Summary of Product Family Concepts Session
The notion of software product families is still hard to control and manage. One can identify a number of reasons for this. First, the different dimensions of variation within a family result in, among others, overlapping feature interaction problems. Second, the relationships between a product and the family is not always trivial.
The title suggests this session was concerned with the concepts that underlie software product lines. Interestingly enough, the papers in the session actually did not address this, but rather discussed a number of instances of or approaches to representing software architecture concepts.
The questions that we asked were
How to control and manage different dimensions of variation within families?
What is the relationship between products and families?
How to design on a family level?
How to support instantiation of products, refinement of architectures and traceability of requirements and their changes.
How to define connectors, components, reference architectures?
These questions should be answered so that we can also see how different documents developed during PL process should be structured and how each one of these artifacts are linked to each other so that we can navigate from one to another. This session emphasize was on practical solutions to these questions. Solutions that work even if we do not have universal semantics integrating all models.