SPLC '21: Proceedings of the 25th ACM International Systems and Software Product Line Conference - Volume A

Full Citation in the ACM Digital Library

SESSION: Variability modeling and analysis

Variability modules for Java-like languages

A Software Product Line (SPL) is a family of similar programs (called variants) generated from a common artifact base. A Multi SPL (MPL) is a set of interdependent SPLs (i.e., such that an SPL's variant can depend on variants from other SPLs). MPLs are challenging to model and implement efficiently, especially when different variants of the same SPL must coexist and interoperate. We address this challenge by introducing variability modules (VMs), a new language construct. A VM represents both a module and an SPL of standard (variability-free), possibly interdependent modules. Generating a variant of a VM triggers the generation of all variants required to fulfill its dependencies. Then, a set of interdependent VMs represents an MPL that can be compiled into a set of standard modules. We illustrate VMs by an example from an industrial modeling scenario, formalize them in a core calculus, provide an implementation for the Java-like modeling language ABS, and evaluate VMs by case studies.

From pairwise to family-based generic analysis of delta-oriented model-based SPLs

One way to implement model-based software product lines (MBSPLs) is to use a transformational approach known as Delta Modeling (DM). Here, an MBSPL is implemented by one core model and a set of delta modules. Delta modules define model transformations using edit operations which add, remove or modify model elements. Editings of different delta modules can be in conflict or depend on each other, leading to conflict and dependency relations between delta modules. Conflicts and unfulfilled dependencies can cause the generation of a product to fail or to lead to invalid models. In order to spot such defects, one needs analysis tools for each modeling (sub-)language used. Existing generic approaches to statically detect such defects in a language-agnostic manner analyze pairs of delta modules. However, the pairwise approach can lead to false positives, i.e., conflicts and unfulfilled dependencies are reported although product generation does not fail. Following the idea of family-based analysis, this paper presents a new approach to detect pseudo defects resolved by "healing effects" implied by the network of dependencies. These effects typically occur when a delta module (partially) reverts the effect of a preceding delta module. We have implemented our approach within the SiPL framework and evaluated our family-based analysis using a realistic MBSPL known as Body Comfort System (BCS).

Variability realization in model-based system engineering using software product line techniques: an industrial perspective

Efficiently handling system variants is rising of importance in industry and challenges the application of model-based systems engineering.

This paper reveals the increasing industrial demand of guidance and decision support on how to handle variants and variability within SysML and UML models. While a substantial amount of variability realization approaches has already been published on source code level, there is little guidance for practitioners on system model level. Hence, there is major uncertainty in dealing with system changes or concurrent system modeling of related system. Due to a poor modularization and variability realization these model variants are ending up in interwoven and complex system models.

In this paper, we aim to raise awareness of the need for appropriate guidance and decision support, identify important contextual factors of MBSE that influence variability realization, and derive well known variability mechanisms used in software coding for their applicability in system modeling.

SESSION: AI, machine learning and NLP

A machine learning model to classify the feature model maintainability

Software Product Lines (SPL) are generally specified using a Feature Model (FM), an artifact designed in the early stages of the SPL development life cycle. This artifact can quickly become too complex, which makes it challenging to maintain an SPL. Therefore, it is essential to evaluate the artifact's maintainability continuously. The literature brings some approaches that evaluate FM maintainability through the aggregation of maintainability measures. Machine Learning (ML) models can be used to create these approaches. They can aggregate the values of independent variables into a single target data, also called a dependent variable. Besides, when using white-box ML models, it is possible to interpret and explain the ML model results. This work proposes white-box ML models intending to classify the FM maintainability based on 15 measures. To build the models, we performed the following steps: (i) we compared two approaches to evaluate the FM maintainability through a human-based oracle of FM maintainability classifications; (ii) we used the best approach to pre-classify the ML training dataset; (iii) we generated three ML models and compared them against classification accuracy, precision, recall, F1 and AUC-ROC; and, (iv) we used the best model to create a mechanism capable of providing improvement indicators to domain engineers. The best model used the decision tree algorithm that obtained accuracy, precision, and recall of 0.81, F1-Score of 0.79, and AUC-ROC of 0.91. Using this model, we could reduce the number of measures needed to evaluate the FM maintainability from 15 to 9 measures.

A comparison of performance specialization learning for configurable systems

The specialization of the configuration space of a software system has been considered for targeting specific configuration profiles, usages, deployment scenarios, or hardware settings. The challenge is to find constraints among options' values that only retain configurations meeting a performance objective. Since the exponential nature of configurable systems makes a manual specialization unpractical, several approaches have considered its automation using machine learning, i.e., measuring a sample of configurations and then learning what options' values should be constrained. Even focusing on learning techniques based on decision trees for their built-in explainability, there is still a wide range of possible approaches that need to be evaluated, i.e., how accurate is the specialization with regards to sampling size, performance thresholds, and kinds of configurable systems. In this paper, we compare six learning techniques: three variants of decision trees (including a novel algorithm) with and without the use of model-based feature selection. We first perform a study on 8 configurable systems considered in previous related works and show that the accuracy reaches more than 90% and that feature selection can improve the results in the majority of cases. We then perform a study on the Linux kernel and show that these techniques performs as well as on the other systems. Overall, our results show that there is no one-size-fits-all learning variant (though high accuracy can be achieved): we present guidelines and discuss tradeoffs.

