Article (Scientific journals)
CDA: Characterising Deprecated Android APIs
li, li; Gao, Jun; Bissyande, Tegawendé François D Assise et al.
2020In Empirical Software Engineering, 24 (118), p. 1-41
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Keywords :
Android; Deprecated APIs; CDA
Abstract :
[en] Because of functionality evolution, or security and performance-related changes, some APIs eventually become unnecessary in a software system and thus need to be cleaned to ensure proper maintainability. Those APIs are typically marked first as deprecated APIs and, as recommended, follow through a deprecated-replace-remove cycle, giving an opportunity to client application developers to smoothly adapt their code in next updates. Such a mechanism is adopted in the Android framework development where thousands of reusable APIs are made available to Android app developers. In this work, we present a research-based prototype tool called CDA and apply it to different revisions (i.e., releases or tags) of the Android framework code for characterising deprecated APIs. Based on the data mined by CDA, we then perform an empirical study on API deprecation in the Android ecosystem and the associated challenges for maintaining quality apps. In particular, we investigate the prevalence of deprecated APIs, their annotations and documentation, their removal and consequences, their replacement messages, developer reactions to API deprecation, as well as the evolution of the usage of deprecated APIs. Experimental results reveal several findings that further provide promising insights related to deprecated Android APIs. Notably, by mining the source code of the Android framework base, we have identified three bugs related to deprecated APIs. These bugs have been quickly assigned and positively appreciated by the framework maintainers, who claim that these issues will be updated in future releases.
Disciplines :
Computer science
Author, co-author :
li, li;  Monash University > Faculty of Information Technology
Gao, Jun ;  University of Luxembourg > Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SNT)
Bissyande, Tegawendé François D Assise  ;  University of Luxembourg > Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SNT)
Ma, Lei;  Harbin Institute of Technology
Xia, Xin
Klein, Jacques ;  University of Luxembourg > Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SNT) > TruX
External co-authors :
yes
Language :
English
Title :
CDA: Characterising Deprecated Android APIs
Publication date :
11 January 2020
Journal title :
Empirical Software Engineering
ISSN :
1573-7616
Publisher :
Kluwer Academic Publishers, Netherlands
Volume :
24
Issue :
118
Pages :
1-41
Peer reviewed :
Peer Reviewed verified by ORBi
Focus Area :
Security, Reliability and Trust
Available on ORBilu :
since 22 January 2021

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