On Adopting Linters to Deal with Performance Concerns in Android Apps

Sarra Habchi 1 Xavier Blanc 2, 3 Romain Rouvoy 1, 3
1 SPIRALS - Self-adaptation for distributed services and large software systems
Inria Lille - Nord Europe, CRIStAL - Centre de Recherche en Informatique, Signal et Automatique de Lille (CRIStAL) - UMR 9189
Abstract : With millions of applications (apps) distributed through mobile markets, engaging and retaining end-users challenge Android developers to deliver a nearly perfect user experience. As mobile apps run in resource-limited devices, performance is a critical criterion for the quality of experience. Therefore, developers are expected to pay much attention to limit performance bad practices. On the one hand, many studies already identified such performance bad practices and showed that they can heavily impact app performance. Hence, many static analysers, a.k.a. linters, have been proposed to detect and fix these bad practices. On the other hand, other studies have shown that Android developers tend to deal with performance reactively and they rarely build on linters to detect and fix performance bad practices. In this paper, we therefore perform a qualitative study to investigate this gap between research and development community. In particular, we performed interviews with 14 experienced Android developers to identify the perceived benefits and constraints of using linters to identify performance bad practices in Android apps. We believe that our observations can have a direct impact on developers and the research community. Specifically, we describe why and how developers leverage static source code analysers to improve the performance of their apps. On the top of that, we bring to light important challenges faced by developers when it comes to adopting static analysis for performance purposes.
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Sarra Habchi, Xavier Blanc, Romain Rouvoy. On Adopting Linters to Deal with Performance Concerns in Android Apps. ASE18 - Proceedings of the 33rd IEEE/ACM International Conference on Automated Software Engineering, Sep 2018, Montpellier, France. ⟨10.1145/3238147.3238197⟩. ⟨hal-01829135⟩

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