An empirical analysis of bug reports and bug fixing in open source Android apps

Pamela Bhattacharya, Liudmila Ulanova, Iulian Neamtiu, Sai Charan Koduru

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

57 Scopus citations

Abstract

Smartphone platforms and applications (apps) have gained tremendous popularity recently. Due to the novelty of the smartphone platform and tools, and the low barrier to entry for app distribution, apps are prone to errors, which affects user experience and requires frequent bug fixes. An essential step towards correcting this situation is understanding the nature of the bugs and bug-fixing processes associated with smartphone platforms and apps. However, prior empirical bug studies have focused mostly on desktop and server applications. Therefore, in this paper, we perform an in-depth empirical study on bugs in the Google Android smartphone platform and 24 widely-used open-source Android apps from diverse categories such as communication, tools, and media. Our analysis has three main thrusts. First, we define several metrics to understand the quality of bug reports and analyze the bug-fix process, including developer involvement. Second, we show how differences in bug life-cycles can affect the bug-fix process. Third, as Android devices carry significant amounts of security-sensitive information, we perform a study of Android security bugs. We found that, although contributor activity in these projects is generally high, developer involvement decreases in some projects, similarly, while bug-report quality is high, bug triaging is still a problem. Finally, we observe that in Android apps, security bug reports are of higher quality but get fixed slower than non-security bugs. We believe that the findings of our study could potentially benefit both developers and users of Android apps.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 17th European Conference on Software Maintenance and Reengineering, CSMR 2013
Pages133-143
Number of pages11
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes
Event17th European Conference on Software Maintenance and Reengineering, CSMR 2013 - Genova, Italy
Duration: Mar 5 2013Mar 8 2013

Publication series

NameProceedings of the European Conference on Software Maintenance and Reengineering, CSMR
ISSN (Print)1534-5351

Other

Other17th European Conference on Software Maintenance and Reengineering, CSMR 2013
Country/TerritoryItaly
CityGenova
Period3/5/133/8/13

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software

Keywords

  • Google Android
  • bug fixing
  • bug reports
  • empirical studies
  • security bugs
  • smartphone apps

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