RNR 142: Battling Bugs with James Smith

00:00 57:18
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In this episode of React Native Radio Charles Max Wood interviews James Smith, the co-founder, and CEO of Bugsnag. James gives Bugsnag’s background and explains what makes it different than other bug-finding tools. He shares statistics on how much bugs cost. Developers spend on average 17.3 hrs per week dealing with bad code, 85 billion dollars in GDP dollars are lost to bad code every year and most customers leave an app after two crashes, harming your brand.

Chuck and James consider when and why customers leave reviews. They consider how reviews help in finding and fixing bugs. They discuss how helpful it would be if they could communicate with unhappy customers to help them find bugs. James explains how Bugsnag can help with this by replicating user interactions to find what steps led to a bug.

James explains what to once all the data has been gathered and the best processes for actually fixing the bugs. This process stems on establishing ownership and identifying priority bugs. Although QAs and QEs are getting more common, James recommends empowering the engineering team to fix bugs. Chuck and James consider the idea of a bug sheriff, a rotating position who holds the responsibility of determining priorities and ownership.

They consider how these processes could lower the number of bugs and teach developers to better handle bugs. James explains that “zero bugs” is an impossible goal because there will always be more bugs, the hope is to stay on top of them so the team can reach new velocity. Performance bugs are considered and James explains how these can be measured and improved each release.


  • Charles Max Wood


  • James Smith



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Charles Max Wood:

James Smith:


What is BugSnag?

A tool that figures out if your software is working and what the problem is and how many customers are affected.

What makes BugSnag different from other tools?

They do full-stack and help to know which bugs need to be fixed.

What process does James suggest?

He recommends empowering the engineering team to fix bugs.

What is the debugging problem is specific to React Native?

When converting old apps to React Native to share code across platforms, debugging may need to happen in more than one language.

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