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  • PhD Defense - Sonal Mahajan

    Thu, Apr 19, 2018 @ 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Thomas Lord Department of Computer Science

    University Calendar

    PhD Candidate: Sonal Mahajan

    Time: April 19, 2018 (Thursday) 9.30am - 12pm

    Location: VHE 217

    Committee: William G. J. Halfond (chair), Nenad Medvidovic, Sandeep Gupta, Chao Wang, Jyotirmoy Vinay Deshmukh

    Title: Automated Repair of Presentation Failures in Web Applications Using Search-based Techniques

    The appearance of a web application's User Interface (UI) plays an important part in its success. Issues degrading the UI can negatively affect the usability of a website and impact an end user's perception of the website and the quality of the services that it delivers. Such UI related issues, called presentation failures, occur frequently in modern web applications. Despite their importance, there exist no automated techniques for repairing presentation failures. Instead repair is typically a manual process were developers must painstakingly analyze the UI of a website, identify the faulty UI elements (i.e., HTML elements and CSS properties), and carry out repairs. This is labor intensive and requires significant expertise of the developers.

    My dissertation addresses these challenges and limitations by automating the process of repairing presentation failures in web applications. My key insight underlying this research is that search-based techniques can be used to find repairs for the observed presentation failures by intelligently and efficiently exploring large solution spaces defined by the HTML elements and CSS properties. Based on this insight, I designed a novel general-purpose search-based framework for the automated repair of presentation failures in web applications. To evaluate the effectiveness of my framework, I designed and developed instantiations for repairing different types of presentation failures in web applications. The first instantiation focuses on the repair of Cross Browser Issues (XBIs), i.e., inconsistencies in the appearance of a website when rendered in different web browsers. The second instantiation addresses the Mobile Friendly Problems (MFPs) in websites, i.e., improves the readability and usability of a website when accessed from a mobile device. The third instantiation repairs problems related to internationalization in web application UIs. Lastly, the fourth instantiation addresses issues arising from mockup-driven development and regression debugging. In the empirical evaluations, all of the four instantiations were highly effective in repairing presentation failures, while in the conducted user studies, participants overwhelmingly preferred the visual appeal of the repaired versions of the websites compared to their original (faulty) versions. Overall, these are positive results and indicate that the framework can help developers repair presentation failures in web applications, while maintaining their aesthetic quality.

    Location: Vivian Hall of Engineering (VHE) - 217

    Audiences: Everyone Is Invited

    Contact: Lizsl De Leon

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