Characterising deprecated android APIs

Li Li, Jun Gao, Tegawende Bissyande, Lei Ma, Xin Xia, Jacques Klein

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review

Abstract

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-replaceremove 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 exploratory 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, as well as developer reactions to API deprecation. Experimental results reveal several findings that further provide promising insights for future research directions 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.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings - 2018 ACM/IEEE 15th International Conference on Mining Software Repositories
Subtitle of host publicationMSR 2018 - Gothenburg, Sweden, 28-29 May 2018
EditorsYasutaka Kamei, Emily Hill
Place of PublicationNew York NY USA
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Pages254-264
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9781450357166
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 May 2018
EventIEEE International Working Conference on Mining Software Repositories 2018 - Gothenburg, Sweden
Duration: 28 May 201829 May 2018
Conference number: 15th

Publication series

NameProceedings - International Conference on Software Engineering
ISSN (Print)0270-5257

Conference

ConferenceIEEE International Working Conference on Mining Software Repositories 2018
Abbreviated titleMSR 2018
CountrySweden
CityGothenburg
Period28/05/1829/05/18

Cite this

Li, L., Gao, J., Bissyande, T., Ma, L., Xia, X., & Klein, J. (2018). Characterising deprecated android APIs. In Y. Kamei, & E. Hill (Eds.), Proceedings - 2018 ACM/IEEE 15th International Conference on Mining Software Repositories: MSR 2018 - Gothenburg, Sweden, 28-29 May 2018 (pp. 254-264). (Proceedings - International Conference on Software Engineering). New York NY USA: Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). https://doi.org/10.1145/3196398.3196419
Li, Li ; Gao, Jun ; Bissyande, Tegawende ; Ma, Lei ; Xia, Xin ; Klein, Jacques. / Characterising deprecated android APIs. Proceedings - 2018 ACM/IEEE 15th International Conference on Mining Software Repositories: MSR 2018 - Gothenburg, Sweden, 28-29 May 2018. editor / Yasutaka Kamei ; Emily Hill. New York NY USA : Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), 2018. pp. 254-264 (Proceedings - International Conference on Software Engineering).
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title = "Characterising deprecated android APIs",
abstract = "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-replaceremove 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 exploratory 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, as well as developer reactions to API deprecation. Experimental results reveal several findings that further provide promising insights for future research directions 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.",
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Li, L, Gao, J, Bissyande, T, Ma, L, Xia, X & Klein, J 2018, Characterising deprecated android APIs. in Y Kamei & E Hill (eds), Proceedings - 2018 ACM/IEEE 15th International Conference on Mining Software Repositories: MSR 2018 - Gothenburg, Sweden, 28-29 May 2018. Proceedings - International Conference on Software Engineering, Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), New York NY USA, pp. 254-264, IEEE International Working Conference on Mining Software Repositories 2018, Gothenburg, Sweden, 28/05/18. https://doi.org/10.1145/3196398.3196419

Characterising deprecated android APIs. / Li, Li; Gao, Jun; Bissyande, Tegawende ; Ma, Lei; Xia, Xin; Klein, Jacques.

Proceedings - 2018 ACM/IEEE 15th International Conference on Mining Software Repositories: MSR 2018 - Gothenburg, Sweden, 28-29 May 2018. ed. / Yasutaka Kamei; Emily Hill. New York NY USA : Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), 2018. p. 254-264 (Proceedings - International Conference on Software Engineering).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review

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Li L, Gao J, Bissyande T, Ma L, Xia X, Klein J. Characterising deprecated android APIs. In Kamei Y, Hill E, editors, Proceedings - 2018 ACM/IEEE 15th International Conference on Mining Software Repositories: MSR 2018 - Gothenburg, Sweden, 28-29 May 2018. New York NY USA: Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). 2018. p. 254-264. (Proceedings - International Conference on Software Engineering). https://doi.org/10.1145/3196398.3196419