Software engineering techniques for statically analyzing mobile apps: research trends, characteristics, and potential for industrial adoption

Marco Autili, Ivano Malavolta, Alexander Perucci, Gian Luca Scoccia, Roberto Verdecchia
2021 Journal of Internet Services and Applications  
AbstractMobile platforms are rapidly and continuously changing, with support for new sensors, APIs, and programming abstractions. Static analysis is gaining a growing interest, allowing developers to predict properties about the run-time behavior of mobile apps without executing them. Over the years, literally hundreds of static analysis techniques have been proposed, ranging from structural and control-flow analysis to state-based analysis.In this paper, we present a systematic mapping study
more » ... med at identifying, evaluating and classifying characteristics, trends and potential for industrial adoption of existing research in static analysis of mobile apps. Starting from over 12,000 potentially relevant studies, we applied a rigorous selection procedure resulting in 261 primary studies along a time span of 9 years. We analyzed each primary study according to a rigorously-defined classification framework. The results of this study give a solid foundation for assessing existing and future approaches for static analysis of mobile apps, especially in terms of their industrial adoptability.Researchers and practitioners can use the results of this study to (i) identify existing research/technical gaps to target, (ii) understand how approaches developed in academia can be successfully transferred to industry, and (iii) better position their (past and future) approaches for static analysis of mobile apps.
doi:10.1186/s13174-021-00134-x fatcat:mlzjbkdi7fhezisn3tcv7wzlbi