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An Empirical Investigation into the Reproduction of Bug Reports for Android Apps

by   Jack Johnson, et al.

One of the key tasks related to ensuring mobile app quality is the reporting, management, and resolution of bug reports. As such, researchers have committed considerable resources toward automating various tasks of the bug management process for mobile apps, such as reproduction and triaging. However, the success of these automated approaches is largely dictated by the characteristics and properties of the bug reports they operate upon. As such, understanding mobile app bug reports is imperative to drive the continued advancement of report management techniques. While prior studies have examined high-level statistics of large sets of reports, we currently lack an in-depth investigation of how the information typically reported in mobile app issue trackers relates to the specific details generally required to reproduce the underlying failures. In this paper, we perform an in-depth analysis of 180 reproducible bug reports systematically mined from Android apps on GitHub and investigate how the information contained in the reports relates to the task of reproducing the described bugs. In our analysis, we focus on three pieces of information: the environment needed to reproduce the bug report, the steps to reproduce (S2Rs), and the observed behavior. Focusing on this information, we characterize failure types, identify the modality used to report the information, and characterize the quality of the information within the reports. We find that bugs are reported in a multi-modal fashion, the environment is not always provided, and S2Rs often contain missing or non-specific enough information. These findings carry with them important implications on automated bug reproduction techniques as well as automated bug report management approaches more generally.


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