About Maria Kechagia

Maria Kechagia is a PhD candidate at Athens University of Economics and Business, in the Department of Management Science and Technology. Her research interests include the design and implementation of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and the study of open source software.

Does coding style matter?

Given that usually the compiler does not complain about the coding style of a program (i.e. missing white spaces, indentation, long lines of code, name conventions, and comments), developers care only for the functionality of their programs and not for the maintainability. However, this can be harmful for the understanding and maintenance of modern software systems. This post discusses the importance of writing programs based on specific coding guidelines.

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Using static analysis to evaluate Java exception handling

Static analysis is a method that one can use in order to analyze, understand, and assess the quality of a program. The main strength of static analysis is the pinpointing of coding errors without the execution of a program. In this blog post, we discuss how static analysis can contribute to the evaluation of the existing exceptions of a program and how static analysis can help in the prediction of possibly thrown exceptions by a program.

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Unchecked Exceptions

The execution of a program can suddenly terminate for several reasons. To prevent unexpected program behaviors, developers can include error handling mechanisms in their programs. Specifically, in Java, developers can use two types of exceptions: checked and unchecked. Checked exceptions (IOException, DataFormatException, ParseException, SQLExceptions, etc.) are always caught on compile time, whereas unchecked exceptions (OutOfMemoryError, ArithmeticException, NullPointerException, IllegalArgumentException, IllegalStateException, etc.) can occur on runtime and lead a program to an unexpected termination (crash)—if there is no prevention mechanism in the source code to caught the exception. However, there is a debate regarding the use of the unchecked exceptions in the source code (see Unchecked Exceptions — The Controversy, in the Java documentation).

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Why do mobile applications crash?

Mobile devices have become an indispensable part of our everyday lives, mastering our on-line transactions and influencing our communication with others. However, most smartphone users experience application crashes once in a while. A crash manifests when, for example, you are using your favorite application and it suddenly stops working properly or closes. Sometimes, this can be really troublesome, especially when you try to send an important message or proceed with a financial transaction. There are many reasons that can lead mobile applications to crashes—and the causes are not always tractable. This blog entry discusses the causes of application crashes in mobile devices, based on the examination of a corpus of crash reports from Android applications [1].

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API Evaluation

API is the initials of “Application Programming Interface”. APIs are bundles of interfaces that developers must implement to build their applications. Common APIs are the Java, Python, and Ruby APIs, as well as the Android, iOS APIs and many other third-party libraries (e.g. jQuery and Google maps). Except for their source code, APIs come with their documentation. Then, client developers, from different programming levels, read this documentation to build distinct applications that use the same APIs. This means that an API should be unambiguous and useful in order to prevent developers from writing applications susceptible to crashes.

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