Microsoft wants to help Windows developers quickly find and address performance issues that may bog down their applications and frustrate users.
The software maker has launched a new online toolkit that developers can use to gauge how well their software is performing out in the wild and identify bugs and other potential issues that detract from the user experience.
"With the new Windows Desktop Program, developers now have a convenient, one-stop portal to view their desktop application analytics or access the data via an API. Statistics and charts quickly show how the applications are doing—from how many customers they've reached to detailed performance data on crashes and failures," stated Microsoft principal program manager Sonia Carlson, in a Jan. 23 announcement.
"With these analytics, developers can better track and prioritize fixes, monitor the distribution of their application, prepare and improve the overall experience for their customers."
Microsoft is providing these analytics capabilities to developers at no cost. To get started, developers sign up for the Windows Desktop Application Program with a valid Microsoft account and register their organization's certificates.
Once logged in, users can view a summary of application failures, along with the number of times each has occurred. To help with the debugging and optimization process, the service enables users to download stack traces, which is information that helps developers track down code defects.
Developers can also use the application program to see how current versions of their software perform relative to older versions.
The service reports on the health and adoption rate of a latest version of an application, data that can be used to compare against previous releases. Users can also view this information on a regional basis to help isolate problems that may be affecting certain markets.
Finally, developers can use to the toolkit to see how application performance and adoption rates stack up against different versions of Windows, including Windows 10 and Windows Insider early-access builds.
Microsoft isn't the only company bringing advanced analytics capabilities to bear on issues that can affect application performance.
San Francisco-based New Relic introduced a set of application monitoring tools in September 2017 that use big data analytics and machine learning to predict the behavior of Web and mobile applications. Dubbed New Relic Applied Intelligence, the toolset includes components that help users compare and resolve coding errors, or in some cases, avoid them completely.
Of course, sometimes there is only so much a developer can do to guarantee that their applications behave in a responsive manner.
Apple recently came under fire after it was revealed it had used iOS updates to throttle back the performance on iPhones with aging batteries. In a rare move, the Cupertino, Calif. device maker issued an apology and launched a discounted battery-replacement program.
Just after the start of the New Year, the cyber-security community was rocked by the disclosure of Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities in modern computer processors that could potentially give attackers access to sensitive data usually kept under wraps by an operating system's memory isolation features. Not only are IT professionals grappling with the security implications, but also with the potential performance penalty that may result from patching their systems.