How to integrate HockeyApp with Xamarin

Version 5.0.0

  • Please have a look at the Changelog.
  • The Xamarin SDK wrapps our native SDKs, HockeySDK-iOS 5.0.0 and HockeySDK-Android 5.0.2.

  • If you are targeting iOS: The HockeyApp Xamarin SDK includes the full version of the native HockeySDKs with all features. For iOS, this means that you must include the key NSPhotoLibraryUsageDescription in your app's Info.plist file - otherwise you risk an App Store rejection. Please read up on our blog on the reason behind this change. This does not apply to the iOS CrashOnly variant of SDK, as this is not including the feedback feature.

Introduction

HockeySDK-Xamarin implements support for HockeyApp in your iOS and Android applications.
Please have a look at the native platform SDKs HockeySDK-iOS and HockeySDK-Android for advanced platform-specific behaviors.

The following features are currently supported:

  1. Collect crash reports: If your app crashes, a crash log is written to the device's storage. If the user starts the app again, they will be asked asked to submit the crash report to HockeyApp. This works for both beta and live apps, i.e. those submitted to the App Store. Crash logs contain viable information for you to help resolve the issue. Furthermore, you as a developer can add additional information to the report as well.

  2. User Metrics: Understand user behavior to improve your app. Track usage through daily and monthly active users. Monitor crash impacted users. Measure customer engagement through session count. You can also track custom events and view the aggregate results on the HockeyApp dashboard.

  3. Update Ad-Hoc / Enterprise apps: The app will check with HockeyApp if a new version for your Ad-Hoc or Enterprise build is available. If yes, it will show an alert view to the user and let him see the release notes, the version history and start the installation process right away.

  4. Update notification for app store: The app will check if a new version for your app store release is available. If yes, it will show an alert view to the user and let him open your app in the App Store app. (Disabled by default!)

  5. Feedback: Besides crash reports, collecting feedback from your users from within your app is a great option to help with improving your app. You act on and answer feedback directly from the HockeyApp backend.

  6. Authenticate: To help you stay in control of closed tester groups, you can identify and authenticate users against your registered testers with the HockeyApp backend. The authentication feature supports several ways of authentication.

This document contains the following sections:

  1. Requirements
  2. Setup
    1. Obtain an App Identifier
    2. Integrate HockeySDK
    3. Add crash reporting
    4. Add user metrics
    5. Add custom events
    6. Add Update Distribution
    7. Add in-app feedback
    8. Add authentication
  3. Advanced setup
    1. Adding App ID to manifest (Android-Only)
    2. Permissions (Android-Only)
    3. Control output to LogCat
    4. Xamarin.Forms Project Integrate HockeySDK
  4. Documentation
  5. Troubleshooting
  6. FAQ
  7. Contributing
    1. Code of Conduct
    2. Contributor license
  8. Contact

1. Requirements

  1. We assume that you have a project in Xamarin Studio or Xamarin for Visual Studio.
  2. We assume you are not using other crash-analytic services on the same mobile application simultaneously.

Currently, the following platforms are supported:

  • Xamarin.iOS
  • Xamarin.Android

2. Setup

2.1 Obtain an App Identifier

Please see the "How to create a new app" tutorial. This will provide you with an HockeyApp specific App Identifier to be used to initialize the SDK.

2.2 Integrate the SDK

For each iOS and Android project desired, add the HockeySDK-Xamarin nuget package.

