HockeyApp to Azure Application Insights

HockeyApp: Creating a bridge to the cloud

HockeyApp is an awesome tool when it comes to crash reporting, user metrics, beta app distribution and collecting user feedback. The SDK is very easy to integrate and there also is tooling available to integrate HockeyApp in your CI/CD pipeline.

In 2016, when Microsoft announced (Visual Studio) Mobile Center, it also became clear that HockeyApp will become part of this new full-fledged platform for mobile development. Therefor Microsoft is now focussing on integrating HockeyApp in Mobile Center and HockeyApp itself isn’t getting new features.

If you are currently at the point where you need to choose a tool for crash reporting and user metrics, and you don’t want to use the preview of Mobile Center, HockeyApp is probably still the way to go. One great advantage of HockeyApp is that when Mobile Center becomes general available, the migration will be seamless. Also if you want to analyze and visualize your event data in ways other than are currently available in HockeyApp, you are able to create a bridge to Azure Application Insights. This will allow you to create your own dashboards and get fine-grained control of your data and metrics. You can even export to your own data storage through Application Insights! For now it’s only possible to export events and traces, but exporting crashes is on the roadmap for Mobile Center.

Application Insights
Application Insights is an extensible analytics platform that helps you monitoring your performance and metrics. When connecting HockeyApp to Azure Application Insights the raw data of logged events and traces will become available for querying. Based on these queries you’ll be able to create your own dashboards!

Setting up the connection between HockeyApp and Application Insights is pretty straightforward:

  1. First, create a API in your HockeyApp account settings:
  2. When the API key is created, you need to create a resource in the Azure portal. The Application Insights resource can be found in the Developer Tools category. After selecting Application Insights, the form will show up and ASP.net web application will be selected as default application type. After selecting “HockeyApp bridge app”, the form will change and show the required fields for a HockeyApp bridge. First of all you need to paste the (previously created) API key in the “Token” field. Azure will automatically load your apps from HockeyApp, so you only have to choose an app and fill in the other fields. If you ever created an Azure resource this should be fairly easy.
  3. After clicking Create, you’re all set! Yes, it’s really that easy!
    To see your data you can simply open Application Insights from the Azure portal or navigate directly to https://analytics.applicationinsights.io/ and log in with your Microsoft account.

When your bridge app collected some data, you will be able to start analyzing and visualizing by creating queries. Queries can be created with the Analytics query language, which might be a bit tricky in the beginning, but the documentation will help you get started. To give you a feeling of what it looks like, this query will return all events from the US:

 customEvents | where client_CountryOrRegion == "United States" 

By default the data is visualized in a table, but with a few clicks you can transform this into a beautiful chart. You can even customize these visualizations to suit your needs!

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