Logging Practices with Mobile Analytics: An Empirical Study on Firebase

Harty, Julian; Zhang, Haonan; Wei, Lili; Pascarella, Luca; Aniche, Mauricio and Shang, Weiyi (2021). Logging Practices with Mobile Analytics: An Empirical Study on Firebase. In: 2021 IEEE/ACM 8th International Conference on Mobile Software Engineering and Systems (MobileSoft), IEEE, pp. 56–60.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1109/MobileSoft52590.2021.00013


Software logs are of great value in both industrial and open-source projects. Mobile analytics logging enables developers to collect logs remotely from their apps running on end user devices at the cost of recording and transmitting logs across the Internet to a centralised infrastructure.This paper makes a first step in characterising logging practices with a widely adopted mobile analytics logging library, namely Firebase Analytics. We provide an empirical evaluation of the use of Firebase Analytics in 57 open-source Android applications by studying the evolution of code-bases to understand: a) the needs-in-common that push practitioners to adopt logging practices on mobile devices, and b) the differences in the ways developers use local and remote logging.Our results indicate mobile analytics logs are less pervasive and less maintained than traditional logging code. Based on our analysis, we believe logging using mobile analytics is more user centered compared to traditional logging, where the latter is mainly used to record information for debugging purposes.

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