened, just to make sure you don't kill off anything important. Kill all unnecessary apps except for the one you want to debug. Then, run the app again to make sure it still force closes. If it does, see number 2.
Thanks to everyone for all of your support. We look forward to improving our own apps, and hope that by promoting these steps we can improve the entire Android market experience.