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Diomidis Spinellis Publications

Undocumented and Unchecked: Exceptions that Spell Trouble

Maria Kechagia
Diomidis Spinellis


Modern programs rely on large application programming interfaces (APIs). The Android framework comprises 231 core APIs, and is used by countless developers. We examine a sample of 4,900 distinct crash stack traces from 1,800 different Android applications, looking for Android API methods with undocumented exceptions that are part of application crashes. For the purposes of this study, we take as a reference the version 15 of the Android API, which matches our stack traces. Our results show that a significant number of crashes (19%) might have been avoided if these methods had the corresponding exceptions documented as part of their interface.