Model-based Variability Management (tutorial at ECOOP/ECMFA/ECSA)

Model-based Variability Management (tutorial at ECOOP/ECMFA/ECSA)

The customization of almost everything is observed in a wide range of domains. Many organizations should address the challenge of extending, changing, customizing or configuring numerous kinds of systems and artefacts (requirements, components, services, languages, architectural or design models, codes, user interfaces, etc.) for use in a particular context. As a result, modeling and managing variability of such systems and artefacts is a crucial activity in a growing number of software engineering contexts (e.g., software product lines, dynamic adaptive architectures). Numerous model-based techniques have been proposed and usually consist in i) a variability model (e.g., a feature model), ii) a model (e.g., a class diagram) expressed in a domain-specific modeling language (e.g., Unified Modelling language), and iii) a realization layer that maps and transforms variation points into model elements. Based on a selection of desired features in the variability model, a derivation engine can automatically synthesise customized models – each model corresponding to an individual product. In this tutorial, we present the foundations and tool-supported techniques of state-of-the-art variability modeling technologies. In the first part, we briefly exemplify the management of variability in some systems/artefacts (design models, languages, product configurators). We introduce the Common Variability Language (CVL), a representative approach and ongoing effort involving both academic and industry partners to promote standardization variability modeling technology. In the second part, we focus on feature models the most popular notation to formally represent and reason about commonality and variability of a software system. Feature modelling languages and tools, directly applicable to a wide range of model-based variability problems and application domains, are presented. The FAMILIAR language and environment is used to perform numerous management operations like the import, export, compose, decompose, edit, configure, compute diffs, refactor, reverse engineer, test, or reason about (multiple) feature models. We describe their theoretical foundations, efficient implementations, and how these operations can be combined to realize complex variability management tasks. In the third part, we show how to combine feature models and other modeling artefacts. We revisit the examples given in the first part of the tutorial, using the Kermeta workbench and familiarCVL, an implementation of CVL. Finally we present some of the ongoing challenges for variability modeling. At the end of the tutorial, participants (being practitioners or academics, beginners or advanced) will learn languages, tools and novel variability modeling techniques they can directly use in their industrial contexts or as part of their research.

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FAMILIAR project

July 03, 2013
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