Automatically Detecting Exception Handling Defects in Android Applications

Linna Xie, Lu Lu, Shunjie Ding, Yu Pei, Minxue Pan, Tian Zhang

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingConference article published in proceeding or bookAcademic researchpeer-review


Developers often neglect to handle exceptions, which leads to exception handling defects that affect the robustness of applications or even cause crashes. To improve the robustness of android applications while reducing the development burden of developers, we present Fixeh and Automatic Detection Tool, as an approach that can automatically detect exception handling defects related to external resources. By implanting exception control codes into the input application, Fixeh helps applications throw exceptions at the specified call position while running the UI test. During running the UI test, Automatic Detection Tool generates a limited number of exception trigger patterns by using suspicious call filtering algorithm and traversal algorithm. After collecting and analyzing the running results under these patterns, the exception handling defects will be detected. We evaluate our approach by applying it to detect anomalies in 6 different types of applications with stable operation. We conducted 1422 rounds of experiments under different exception triggering patterns, and we observed abnormalities in 517 rounds. A comparison with other related work shows that our approach can detect defects more effectively. Through the analysis of our experiments, we confirmed 39 exception handling defects related to external resources. Finally, we summarized three common types of defects from them.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 12th Asia-Pacific Symposium on Internetware (INTERNETWARE 2020)
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4503-8819-1
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


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