Using Flow Maps to Visualize Product Attributes during Feature Configuration

Year of Publication
Software Product Lines - 14th International Conference, SPLC 2010, Jeju Island, South Korea, September 13-17, 2010. Workshop Proceedings (Volume 2 : Workshops, Industrial Track, Doctoral Symposium, Demonstrations and Tools)
During product configuration one of the main challenges is to understand the available options and the consequences of decisions, e.g., in terms of functionality (features) and other characteristics (attributes) of the product. In this paper, we aim to provide support for understanding consequences of configuration decisions, focussing in particular on numerical product attributes resulting from these decisions. To address this challenge, we introduce “Feature Flow Maps”, an interactive visualization technique, which combines tree-oriented feature models and flow map visualizations. The technique allows the application engineer to simultaneously (1) perform product configuration and (2) to visually under-stand the resulting numerical product attributes as well as their calculation. We discuss (i) the underlying meta-model including calculation rules, and (ii) the adaptation of flow map visualizations for application in feature models including the mapping of values to visual attributes.