For Xamarin Studio

  1. Navigate to Project -> Add NuGet Packages...
  2. Search for HockeySDK.Xamarin

For Xamarin for Visual Studio

  1. Navigate Project -> Manage NuGet Packages...
  2. Search HockeySDK.Xamarin

2.3 Add crash reporting

This will add crash reporting capabilities to your app. Advanced ways to configure crash reporting are covered in advanced setup: iOS | Android

For iOS

  1. Open your AppDelegate.cs file.
  2. Add the following lines:
using HockeyApp.iOS;

namespace YourNameSpace {

 [Register("AppDelegate")]
 public partial class AppDelegate : UIApplicationDelegate {
 
  public override bool FinishedLaunching(UIApplication application, NSDictionary launchOptions) {
   var manager = BITHockeyManager.SharedHockeyManager;
   manager.Configure("$Your_App_Id");
   manager.StartManager();
   manager.Authenticator.AuthenticateInstallation(); // This line is obsolete in crash only builds
  }
 }
}

Please make sure to replace $Your_App_Id with the app identifier of your app, otherwise it will not work.

For Android

  1. Open your MainActivity.cs file.
  2. Add the following lines:
using HockeyApp.Android;

namespace YourNameSpace {

  [Activity(Label = "Your.App", MainLauncher = true, Icon = "@mipmap/icon")]
  public class MainActivity : Activity
  { 
     protected override void OnResume ()
     {
        base.OnResume ();
        CrashManager.Register(this, "$Your_App_Id");
     }
  }
}

Please make sure to replace $Your_App_Id with the app identifier of your app, otherwise it will not work.

When the app is resumed, the crash manager is triggered and checks if a new crash was created in a previous session. If yes, it presents a dialog to ask the user whether they want to send the crash log to HockeyApp. On app launch the crash manager registers a new exception handler to recognize app crashes.

2.4 Add user metrics

HockeyApp automatically provides you with nice, intelligible, and informative metrics about how your app is used and by whom.

  • Sessions: A new session is tracked by the SDK whenever the containing app is restarted (this refers to a 'cold start', i.e. when the app has not already been in memory prior to being launched) or whenever it becomes active again after having been in the background for 20 seconds or more.
  • Users: The SDK anonymously tracks the users of your app by creating a random UUID.
  • Batching & offline behavior: The SDK batches up to 50 events or waits for 15 seconds and then persists and sends the events, whichever comes first. So for sessions, this might actually mean, we send one single event per batch. If you are sending Custom Events, it can be 1 session event plus X of your Custom Events (up to 50 events per batch total). In case the device is offline, up to 50 batches (of up to 50 events) are stored until the SDK starts to reject and drop new events, logging an error.

For iOS

On iOS, the random UUID ist securely stored in the keychain. On iOS, User Metrics is enabled by default. If you want to turn off User Metrics, please use the following code:

// add the HockeyApp namespace
using HockeyApp.iOS;

// in your FinishedLaunching-method add:
var manager = BITHockeyManager.SharedHockeyManager;
manager.Configure("$Your_App_Id");
manager.DisableMetricsManager = true;
manager.StartManager();

It is important that you set DisableMetricsManager before you start the manager.

For Android

On Android, User Metrics is not automatically enabled, you have to start this explicitly yourself:

// add the HockeyApp namespace
using HockeyApp.Android.Metrics;

// in your main activity OnCreate-method add:
MetricsManager.Register(Application, "$Your_App_Id");

2.5 Add custom events

HockeyApp allows you to track custom events to understand user actions inside your app.

Properties and measurements added to Custom Events are available in Application Insights Analytics as a preview. Please have a look at the public announcement to find out more.

Please note: To use custom events, please first make sure that User Metrics is set up correctly for your platform (e.g. you registered the MetricsManager on Android).

Tracking custom events on iOS and Android uses the same code:

  1. Make sure to add the correct namespace:
    using HockeyApp; using System.Collections.Generic;

  2. Track custom events like this:
    HockeyApp.MetricsManager.TrackEvent("Custom Event"); if you want to add custom properties or measurements, use this:

  HockeyApp.MetricsManager.TrackEvent(
    "Custom Event",
    new Dictionary<string, string> { { "property", "value" } },
    new Dictionary<string, double> { { "time", 1.0 } }
  )

2.6 Add Update Distribution

This will add the in-app update mechanism to your app. Detailed configuration options are in the advanced setup sections for each platform: iOS | Android

For iOS

The feature handles version updates, presents update and version information in an App Store like user interface, collects usage information and provides additional authorization options when using Ad-Hoc provisioning profiles.

