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App monitoring for Windows Phone 8

August 19, 2014

Windows Phone Application Analysis includes the option to monitor your app while exercising its features as an ordinary user would use it.

The goal of app monitoring is to help you to understand the quality of your app, and to give you actionable feedback to improve it. This information helps you to improve your app long before it reaches the end user, and to differentiate it from other apps by its responsiveness and its responsible resource usage.

The app monitoring feature aims to capture all the key metrics that are relevant from a quality perspective, and then to rate your app based on these metrics. The guiding principle is to help you ensure app quality and performance while you’re developing your app, and not just as an afterthought.

App monitoring can help you to identify problems like these:

  • Slow startup time.

  • Slow response time to input, such as scrolling or zooming.

  • High battery drain.

  • Network latency.

  • High cost of network data.

  • Poor performance as the quality of the network signal changes.

  • Out of memory errors caused by high resource usage.

This topic describes the workflow of an app monitoring session.

This topic contains the following sections.

App monitoring is not available for Direct3D apps.

Important noteImportant Note:

To use app monitoring, you have to run your app on a Windows Phone 8 device or emulator. However, you can monitor apps that target Windows Phone 8 or Windows Phone OS 7.1.

To start app monitoring

  1. In Visual Studio, open a Windows Phone project .

  2. Select a Windows Phone 8 device or emulator as the deployment target.

  3. You can run app analysis by using one of the following methods. These methods assume that you have a project open in Visual Studio.

    • From the DEBUG menu, select Start Windows Phone Application Analysis.

    • Press Alt-F1.

  4. Under Monitoring, select App Analysis. Then click Start Session.

    Your app starts to run on the selected emulator or device.

The following illustration shows the options that are available for monitoring when you launch Windows Phone Performance Analysis.

Application analysis options for monitoring

When you’ve gathered an adequate sampling of activities, click End Session.

After you stop the monitoring session, the tool copies, parses, and analyzes the data that it has gathered. Then it displays the All Alerts page.

The All Alerts page displays the number of issues that it has detected, and a report about the behavior characteristics of the app that are most important for a good user experience.

The following items in the Report section indicate the quality level with a colored vertical bar.

Parameter

Green value

Red value

Launch time

Between 0 and 5 seconds.

More than 5 seconds.

Responsiveness

No warnings related to frame rate, user interface stuttering, or responsiveness.

At least 1 warning related to frame rate, user interface stuttering, or responsiveness.

Resume time

(This row is displayed only if you have resumed the app during the monitoring session.)

Between 0 and 2 seconds.

More than 4 seconds.

The following items in the Report section report resources used by the app.

Parameter

Unit of measurement

Total data uploaded

MB

Total data downloaded

MB

Battery remaining

hours

Max memory used

MB

Average memory used

MB

After you review the All Alerts page, click the N Alert(s) link in the Summary section to advance to the Detailed Analysis page.

The Detailed Analysis page of app monitoring results displays graphs and monitoring warnings. For more information about the graph rows and about the terms used in the graphs and warnings, see Windows Phone Application Analysis for Windows Phone 8.

The graph contains the following rows.

  • Frame rate

  • CPU usage %

  • Application responsiveness

  • Network data transfer KBps

  • Battery consumption mAh

  • Memory usage MB

Below the graph, review the Monitoring Warnings, if any issues have been detected.

When you select a portion of a graph, a detailed analysis section appears. This section provides Performance Warnings with details about the performance for the selected time period in a tabular format. The following image shows a section of the graph selected and the resulting display in the detailed performance analysis section.

Windows Phone Profiler, with highlighted timeline

The Observation Summary column contains information about the problem.

To investigate the details of a performance problem, you can expand the options to the right of the Performance Warning menu. The following image shows an example of an expanded Performance Warnings item.

The Windows Phone Profiler's "Breadcrumb" menu

To clear your selection in the graph, click the All Alerts link.

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