Just-in-Time Crash Prediction for Mobile Apps

Wimalasooriya, C
Licorish, SA
da Costa, DA
MacDonell, SG
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Journal Article
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Springer Science and Business Media LLC

Just-In-Time (JIT) defect prediction aims to identify defects early, at commit time. Hence, developers can take precautions to avoid defects when the code changes are still fresh in their minds. However, the utility of JIT defect prediction has not been investigated in relation to crashes of mobile apps. We therefore conducted a multi-case study employing both quantitative and qualitative analysis. In the quantitative analysis, we used machine learning techniques for prediction. We collected 113 reliability-related metrics for about 30,000 commits from 14 Android apps and selected 14 important metrics for prediction. We found that both standard JIT metrics and static analysis warnings are important for JIT prediction of mobile app crashes. We further optimized prediction performance, comparing seven state-of-the-art defect prediction techniques with hyperparameter optimization. Our results showed that Random Forest is the best performing model with an AUC-ROC of 0.83. In our qualitative analysis, we manually analysed a sample of 642 commits and identified different types of changes that are common in crash-inducing commits. We explored whether different aspects of changes can be used as metrics in JIT models to improve prediction performance. We found these metrics improve the prediction performance significantly. Hence, we suggest considering static analysis warnings and Android-specific metrics to adapt standard JIT defect prediction models for a mobile context to predict crashes. Finally, we provide recommendations to bridge the gap between research and practice and point to opportunities for future research.

46 Information and Computing Sciences , 4612 Software Engineering , 3 Good Health and Well Being , 0803 Computer Software , Software Engineering , 4612 Software engineering
Empirical Software Engineering, ISSN: 1382-3256 (Print); 1573-7616 (Online), Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 29(3), 68-. doi: 10.1007/s10664-024-10455-7
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