Analyzing evolution of variability in a software product line: from contexts and requirements to features

Peng, Xin; Yu, Yijun and Zhao, Wenyun (2011). Analyzing evolution of variability in a software product line: from contexts and requirements to features. Information and Software Technology, 53(7) pp. 707–721.



In the long run, features of a software product line (SPL) evolve with respect to changes in stakeholder requirements and system contexts. Neither domain engineering nor requirements engineering handles such co-evolution of requirements and contexts explicitly, making it especially hard to reason about the impact of co-changes in complex scenarios. In this paper, we propose a problem-oriented and value-based analysis method for variability evolution analysis. The method takes into account both kinds of changes (requirements and contexts) during the life of an evolving software product line. The proposed method extends the core requirements engineering ontology with the notions to represent variability-intensive problem decomposition and evolution. On the basis of problem-orientation, the analysis method identifies candidate changes, detects influenced features, and evaluates their contributions to the value of the SPL. The process of applying the analysis method is illustrated using a concrete case study of an evolving enterprise software system, which has confirmed that tracing back to requirements and contextual changes is an effective way to understand the evolution of variability in the software product line.

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  • Item ORO ID
  • 27401
  • Item Type
  • Journal Item
  • ISSN
  • 0950-5849
  • Project Funding Details
  • Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
    Not SetNot SetEU FP7 SecureChange
  • Extra Information
  • “NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in 'Information and Software Technology' Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published as cited above
  • Keywords
  • variability; evolution; problem frames; requirements engineering; goals
  • Academic Unit or School
  • Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Computing and Communications
    Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
  • Research Group
  • Centre for Research in Computing (CRC)
  • Copyright Holders
  • © 2011 Elsevier B.V.
  • Depositing User
  • Yijun Yu