Composing features by managing inconsistent requirements

Laney, Robin; Tun, Thein Than; Jackson, Michael and Nuseibeh, Bashar (2007). Composing features by managing inconsistent requirements. In: Proceedings of 9th International Conference on Feature Interactions in Software and Communication Systems (ICFI 2007), 3-5 Sep 2007, Grenoble, France, pp. 141–156.



One approach to system development is to decompose the requirements into features and specify the individual features before composing them. A major limitation of deferring feature composition is that inconsistency between the solutions to individual features may not be uncovered early in the development, leading to unwanted feature interactions. Syntactic inconsistencies arising from the way software artefacts are described can be addressed by the use of explicit, shared, domain knowledge. However, behavioural inconsistencies are more challenging: they may occur within the requirements associated with two or more features as well as at the level of individual features. Whilst approaches exist that address behavioural inconsistencies at design time, these are overrestrictive in ruling out all possible conflicts and may weaken the requirements further than is desirable. In this paper, we present a lightweight approach to dealing with behavioural inconsistencies at run-time. Requirement Composition operators are introduced that specify a run-time prioritisation to be used on occurrence of a feature interaction. This prioritisation can be static or dynamic. Dynamic prioritisation favours some requirement according to some run-time criterion, for example, the extent to which it is already generating behaviour.

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