Web apps are built by using a combination of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. While building modern web apps, it is common practice to make use of third-party libraries and frameworks, as to improve developers' productivity and code quality. Alongside these benefits, the adoption of such libraries results in the introduction of JavaScript dead code, i.e., code implementing unused functionalities. The costs for downloading and parsing dead code can negatively contribute to the loading time and resource usage of web apps. The goal of our study is two-fold. First, we present Lacuna, an approach for automatically detecting and eliminating JavaScript dead code from web apps. The proposed approach supports both static and dynamic analyses, it is extensible and can be applied to any JavaScript code base, without imposing constraints on the coding style or on the use of specific JavaScript constructs. Second, by leveraging Lacuna we conduct an experiment to empirically evaluate the run-time overhead of JavaScript dead code in terms of energy consumption, performance, network usage, and resource usage in the context of mobile web apps. We applied Lacuna four times on 30 mobile web apps independently developed by third-party developers, each time eliminating dead code according to a different optimization level provided by Lacuna. Afterward, each different version of the web app is executed on an Android device, while collecting measures to assess the potential run-time overhead caused by dead code. Experimental results, among others, highlight that the removal of JavaScript dead code has a positive impact on the loading time of mobile web apps, while significantly reducing the number of bytes transferred over the network.

JavaScript Dead Code Identification, Elimination, and Empirical Assessment

Romano S.
;
Scanniello G.;
2023-01-01

Abstract

Web apps are built by using a combination of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. While building modern web apps, it is common practice to make use of third-party libraries and frameworks, as to improve developers' productivity and code quality. Alongside these benefits, the adoption of such libraries results in the introduction of JavaScript dead code, i.e., code implementing unused functionalities. The costs for downloading and parsing dead code can negatively contribute to the loading time and resource usage of web apps. The goal of our study is two-fold. First, we present Lacuna, an approach for automatically detecting and eliminating JavaScript dead code from web apps. The proposed approach supports both static and dynamic analyses, it is extensible and can be applied to any JavaScript code base, without imposing constraints on the coding style or on the use of specific JavaScript constructs. Second, by leveraging Lacuna we conduct an experiment to empirically evaluate the run-time overhead of JavaScript dead code in terms of energy consumption, performance, network usage, and resource usage in the context of mobile web apps. We applied Lacuna four times on 30 mobile web apps independently developed by third-party developers, each time eliminating dead code according to a different optimization level provided by Lacuna. Afterward, each different version of the web app is executed on an Android device, while collecting measures to assess the potential run-time overhead caused by dead code. Experimental results, among others, highlight that the removal of JavaScript dead code has a positive impact on the loading time of mobile web apps, while significantly reducing the number of bytes transferred over the network.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11386/4853560
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