Evaluating recommender systems in feature model configuration

Configurators can be evaluated in various ways such as efficiency and completeness of solution search, optimality of the proposed solutions, usability of configurator user interfaces, and configuration consistency. Due to the increasing size and complexity of feature models, the integration of recommendation algorithms with feature model configurators becomes relevant. In this paper, we show how the output of a recommender system can be evaluated within the scope of feature model configuration scenarios. Overall, we argue that the discussed ways of measuring recommendation quality help developers to gain a broader view on evaluation techniques in constraint-based recommendation domains.

SESSION: Evolution

Incremental construction of modal implication graphs for evolving feature models

A feature model represents a set of variants as configurable features and dependencies between them. During variant configuration, (de)selection of a feature may entail that other features must or cannot be selected. A Modal Implication Graph (MIG) enables efficient decision propagation to perform automatic (de)selection of subsequent features. In addition, it facilitates other configuration-related activities such as t-wise sampling. Evolution of a feature model may change its configuration logic, thereby invalidating an existing MIG and forcing a full recomputation. However, repeated recomputation of a MIG is expensive, and thus hampers the overall usefulness of MIGs for frequently evolving feature models. In this paper, we devise a method to incrementally compute updated MIGs after feature model evolution. We identify expensive steps in the MIG construction algorithm, enable them for incremental computation, and measure performance compared to a full rebuild of a complete MIG within the evolution histories of four real-world feature models. Results show that our incremental method can increase the speed of MIG construction by orders of magnitude, depending on the given scenario and extent of evolutionary changes.

Managing systems evolving in space and time: four challenges for maintenance, evolution and composition of variants

Software companies need to provide a large set of features satisfying functional and non-functional requirements of diverse customers, thereby leading to variability in space. Feature location techniques have been proposed to support software maintenance and evolution in space. However, so far only one feature location technique also analyses the evolution in time of system variants, which is required for feature enhancements and bug fixing. Specifically, existing tools for managing a set of systems over time do not offer proper support for keeping track of feature revisions, updating existing variants, and creating new product configurations based on feature revisions. This paper presents four challenges concerning such capabilities for feature (revision) location and composition of new product configurations based on feature/s (revisions). We also provide a benchmark containing a ground truth and support for computing metrics. We hope that this will motivate researchers to provide and evaluate tool-supported approaches aiming at managing systems evolving in space and time. Further, we do not limit the evaluation of techniques to only this benchmark: we introduce and provide instructions on how to use a benchmark extractor for generating ground truth data for other systems. We expect that the feature (revision) location techniques maximize information retrieval in terms of precision, recall, and F-score, while keeping execution time and memory consumption low.

ProDSPL: proactive self-adaptation based on dynamic software product lines

This is an extended abstract of the article: Inmaculada Ayala, Alessandro V. Papadopoulos, Mercedes Amor, Lidia Fuentes, ProDSPL: Proactive self-adaptation based on Dynamic Software Product Lines, Journal of Systems and Software, Volume 175, 2021, 110909, ISSN 0164-1212, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jss.2021.110909.

A proposal for organizing source code variability in the git version control system

Often, either to expand the target market or to satisfy specific new requirements, software systems inside a company are cloned, refactored, and customized, generating new derived software systems. Although this is a practical solution, it is not effective in the long-term because of the high maintenance costs when maintaining each of these derived software systems. Software product lines (SPLs) were proposed to reduce these costs; however, the lack of integration between variability realization mechanisms and version control systems reduces its attractiveness in the software development industry, especially in small and medium software companies. In this paper we propose an approach to integrate the conditional compilation mechanism used to implement the SPL variabilities and the Git version control system used to manage software versions in order to increase the attractiveness of the SPLs in the industry. The proposed solution also could be seen as a method to manage software system families' evolution in space and time.

SESSION: Performance

On reducing the energy consumption of software product lines

Along the last decade, several studies considered green software design as a key development concern to improve the energy efficiency of software. Yet, few techniques address this concern for Software Product Lines (SPL). In this paper, we therefore introduce two approaches to measure and reduce the energy consumption of a SPL by analyzing a limited set of products sampled from this SPL. While the first approach relies on the analysis of individual feature consumptions, the second one takes feature interactions into account to better mitigate energy consumption of resulting products.

Our experimental results on a real-world SPL indicate that both approaches succeed to produce significant energy improvements on a large number of products, while consumption data was modeled from a small set of sampled products. Furthermore, we show that taking feature interactions into account leads to more products improved with higher energy savings per product.

