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Seminar: Development, Testing and Maintenance of Android Apps: Challenges, Tools, and Future Directions

Denys Poshyvanyk

Class of 1953 Term Distinguished Associate Professor in the Computer Science Department at William and Mary

Friday, October 5, 2018
11:15am - 12:30pm
2150 Torgersen Hall


Mobile computing has become a centerpiece of modern society. Smartphones and tablets continue to evolve at a rapid pace and the computational prowess of these devices is approaching parity with laptop and desktop systems for high-end mobile hardware. This facilitates new categories of engaging software that aim to improve the ease of use and utility of computing tasks. These factors, combined with the ease of distributing mobile apps on marketplaces like Apple’s App Store or Google Play have made the development of mobile software a major focus of engineers around the world.

While the importance and prevalence of mobile in the modern software development ecosystem is clear, many of the unique attributes that make mobile platforms attractive to both developers and users contribute a varied set of challenges that serve as obstacles to producing high-quality software. For example, while rich platform APIs facilitate development of advanced features, the change-prone nature of these APIs can adversely affect the quality of the apps they support. Another example of a mobile specific challenge relates to the touch-based, event driven nature of mobile apps. Because the core functionality of many mobile apps is driven mainly by the user interface, testing for these apps is typically performed at the GUI-level. However, manual GUI-testing is a time-consuming task and developers need automated support to help reduce testing costs. While a sizable amount of work has been conducted to help automate mobile testing, many developers still find that these approaches do not meet their needs.

This talk offers a brief introduction to mobile development paradigms, surveys the major categories of research conducted to date in mobile software engineering, examines open challenges, and sketches a roadmap of future work aimed to support mobile developers. The content of this talk is based on the knowledge and experience gathered during the last several years of academic research and industrial collaborations by the software engineering group from William and Mary.


Denys Poshyvanyk is the Class of 1953 Term Distinguished Associate Professor in the Computer Science Department at William and Mary where he leads SEMERU research group. He received his Ph.D. from Wayne State University. His current research is in the area of software engineering and evolution, program comprehension, mobile app (Android) development, maintenance, testing, and repository mining. His papers received several Best Paper Awards at ICPC’06, ICPC’07, ICSM’10, SCAM’10, ICSM’13 and ACM SIGSOFT Distinguished Paper Awards at ASE’13, ICSE’15, ESEC/FSE’15, ICPC’16 and ASE’17. He also received the Most Influential Paper Awards at ICSME’16 and ICPC’17. He is a recipient of the NSF CAREER award (2013). He currently serves on the editorial board of IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering (TSE), Empirical Software Engineering Journal (EMSE, Springer) and Journal of Software: Evolution and Process (JSEP, Wiley).