To enable automatic in-app updates you need to make sure to add manager.Authenticator.AuthenticateInstallation(); after starting the SDK:

using HockeyApp.iOS;

var manager = BITHockeyManager.SharedHockeyManager;
manager.Configure("$Your_App_Id");
manager.StartManager();
manager.Authenticator.AuthenticateInstallation();

Please note: This module automatically disables itself when running in an App Store build by default.

If you manually want to disable the feature at some point, use this code:

using HockeyApp.iOS;

var manager = BITHockeyManager.SharedHockeyManager;
manager.Configure("$Your_App_Id");
manager.DisableUpdateManager = true;
manager.StartManager();
manager.Authenticator.AuthenticateInstallation();

If you want to see beta analytics, use the beta distribution feature with in-app updates and restrict versions to specific users. Or if you want to know who is actually testing your app, follow the instructions on our guide Authenticating Users on iOS.

For Android

  1. Open the activity where you want to inform the user about eventual updates. Typically you want to do this on startup of your main activity.
  2. Add the following code and make sure to always balance register(…) calls to SDK managers with unregister() calls in the corresponding lifecycle callbacks:
using HockeyApp.Android;

namespace YourNameSpace {
 [Activity(Label = "Your.App", MainLauncher = true, Icon = "@mipmap/icon")]
 public class YourActivity : Activity {
  protected override void OnCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState) {
   base.OnCreate(savedInstanceState);
   // Your own code to create the view
   // ...
    
   CheckForUpdates();
  }

  private void CheckForUpdates() {
   // Remove this for store builds!
   UpdateManager.Register(this, "$Your_App_Id");
  }
  
  private void UnregisterManagers() {
   UpdateManager.Unregister();
  }

  protected override void OnPause() {
   base.OnPause();
   UnregisterManagers();
  }
  
  protected override void OnDestroy() {
   base.OnDestroy();
   UnregisterManagers();
  }
 }
}

When the activity is created, the update manager checks for new updates in the background. If it finds a new update, an alert dialog will be shown. If the user presses Show in said dialog, they will be taken to the update activity. The reason to only do this once upon creation is that the update check causes network traffic and therefore potential costs for your users.

2.7 Add in-app feedback

The feedback manager lets your users communicate directly with you via the app and an integrated user interface. It provides a single threaded discussion with a user running your app. Detailed configuration options are in the advanced setup sections for each platform: iOS | Android

  1. You'll typically only want to show the feedback interface upon user interaction, for this example, we assume you have a button feedbackButton in your view for this.
  2. Add the following lines to your respective view controller/activity, handling the touch events and presenting the feedback interface:

For iOS

You should never create your own instance of BITFeedbackManager but use the one provided by the BITHockeyManager.sharedHockeyManager().

using HockeyApp.iOS;

namespace YourNameSpace {
{

    [Register ("AppDelegate")]
    public partial class AppDelegate : UIApplicationDelegate
    {

        public override bool FinishedLaunching(UIApplication application, NSDictionary launchOptions) {
        {
            // Initialise the Hockey SDK here
            var manager = BITHockeyManager.SharedHockeyManager;
            manager.Configure("$Your_App_Id");
            manager.StartManager();
            
            // Create button and add action for click event
            var app = new App ();
            var ShowFeedbackListViewButton = new Xamarin.Forms.Button {
                Text = "Show Feedback List View"
            };
            ShowFeedbackListViewButton.Clicked += ShowFeedbackList;
            app.AddChild (ShowFeedbackListViewButton);
        }
        
        private static void ShowFeedbackList(object sender, EventArgs e) {
            // This is where the feedback form gets displayed
            var feedbackManager = BITHockeyManager.SharedHockeyManager.FeedbackManager;
            feedbackManager.ShowFeedbackListView ();
        }
    }
}

Please check the documentation of the BITFeedbackManager class on more information on how to leverage this feature.

