自然科学版 英文版
自然科学版 英文版
自然科学版 英文版

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中南大学学报(英文版)

Journal of Central South University

Vol. 26    No. 9    September 2019

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Why do they ask? An exploratory study of crowd discussions about Android application programming interface in stack overflow
FAN Qiang(范强), WANG Tao(王涛), YANG Cheng(杨程), YIN Gang(尹刚), YU Yue(余跃), WANG Huai-min(王怀民)

National Laboratory for Parallel and Distributed Processing, College of Computer Changsha,Changsha 410073, China

Abstract:Nowadays, more and more Android developers prefer to seek help from Q&A website like Stack Overflow, despite the rich official documentation. Several researches have studied the limitations of the official application programming interface (API) documentations and proposed approaches to improve them. However, few of them digged into the requirements of the third-party developers to study this. In this work, we gain insight into this question from multidimensional perspectives of API developers and API users by a kind of cross-validation. We propose a hybrid approach, which combines manual inspection on artifacts and online survey on corresponding developers, to explore the different focus between these two types of stakeholders. In our work, we manually inspect 1000 posts and receive 319 questionnaires in total. Through the mutual verification of the inspection and survey process, we found that the users are more concerned with the usage of API, while the official documentation mainly provides functional description. Furthermore, we identified 9 flaws of the official documentation and summarized 12 aspects (from the content to the representation) for promotion to improve the official API documentations.

 

Key words: API documentation; Android; online survey; Stack Overflow

中南大学学报(自然科学版)
  ISSN 1672-7207
CN 43-1426/N
ZDXZAC
中南大学学报(英文版)
  ISSN 2095-2899
CN 43-1516/TB
JCSTFT
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