Anti-patterns and the energy efficiency of Android applications

Rodrigo Morales, Ruben Saborido, Foutse Khomh, Francisco Chicano, Giuliano Antoniol

The boom in mobile apps has changed the traditional landscape of software development by introducing new challenges due to the limited resources of mobile devices, e.g., memory, CPU, network bandwidth and battery. The energy consumption of mobile apps is nowadays a hot topic and researchers are actively investigating the role of coding practices on energy efficiency. Recent studies suggest that design quality can conflict with energy efficiency. Therefore, it is important to take into account energy efficiency when evolving the design of a mobile app. The research community has proposed approaches to detect and remove anti-patterns (i.e., poor solutions to design and implementation problems) in software systems but, to the best of our knowledge, none of these approaches have included anti-patterns that are specific to mobile apps and--or considered the energy efficiency of apps. In this paper, we fill this gap in the literature by analyzing the impact of eight type of anti-patterns on a testbed of 59 android apps extracted from F-Droid. First, we (1) analyze the impact of anti-patterns in mobile apps with respect to energy efficiency; then (2) we study the impact of different types of anti-patterns on energy efficiency. We found that then energy consumption of apps containing anti-patterns and not (refactored apps) is statistically different. Moreover, we find that the impact of refactoring anti-patterns can be positive (7 type of anti-patterns) or negative (2 type of anti-patterns). Therefore, developers should consider the impact on energy efficiency of refactoring when applying maintenance activities.

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