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KOWALSKI: Collecting API Clients in Easy Mode

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Proceedings (peer-reviewed)
Author Leuenberger Manuel, Osman Haidar, Ghafari Mohammad, Nierstrasz Oscar,
Project Agile Software Analysis
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Proceedings (peer-reviewed)

Title of proceedings Proceedings of the 33rd International Conference on Software Maintenance and Evolution
DOI 10.1109/icsme.2017.78

Open Access


Understanding API usage is important for upstream and downstream developers. However, compiling a dataset of API clients is often a tedious task, especially since one needs many clients to draw a representative picture of the API usage. In this paper, we present KOWALSKI, a tool that takes the name of an API, then finds and downloads client binaries by exploiting the Maven dependency management system. As a case study, we collect clients of Apache Lucene, the de facto standard for full-text search, analyze the binaries, and create a typed call graph that allows developers to identify hotspots in the API. A video demonstrating how KOWALSKI is used for this experiment can be found at