Model-driven support for product line evolution on feature level
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Journal of Systems and Software
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Software Product Lines (SPL) are an engineering technique to efficiently derive a set of similar products from a set of shared assets. In particular in conjunction with model-driven engineering, SPL engineering promises high productivity benefits. There is however, a lack of support for systematic management of SPL evolution, which is an important success factor as a product line often represents a long term investment. In this article, we present a model-driven approach for managing SPL evolution on feature level. To reduce complexity we use model fragments to cluster related elements. The relationships between these fragments are specified using feature model concepts itself leading to a specific kind of feature model called EvoFM. A configuration of EvoFM represents an evolution step and can be transformed to a concrete instance of the product line (i.e., a feature model for the corresponding point in time). Similarly, automatic transformations allow the derivation of an EvoFM from a given set of feature models. This enables retrospective analysis of historic evolution and serves as a starting point for introduction of EvoFM, e.g., to plan future evolution steps.