Do energy-oriented changes hinder maintainability?

Luis Cruz, Rui Abreu, John Grundy, Li Li, Xin Xia

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

16 Citations (Scopus)


Energy efficiency is a crucial quality requirement for mobile applications. However, improving energy efficiency is far from trivial as developers lack the knowledge and tools to aid in this activity. In this paper we study the impact of changes to improve energy efficiency on the maintainability of Android applications. Using a dataset containing 539 energy efficiency-oriented commits, we measure maintainability- A s computed by the Software Improvement Group's web-based source code analysis service Better Code Hub (BCH)-before and after energy efficiency-related code changes. Results show that in general improving energy efficiency comes with a significant decrease in maintainability. This is particularly evident in code changes to accommodate the Power Save Mode and Wakelock Addition energy patterns. In addition, we perform manual analysis to assess how real examples of energy-oriented changes affect maintainability. Our results help mobile app developers to 1) avoid common maintainability issues when improving the energy efficiency of their apps; and 2) adopt development processes to build maintainable and energy-efficient code. We also support researchers by identifying challenges in mobile app development that still need to be addressed.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings - 2019 IEEE International Conference on Software Maintenance and Evolution, ICSME 2019
EditorsMiryung Kim, Árpád Beszédes
Place of PublicationPiscataway NJ USA
PublisherIEEE, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781728130941
ISBN (Print)9781728130958
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventIEEE International Conference on Software Maintenance and Evolution 2019 - Cleveland, United States of America
Duration: 30 Sept 20194 Oct 2019
Conference number: 35th (Proceedings)


ConferenceIEEE International Conference on Software Maintenance and Evolution 2019
Abbreviated titleICSME 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited States of America
Internet address


  • Energy Efficiency
  • Mobile Computing
  • Software Maintenance

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