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Analyzing variability in software variants with the variant comparison technique

: Duszynski, Slawomir; Knodel, Jens; Naab, Matthias

Kaiserslautern, 2009, VII, 24 S.
IESE-Report, 005.09/E
Reportnr.: 005.09/E
Fraunhofer IESE ()
product line engineering; software architecture; quasi-experiment; variability management; SAVE; variation point

Software systems are often tailored to individual customer needs. Consequently, these adaptations result in creation of multiple variants of the system. Maintenance and evolution of multiple variants impose a challenge on development organizations because the variation points are often neither explicitly known nor managed, and emerge uncontrolled. In this paper, we describe a technique that allows for reconstructing the variation points on the level of software architecture. The technique - called variant comparison - was successfully applied both internally and in industrial context. In a quasi-experiment, we evaluated the technique for its potential to reduce the effort needed for architecture-level variability analysis. On average, the participants using the variant comparison technique completed identical tasks in 35% less time than the reference group.