Improving Android App Responsiveness through Search-Based Frame Rate Reduction

Abstract

Responsiveness is one of the most important properties of Android applications to both developers and users. Recent survey on automated improvement of non-functional properties of Android applications shows there is a gap in the application of search-based techniques to improve responsiveness. Therefore, we explore the use of genetic improvement (GI) to achieve this task. We extend Gin, an open source GI framework, to work with Android applications. Next, we apply GI to four open source Android applications, measuring frame rate as proxy for responsiveness. We find that while there are improvements to be found in UI-implementing code (up to 43%), often applications’ test suites are not strong enough to safely perform GI, leading to generation of many invalid patches. We also apply GI to areas of code which have highest test-suite coverage, but find no patches leading to consistent frame rate reductions. This shows that although GI could be successful in improvement of Android apps’ responsiveness, any such test-based technique is currently hindered by availability of test suites covering UI elements

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