International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services (MobileHCI)


September 2016


Effective use of personal data is a core utility of modern smartphones. On Android, several challenges make developing compelling personal data applications difficult. First, personal data is stored in isolated silos. Thus, relationships between data from different providers are missing, data must be queried by source of origin rather than meaning and the persistence of different types of data differ greatly. Second, interfaces to these data are inconsistent and complex. In turn, developers are forced to interleave SQL with Java boilerplate, resulting in error-prone code that does not generalize. Our solution is Epistenet: a toolkit that (1) unifies the storage and treatment of mobile personal data; (2) preserves relationships between disparate data; (3) allows for expressive queries based on the meaning of data rather than its source of origin (e.g., one can query for all communications with John while at the park); and, (4) provides a simple, native query interface to facilitate development.

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