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Title: A Measurement Study of Wechat Mini-Apps
A new mobile computing paradigm, dubbed mini-app, has been growing rapidly over the past few years since being introduced by WeChat in 2017. In this paradigm, a host app allows its end-users to install and run mini-apps inside itself, enabling the host app to build an ecosystem around (much like Google Play and Apple AppStore), enrich the host's functionalities, and offer mobile users elevated convenience without leaving the host app. It has been reported that there are over millions of mini-apps in WeChat. However, little information is known about these mini-apps at an aggregated level. In this paper, we present MiniCrawler, the first scalable and open source WeChat mini-app crawler that has indexed over 1,333,308 mini-apps. It leverages a number of reverse engineering techniques to uncover the interfaces and APIs in WeChat for crawling the mini-apps. With the crawled mini-apps, we then measure their resource consumption, API usage, library usage, obfuscation rate, app categorization, and app ratings at an aggregated level. The details of how we develop MiniCrawler and our measurement results are reported in this paper.  more » « less
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Proceedings of the ACM on Measurement and Analysis of Computing Systems
Page Range / eLocation ID:
1 to 25
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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