Date of Award

6-2017

Degree Name

MS in Computer Science

Department

Computer Science

Advisor

David Janzen

Abstract

The recent growing popularity of mobile devices has led to the establishment of several popular mobile platforms such as the Android operating system. To foster growth in this evolving market, Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) were created to enable developers to create mobile device applications that utilize mobile device features and functionality for personal or widespread commercial use. However, as a result of excessive device and API evolution, mobile development faces increasingly complex issues, including an alarmingly rapid decay of development resources.

This thesis conducts a case study around one such resource: a series of Android app development lab exercises used in an Android app development course taught at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. First, these labs and their respective written guides were modernized and fitted for backwards-compatibility to better reflect newer Android devices and development tools at the time. The updated labs were subsequently used in the next course offering, with student lab feedback recorded for evaluation. Several years later, the apps from these new labs were further tested for abnormal behavior on a variety of Android devices. Results from analyzing all feedback and observations show that despite all measures taken to future-proof these labs, Android device and API evolution continues to vastly outpace third-party Android resources without frequent modernization and upgrades.

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