For Android

  1. You'll typically only want to show the feedback interface upon user interaction, for this example we assume you have a button feedback_button in your view for this.
  2. Add the following lines to your respective activity, handling the touch events and showing the feedback interface:
using HockeyApp.Android;

namespace YourNameSpace {
 public class YourActivity : Activity {
  protected override void OnCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState) {
   base.OnCreate(savedInstanceState);
   // Your own code to create the view
   // ...

   FeedbackManager.Register(this, "$Your_App_Id");

   Button feedbackButton = FindViewById<Button>(Resource.Id.feedback_button);
   feedbackButton.Click += delegate {
     FeedbackManager.ShowFeedbackActivity(ApplicationContext);
   });
  }
}

When the user taps on the feedback button, it will launch the feedback interface of the HockeySDK, where the user can create a new feedback discussion, add screenshots or other files for reference, and act on their previous feedback conversations.

2.8 Add authentication

For iOS

Instructions for iOS Authentication can be found here.

For Android

You can force authentication of your users through the LoginManager class. This will show a login screen to users if they are not fully authenticated to protect your app.

  1. Retrieve your app secret from the HockeyApp backend. You can find this on the app details page in the backend right next to the "App ID" value. Click "Show" to access it.
  2. Open the activity you want to protect, if you want to protect all of your app this will be your main activity.
  3. Add the following lines to this activity:
using HockeyApp.Android;

namespace YourNameSpace {
 [Activity(Label = "Your.App", MainLauncher = true, Icon = "@mipmap/icon")]
 public class YourActivity : Activity {
  protected override void OnCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState) {
   base.OnCreate(savedInstanceState);
   // Your own code to create the view
   // ...

   LoginManager.Register(this, "$APP_SECRET", LoginManager.LOGIN_MODE_EMAIL_PASSWORD);
   LoginManager.VerifyLogin(this, Intent);
  }
 }
}

Make sure to replace $APP_SECRET with the value retrieved in step 1. This will launch the login activity every time a user launches your app.

3. Advanced setup

3.1 Adding App ID to the Android Manifest (Android-Only)

Add the following assembly level attribute in Properties/AssemblyInfo.cs

[assembly: MetaData ("net.hockeyapp.android.appIdentifier", Value="$Your_App_Id")]

This will allow you to set your App ID once and simplify register calls

using HockeyApp.Android;

namespace YourNameSpace
{
    [Activity(Label = "Your.App", MainLauncher = true, Icon = "@mipmap/icon")]
    public class MainActivity : Activity 
    {
        protected override void OnCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState) 
        {
            base.OnCreate(savedInstanceState);

            // ... your own OnCreate implementation
            CrashManager.Register(this);
        }
    }
}

3.2 Permissions (Android-Only)

Permissions get automatically merged into your apps manifest. If your app does not use update distribution, you might consider removing the permission WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE - see the advanced permissions section for details.

3.3 Control output to the Console or LogCat

You can control the amount of log messages from HockeySDK that show up in LogCat/the Console. By default, we keep the noise as low as possible, only errors will show up. To enable additional logging, i.e. while debugging, add the following line of code:

For iOS

using HockeyApp.iOS;

var manager = BITHockeyManager.SharedHockeyManager;
manager.LogLevel = BITLogLevel.Debug;
manager.Configure("$Your_App_Id");
manager.StartManager();

There are five different log levels in total which give you a more granular control over how much information the SDK outputs to the console.

manager.LogLevel = BITLogLevel.Verbose;
manager.LogLevel = BITLogLevel.Debug;
manager.LogLevel = BITLogLevel.Warning;
manager.LogLevel = BITLogLevel.Error;
manager.LogLevel = BITLogLevel.None;

For Android

using HockeyApp.Android.Utils;

HockeyLog.LogLevel = 3;

The different log levels match Android's own log levels.

