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A high-level modeling language for the efficient design, implementation, and testing of Android applications

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Abstract

Developing mobile applications remains difficult, time consuming, and error prone, in spite of the number of existing platforms and tools. In this paper, we develop MoDroid, a high-level modeling language to ease the development of Android applications. MoDroid allows developing models representing the core of applications. MoDroid provides Android programmers with the following advantages: (1) models are built using high-level primitives that abstract away several implementation details; (2) it allows the definition of interfaces between models to automatically compose them; (3) a native Android application can be automatically generated along with the required permissions definition; (4) it supports efficient testing execution that operates on models. MoDroid is fully implemented and was used to develop several non-trivial Android applications.

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Notes

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    http://ujf-aub.bitbucket.org/modroid/.

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Author information

Correspondence to Mohamad Jaber.

Appendix

Appendix

We show a small example to showcase syntax used in MoDroid. Moreover, we show parts of the generated application structure. We emphasize the simplicity and readability of generated code. This ensures that developers have the ability to modify and edit the generated code if they want to. Line-by-line traceability of the generated handlers to the original code is also clear. We also show the generated manifest and the detected permission as well.

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Listings 18 and 19 contains the full code of the MoDroid model. The model represents a simple two-activity application. The first activity contains a simple login screen, upon submitting the application moves to the second activity, and displays the username used. Listing 19 also contains the generated code for the handlers.

The generated application has the following structure:

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Listing 17 shows the generated manifest that contains the required permissions and information about the activities of the application. Clearly, developing this application using native Android is more complex and more time consuming than using MoDroid. This is mainly due to the following: (1) native Android requires more code (up to four times more) than MoDroid; (2) we should manually write configuration file with the proper permissions which is automatically generated in case of MoDroid; (3) testing using native Android requires extra configurations and running tests will take place on emulators. On the contrary, testing using MoDroid does not require any extra configuration. Moreover, running tests will be directly simulated on the underlying model which is much more efficient that running them on emulators.

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Jaber, M., Falcone, Y., Dak-Al-Bab, K. et al. A high-level modeling language for the efficient design, implementation, and testing of Android applications. Int J Softw Tools Technol Transfer 20, 1–18 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10009-016-0441-2

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Keywords

  • MetaModel
  • Android
  • Testing
  • Permission