This article was sponsored by CloudApp. Thank you for supporting the partners who make SitePoint possible.
Fast, agile, flexible software development is vital to any modern business — you need to get your products built, tested, launched, and sold — ASAP. Optimizing your development, review, and testing processes makes a huge difference to your speed to market and competitive advantage.
Unfortunately, software bugs and development errors are a way of life — they are unexpected by their very nature. Optimizing for fixing software bugs can be difficult, but it’s not impossible. One easy way to make your bug fixing process smoother and more efficient is to use a cloud based service called CloudApp.
CloudApp — What it is and What it Does
CloudApp is a tool that allows you to easily create, annotate, and share screenshots, GIFs, and screen recordings with others. It works as follows:
- You identify something you need to share visually with others.
- You capture the image in the most appropriate way — as a static screenshot, a short GIF, or an extended screen recording. These are known in CloudApp as “drops.”
- You annotate the image with text, arrows, emojis, lines, and other shapes to add context and information.
- You upload the image and annotation to CloudApp’s service and get a link to the image.
- You send/share the link to others — they can then access and review the information, make comments, and act on it.
CloudApp — Other Features
CloudApp has several other useful features:
- Drag, drop, organize and work with many different file types including large files, documents, code snippets, audio, zip archives, and more.
- Search by image, color, and other visual attributes to quickly locate specific image files.
- Share securely and control who has access to image files.
- Integration with Trello (productivity tool), JIRA (bug tracking and development), Slack (communications), and ZenDesk (customer support).
- Capture from browser tabs (for SaaS products) or native Windows and Mac software.
- Works across multiple environments — staging, development, testing, production, and more.
Benefits of Using CloudApp in Software Development
As you can imagine, the ability to capture and record from a screen makes bug capturing and reporting much easier.
- Capture bugs directly from within the app, as they occur.
- Record exactly what process needs to happen to recreate the bug.
- Capture error messages or other visual artifacts created by the bug.
- Add annotations including text and other shapes to highlight the bug and its impact.
- Share images with other developers to allow team-wide efforts to identify and resolve bugs.
- Work with developers at remote locations and different time zones.
- Speed up identification and fixing of bugs.
- Compare screens and recordings before, during, and after the bug fix.
- Give access to testers and reviewers to help them capture bugs during various test cases.
- Don’t just rely on verbal or text descriptions of bugs and their impact.
CloudApp estimates that bug fixes can be up to three times faster when using CloudApp in parallel with a tool like JIRA or Trello.
A Process Flow for Identifying and Fixing Bugs with CloudApp
Here’s how an efficient bug identification, review, and fix process might work using CloudApp with its Trello or JIRA integrations.
- A development cycle or sprint finishes.
- End users and testers test the usability, functionality, and other aspects of the latest software iteration.
- They find a bug during testing.
- They capture the bug using CloudApp, attempting to replicate what they did to cause the bug to occur.
- They annotate the image or recording using CloudApp’s built-in annotation tools.
- They upload the image (drop) and CloudApp transfers it into Trello or JIRA and applies the necessary metadata to it (such as tracking number and assignee).
- The bug is worked on as part of the normal software development process in the next sprint.
- End users and testers attempt to replicate the bug based on the previous information they captured in CloudApp.
- If the bug is fixed, they mark it as such. If it is not fixed, or has changed they indicate this in the bug reporting tool.
- This continues through the software development and testing lifecycles.
Software Development Use Cases for CloudApp
CloudApp has applications across the entirety of the software development lifecycle, from concept through to launch and beyond. Whether you use agile and lean development, or a more traditional project approach, CloudApp can support your workflow. Here are some potential use cases.
Concept and Design
CloudApp can be used at the start of a project to get everyone on the same page.
- Use CloudApp to share early mockups and wireframes of design.
- Work with business analysts to ensure visual and usability requirements in the software can be met.
- Establish a visual framework and language early in the development lifecycle so everyone is working to a common goal.
Functionality, Analysis, and Requirements
CloudApp works well to ensure business specifications are properly understood and met.
- Ensure that key underlying functionality is supported by appropriate visual design.
- Develop software and screen flows that completely support user needs and requirements.
- Analyze the way that typical users navigate through the app to identify potential issues and efficiency improvements.
Software Development and Build
CloudApp empowers software development teams to work together effectively, even across remote locations.
- Identify and capture bugs early in the development process when it’s quicker and easier to fix them.
- Collaborate with team members across multiple locations and time zones.
- Supports rapid product and module iterations.
- Compare the latest build with previous versions to identify further improvements.
Interdependent Software Development and Integration
Software development doesn’t happen in isolation any more. CloudApp can help you catch and resolve issues with interdependent hardware and software.
- Capture details of configurations and interfaces between software or hardware.
- Identify cross-platform issues early to allow for a quick fix and minimal impact on production environments.
- Test and capture bugs and issues across multiple devices.
Functional and User Acceptance Testing
CloudApp is an essential tool when it comes to testing applications in real-world situations.
- Test that everything in the product works as it should and supports functionality requirements.
- Capture how users move through the app and ensure it supports them in the correct way.
- View how the app is presented across multiple environments, platforms and use cases to ensure it is fit-for-purpose.
User Experience and User Interface Development
A flawless UX is vital to good software, CloudApp makes that easier to understand and enhance.
- Capture exactly how users interact with every part of the software application.
- Identify and fix design and interface quirks.
- Optimize navigation, screen flow, and other aspects of using the software.
Even after an app has launched CloudApp can still be useful.
- Capture and identify bugs in the production version of an application.
- Use ZenDesk integration to easily capture and upload bug images and reports to support tickets.
- Support incident fix and root cause analysis to provide better IT services.
CloudApp Support and Real World Use Cases
CloudApp has a dedicated support team and knowledge base to get you up-and-running quickly. They also highlight a number of real world use cases that can provide inspiration on how you can use the app in your organization. Of course, CloudApp isn’t just limited to software development, it can be used to share images of every kind — it’s very useful for creative development, marketing, process visualization, and many other business functions.
Is CloudApp Right For Your Development Team?
The best way to integrate CloudApp into your software development workflow is to try it out for yourself. You can get a 14 day free trial for yourself and other members of your team. Pricing for CloudApp is good value, considering how much time and effort it can save, and runs from $8 to $17 per user, per month. Give it a try, you will be glad you did!
After you’ve installed the app, download our free printable CloudApp cheat sheet to help you learn its features and shortcuts faster.