HockeyLog.LogLevel = 2; // Verbose, show all log statements
HockeyLog.LogLevel = 3; // Debug, show most log statements – useful for debugging
HockeyLog.LogLevel = 4; // Info, show informative or higher log messages
HockeyLog.LogLevel = 5; // Warn, show warnings and errors
HockeyLog.LogLevel = 6; // Error, show only errors – the default log level

3.4 Xamarin.Forms Project Integrate HockeySDK

When adding HockeySDK-Xamarin to a Xamarin.Forms PCL Solution, add the nuget to the PCL, iOS, and Android project (Windows phone is not currently supported).

Initialization must be done in the individual iOS and Android projects as shown in Integrate HockeySDK. The PCL project will have access to a subset of shared non-configuration/initialization features.

Please refer to the Xamarin.Forms sample in /samples/HockeyAppSampleForms.sln.

4. Documentation

Please visit our landing page as a starting point for all of our documentation, changelog, and or troubleshooting section.

The Xamarin SDK wraps our native SDKs – HockeySDK-iOS 5.0.0 and HockeySDK-Android 5.0.2. For more info on advanced, platform-specific behaviors, check out the documentation for HockeySDK-iOS and HockeySDK-Android.

5. Troubleshooting

  1. Check if "$Your_App_Id" matches the App ID in HockeyApp.
  2. Check if the Package name in Project Options->Android Application file matches the Bundle Identifier of the app in HockeyApp. HockeyApp accepts crashes only if both the App ID and the bundle identifier match their corresponding values in your app. Please note that the package value in your AndroidManifest.xml file might differ from the bundle identifier, this is normal.
  3. If your app crashes and you start it again, does the dialog show up which asks the user to send the crash report? If not, please enable logging.
  4. If it still does not work, please contact us.

6. FAQ

6.1 How can I create an .ipa from Xamarin for ad-hoc app distribution through HockeyApp?

See the article on Xamarin's website for how to create an .ipa from Xamarin for ad-hoc app distribution.

6.2 Do I still need to register devices with Apple to test iOS apps with Xamarin for HockeyApp?

Yes, you still need to add your devices to the iOS Dev Center and update your provisioning profile when using Xamarin for iOS apps as described in our Knowledgebase article

6.3 How do we install a HockeyApp application with Xamarin integration on an iOS or Android Device?

This works just like any other app you distribute on HockeyApp by opening the following link from iOS or Android Devices:
https://install.hockeyapp.net

7. Contributing

We're looking forward to your contributions via pull requests on GitHub.

7.1 Development Environment

  • macOS 10.12
  • Xamarin.Android
  • Xamarin.iOS
  • Xcode 9

The file build.cake is the main build script used to compile the SDK source. This script is running on the Cake build system. A bootstrapper.sh file is provided to execute the build without installing cake explicitly.

You can build the source including all samples, nuget packages and components by executing the following command:

sh ./bootstrapper.sh -t all

You can alternatively execute the targets libs, samples, nuget, or components instead of all.

Components

The build script produces 3 separate components that are currently published on the Xamarin Component Store:

  • HockeyApp for iOS
  • HockeyApp for iOS (Crash Only)
  • HockeyApp for Android

NuGet

The build script produces a single NuGet package which contains binaries for and is installable on all the supported platforms.

7.2 Code of Conduct

This project has adopted the Microsoft Open Source Code of Conduct. For more information see the Code of Conduct FAQ or contact opencode@microsoft.com with any additional questions or comments.

7.3 Contributor license

You must sign a Contributor License Agreement before submitting your pull request. To complete the Contributor License Agreement (CLA), you will need to submit a request via the form and then electronically sign the CLA when you receive the email containing the link to the document. You need to sign the CLA only once to cover submission to any Microsoft OSS project.

8. Contact

If you have further questions or are running into trouble that cannot be resolved by any of the steps here, feel free to open an issue on GitHub or contact us at support@hockeyapp.net or in our public Slack channel.