Rapid Productivity and Quality: Software Product Lines and Trends of the Future

Rapid Productivity and Quality: Software Product Lines and Trends of the Future

Sathya Ganeshan (Leeds Metropolitan University, UK) and Muthu Ramachandran (Leeds Metropolitan University, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-731-7.ch021
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The aim of this chapter is to introduce a reader to the world of software product lines, how it is used and what the future of this field might be. The authors present some of the success stories of organizations who have employed this approach, the benefits they have derived as opposed to conventional approaches. They also present their own views and innovations in touch with cutting edge developments in this field.
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Defining Software Product Lines

There are many definitions for software product lines. One of the widely accepted ones, given by SEI is:

‘..a set of software-intensive systems that share a common, managed set of features satisfying the specific needs of a particular market segment or mission and that are developed from a common set of core assets in a prescribed way. (SEI, 2005).

In its most simplified form, Software Product Line aims at producing a family of software by taking advantage of the common aspects among them, as opposed to producing applications individually, in a rapid and cost effective manner and at the same time satisfying quality attributes. To be precise software product lines generate a family of products with many common properties and some variant properties so that it caters the individual needs for a wide variety of users. Henceforth throughout the chapter we will use the abbreviation SPL to denote Software Product Lines. The terms product line and product family are often used in the same meaning. But some European companies take a different synonym for product line. Through product line they mean a set of products which appears similar in functionality but has an entirely different technology inside. But product family often represents a set of products that have common functionality with some minor variations but built from the same technology (Linden, 2002).

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