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Variability mechanisms and lessons learned in practice

: Zhang, Bo; Duszynski, Slawomir; Becker, Martin


Association for Computing Machinery -ACM-; Association for Computing Machinery -ACM-, Special Interest Group on Software Engineering -SIGSOFT-; Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers -IEEE-:
1st International Workshop on Variability and Complexity in Software Design, VACE 2016. Proceedings : Austin, Texas, May 14 - 22, 2016; during ICSE 2016, 38th International Conference on Software Engineering
New York: ACM Press, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-4503-4176-9
International Workshop on Variability and Complexity in Software Design (VACE) <1, 2016, Austin/Tex.>
International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE) <38, 2016, Austin/Tex.>
Fraunhofer IESE ()
practical experience; variability mechanism; variability design

In the design of complex and variable software systems, one of the key steps is to select the variability mechanism that defines how variable features are realized on the design and code level. Although different variability mechanisms were invented and applied in practice for decades, there are not many studies that compare these mechanisms based on practical experiences. This paper characterizes and compares seven variability mechanisms in terms of their techniques, binding time, granularity, and further aspects. It provides experiences of their usage, the practical benefits and challenges, as well as discusses existing solutions to the challenges based on related studies and our practice in industry.