Improving mobile application design



In today's world it is difficult to imagine doing without the mobile applications on our electronic devices. These must continuously evolve in order to meet user requirements. However, this rapid development conceals a dark side: designers can sometimes be careless with software development, which affects application quality. This problem has been addressed by Naouel Moha, a professor in the Department of Computer Science at Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) and coordinator of the SOMCA research group.

Any corrections and improvements in code structure must preserve the application's original behaviour and functionality. 

SOMCA is a collaboration between Université de Lille and UQAM and is funded by the Institut national de recherche en informatique et en automatique (Inria) and the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Nature et technologies. The group's work includes the creation of Paprika, a toolkit for analyzing code and automatically detecting defects in the design or coding of mobile applications. Once these defects have been identified, they still need to be corrected: the research team now wants to develop a tool that would do this automatically, which is no easy task. Any corrections and improvements in code structure must preserve the application's original behaviour and functionality. The team has recently been looking into security vulnerabilities caused by design problems. They realized that by working upstream and analyzing the code as the system is developed, it is possible to detect security flaws before launching the application on the market.

The strength of this collaboration lies in the complementary fields of research of its contributors. The team from Lille focuses on mobile applications, while the UQAM team studies software quality. Combining these two fields of expertise has led to the emergence of new research themes, including application quality analysis. SOMCA was recently joined by a research team from Luxembourg specializing in software security.