On the structure of problem variability: From feature diagrams to problem frames

Classen, Andreas; Heymans, Patrick; Laney, Robin; Nuseibeh, Bashar and Tun, Thein Than (2007). On the structure of problem variability: From feature diagrams to problem frames. In: Proceedings of International workshop on Variability Modeling of Software-intensive Systems, 16-18 Jan 2007, Limerick, Ireland, pp. 109–118.

URL: http://mcs.open.ac.uk/pass-external/publications/V...


Requirements for product families are expressed in terms of commonality and variability. This distinction allows early identification of an appropriate software architecture and opportunities for software reuse. Feature diagrams provide intuitive notations and techniques for representing requirements in product line development. In this paper, we observe that feature diagrams tend to obfuscate three important descriptions: requirements, domain properties and specifications. As a result, feature diagrams do not adequately capture the problem structures that underlie variability, and inform the solution structures of their complexity. With its emphasis on separation of the three descriptions, the problem frames approach provides a conceptual framework for a more detailed analysis of variability and its structure. With illustrations from an example, we demonstrate how problem frames analysis of variability can augment feature diagrams.

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