The worst thing about Android, in my opinion, is how they handle bug reporting from Developers

Android Developer Bug? Don't see, don't hear, don't speak...

Image gimped and android-ized by me, credits of the original image to Chris & Crec (see below)

WARNING: this is a RANT, wrote during frustration and doesn’t really apply to everything in the Android world, actually Android developers cares a lot about others developers and are doing their best to makes things better and fix things. It’s just hard to fix everything 😉

As an example I’ve sometimes seen the following pattern:
1. Developer report a bug
2. The bug is confirmed by many other used / starred
3. Google SILENTLY close it as not reproducible
4. Users complains
5. No response is given
6. Users open a new bug

At this point Google may actually fix it or close it again as duplicated, in the folowing example they ignored it leaving in state “New” the bug.

Just as a random example; today, while I was thinking looking into using the Android sharedUserId for a new application I guessed what would happen if I had to suddenly use it in an existing application, and I stumbled into this:

Reported in the late Nov 8, 2008 was closed as Unreproducible in Aug 2009.

Reading comments many people actually confirmed the issue so I searched harder and… Guess what? the bug is real..
And is a big deal (back on this later), it’s been reopened after a while (2011):

And currently in state “New”.

The bug is not something minor.. If you happen to release an app on Google Play and then later you add a shareUserId manifest property what actually happen is that your application data is no more accessible after upgrading.

Would you, as an Android developer, be willing to say that you can make the right choice the shared user id in all of your app and you will never need to change it?
This didn’t happened to me, yet… But if I ever found my self in the need of adding / changing a sharedUserId on some of my Apps I would be facing the issue with no proper way out of it.

And that’s a know problem since 2008!

What Google / Android is failing to do here is a simple thing: ask for more information if you can’t reproduce a bug, do not simply close it!

On the particular issue I think the best thing I can do is start using the same sharedUserId for all of my application, just in case, but I’m not sure if this is a good idea either; anyway it’s probably better than leaving the app without one.

Image Credits
I used this image:
All rights are reserved to Chris & Crec

I modified that image using Gimp:
I added the Android background (just amatour job)
Couldn’t find the author of the Android image to give him credit / ask for permission.

What do you think? Similar experiences?


About mastro

my name is Daniele Segato (@borninbronx), know in the web with the nickname mastro (long boring story). I'm an Italian developer with a degree in computer science that use Linux for fun and for work. I'm currently developing in Android and Java and I use gentoo at home and debian at work.
This entry was posted in Android, Android Development, Development, Rant and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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