A Discussion of Three Visualisation Approaches to Providing Cognitive Support in Variability Management

Year of Publication
Software-Technologien und -Prozesse (STeP 2010), Furtwangen, Germany, May 6, 2010. Proceedings
Variability management in software intensive systems can be a complex and cognitively challenging process. Configuring a Software Product Line with thousands of variation points in order to derive a specific product variant is an example of such a challenge. Each configurable feature can have numerous relationships with many other elements within the system. These relationships can impact greatly on the overall configuration process. Understanding the nature and impact of these relationships during configuration is key to the quality and efficiency of the configuration process. In this paper we present an overview of three visual approaches to this configuration which utilise information visualisation techniques and aspects of cognitive theory to provide stakeholder support. Using an industry example, we discuss and compare the approaches using a set of fundamental configuration tasks.