5 minute read

Background

Until recently, we used our custom tool to notify about errors from apps to our Slack channel to see their details.

One of the problems we had was that it notified the same error multiple times in a row and then flooded our channel.
Since we also had no particular tracking of errors, we couldn’t know

  • when an error happened first
  • how many times it happened
  • when an error stopped appearing, etc
    It was also difficult to manage the errors.

Error tracking tools

There are many error tracking tools which focus on managing errors and helping you solve them.
So we tried two of them: AirBrake and Rollbar.

AirBrake

AirBrake has been pretty popular in Ruby and Rails community for a long time.

Pros:

  • Very simple, basically it’s exception_notifier gem as a service.
  • Deployment tracking is a very nice addition to our previous setup. We can now detect which version is responsible for each bug.

Cons:

  • Tends to report too many errors, like a broken pipe on a rails console in ssh is maybe too much. :)
  • Their pricing is weird, they charge based on the number of events per minute, if you use more than the limit they stop reporting errors for the remainder of the minute.

Rollbar

Rollbar is a new service. But it has many features and supports many platforms.

Pros:

  • They have a pretty cool free plan: 5000 errors/month, and the minimum paid plan costs the same as the one from Airbrake.
  • Client side error reporting! And there is nothing to do, basically just setting a enable_js = true and it’s done. :)
  • Tracking clients with a lot of information. You can easily see which user got which error.
  • Deployment tracking is slightly better than AirBrake, we get a notification on slack for each deployment. :)
  • You can mute exceptions by clicking on one button, whereas in AirBrake you have to add a filter inside the configuration.
  • They have a “community solution” tab which automatically searches solutions for your exception online.
  • You can use SQL queries to search for exceptions.

Cons

  • UI of the dashboard can be slightly cluttered with information sometimes, but better to have a lot of information than not sufficient information in this type of service. :P

Conclusion

After trying both for a few weeks, we decided to use Rollbar because of the better plan and the nicer features, and it has been working well so far.
These error tracking tools help your troubleshooting and encourage you to keep your applications stable.
We solved all our errors in a few weeks using these tools.
And I recommend you to try and find the one that fits your project :)

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