Kiwi software detects a billion bugs

TOM PULLAR-STRECKER
Last updated 17:30 24/07/2014
Fairfax NZ
ZAP FOR THAT: Mindscape chief executive John-Daniel Trask has mixed feelings about the success of the company's Raygun tool.

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If you thought ridding the world of buggy software would be a big job, it seems you’d be right.

Wellington technology company Mindscape says its cloud-based error reporting tool has alerted customers to a billion software errors since its launch early last year.

More than 6000 businesses, including Apple-owned music service Beats Music and Microsoft, use the online tool, Raygun, to advise them of bugs in their software. If a customer’s app or software program crashes, a notification is sent to them, via Mindscape’s servers.

Mindscape chief executive John-Daniel Trask admitted to mixed feeling passing the billion-bug milestone, saying it was “totally unacceptable” that there should be so many bugs in the first place. Its customers would be among those who took software quality more seriously, he said.

Businesses that have used the tool had reported significant progress cleaning up software, he said. For example, Beats reduced errors by 95 per cent within two weeks, he said.

Customers’ reporting-profiles tended to be “lumpy”, he said, with bug-levels jumping each time they released new software and then falling as they patched it up.

In most cases, Mindscape’s customers hadn’t used any kind of automated reported tool before they began using Raygun, instead assuming users would contact them if they found a serious issue with their products, he said.

Raygun was Mindscape’s main product, Trask said. The company employs 10 staff but Trask expected that would grow to 30 within a year. Recruiting staff was a challenge in the face of a global skills-shortage in the computer industry, he said.

Mindscape raised $1.4 million earlier this year from investors who included Lance Wiggs’ Punakaiki fund, Trade Me chief operating officer Michael O'Donnell, information technology  commentator Ben Kepes and Woodward Partners analyst Nick Lewis. Trask said it was not currently seeking more capital.

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