Transactions on Software Engineering

The IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering (TSE) is an archival journal published bimonthly. We are interested in well-defined theoretical results and empirical studies that have potential impact on the construction, analysis, or management of software. Read the full scope of TSE

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From the April 2015 Issue

The Impact of API Change- and Fault-Proneness on the User Ratings of Android Apps

By Gabriele Bavota, Mario Linares-Vasquez, Carlos Eduardo Bernal-Cardenas, Massimiliano Di Penta, Rocco Oliveto, and Denys Poshyvanyk

Featured article thumbnail imageThe mobile apps market is one of the fastest growing areas in the information technology. In digging their market share, developers must pay attention to building robust and reliable apps. In fact, users easily get frustrated by repeated failures, crashes, and other bugs; hence, they abandon some apps in favor of their competition. In this paper we investigate how the fault- and change-proneness of APIs used by Android apps relates to their success estimated as the average rating provided by the users to those apps. First, in a study conducted on 5,848 (free) apps, we analyzed how the ratings that an app had received correlated with the fault- and change-proneness of the APIs such app relied upon. After that, we surveyed 45 professional Android developers to assess (i) to what extent developers experienced problems when using APIs, and (ii) how much they felt these problems could be the cause for unfavorable user ratings. The results of our studies indicate that apps having high user ratings use APIs that are less fault- and change-prone than the APIs used by low rated apps. Also, most of the interviewed Android developers observed, in their development experience, a direct relationship between problems experienced with the adopted APIs and the users’ ratings that their apps received.

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