The interplay of compile-time and run-time options for performance prediction

Many software projects are configurable through compile-time options (e.g., using ./configure) and also through run-time options (e.g., command-line parameters, fed to the software at execution time). Several works have shown how to predict the effect of run-time options on performance. However it is yet to be studied how these prediction models behave when the software is built with different compile-time options. For instance, is the best run-time configuration always the best w.r.t. the chosen compilation options? In this paper, we investigate the effect of compile-time options on the performance distributions of 4 software systems. There are cases where the compiler layer effect is linear which is an opportunity to generalize performance models or to tune and measure runtime performance at lower cost. We also prove there can exist an interplay by exhibiting a case where compile-time options significantly alter the performance distributions of a configurable system.

Automated model-based performance analysis of software product lines under uncertainty

In the context of Software Product Lines (SPLs), the performance evaluation of the different products is highly relevant, especially if such products include a set of features that are subject to uncertainties (e.g., the service time of a certain functionality may be subject to fluctuations). To this aim, variability modeling notations have been extended with the capability of assigning to the features some attributes that are defined over numeric domains (i.e., attributed feature models), possibly subject to lower and upper bounds capturing their uncertainties.

SESSION: Case studies and benchmarks

Empirical software product line engineering: a systematic literature review. an IST journal publication

The adoption of Software Product Line Engineering (SPLE) is usually only based on its theoretical benefits instead of empirical evidences. In fact, there is no work that synthesizes the empirical studies on SPLE. This makes it difficult for researchers to base their contributions on previous works validated with an empirical strategy. The objective of this work is to discover and summarize the studies that have used empirical evidences in SPLE limited to those ones with the intervention of humans. This will allow evaluating the quality and knowing the scope of these studies over time. Doing so, research opportunities can arise. Analyzing the authors and institutions that investigate SPLE supported by empirical studies will also help to know which institutions have knowledge of the subject, leading to detect and encourage collaboration among researches. A systematic literature review was conducted with the focus on those studies in which there is human intervention and were published between 2000 and 2018 (the systematic literature review was developed in 2019). We considered peer-reviewed papers from journals and top software engineering conferences. Out of a total of 1880 studies in the initial set, a total of 62 primary studies were selected after applying a series of inclusion and exclusion criteria. We found that, approximately 56% of the studies used the empirical case study strategy while the rest used experimental strategies. Around 86% of the case studies were performed in an industrial environment showing the penetration of SPLE in industry while 81% of the experiments were conducted in an academic environment. Around 95.16% of the studies address aspects related to domain engineering while application engineering received less attention. Most of the experiments and case study evaluated showed an acceptable level of quality. The first study found dates from 2005 and since 2008, the interest in the empirical SPLE has increased.

The architectural divergence problem in security and privacy of eHealth IoT product lines

The Internet of Things (IoT) seamlessly becomes integrated into many aspects of daily life, and in the case of healthcare, it arises in the shape of eHealth IoT systems. Evidently, the design of such systems must apply best practices when it comes to security and privacy, in addition to ensuring compliance with various national and international regulations. When it comes to the required functionality, commonalities and variations can effectively be managed in a product line approach that involves deriving specific application architecture variants from a common reference architecture.

This paper illustrates and discusses a specific problem encountered in the establishment of a software product-line in this specific context: the adoption of systematic security and privacy threat modeling and risk assessment approaches introduces a variation space that is very difficult to capture in a proactive product-line approach. One of the main causes for this is that threat assessment itself suffers from the problem of threat explosion, i.e. combinatorial explosions of threats that have to be investigated and systematically mitigated. The highlighted divergence of the security and privacy threats across architectural variants is illustrated in the specific case of an industry IoT-based e-health software product line.

Variability fault localization: a benchmark

Software fault localization is one of the most expensive, tedious, and time-consuming activities in program debugging. This activity becomes even much more challenging in Software Product Line (SPL) systems due to the variability of failures in SPL systems. These unexpected behaviors are caused by variability faults which can only be exposed under some combinations of system features. Although localizing bugs in non-configurable code has been investigated in-depth, variability fault localization in SPL systems still remains mostly unexplored. To approach this challenge, we propose a benchmark for variability fault localization with a large set of 1,570 buggy versions of six SPL systems and baseline variability fault localization performance results. Our hope is to engage the community to propose new and better approaches to the problem of variability fault localization in SPL systems.

Spectrum-based feature localization: a case study using ArgoUML

Feature localization (FL) is a basic activity in re-engineering legacy systems into software product lines. In this work, we explore the use of the Spectrum-based localization technique for this task. This technique is traditionally used for fault localization but with practical applications in other tasks like the dynamic FL approach that we propose. The ArgoUML SPL benchmark is used as a case study and we compare it with a previous hybrid (static and dynamic) approach from which we reuse the manual and testing execution traces of the features. We conclude that it is feasible and sound to use the Spectrum-based approach providing promising results in the benchmark metrics.

On the scalability of building binary decision diagrams for current feature models

Binary decision diagrams (BDD) have been proposed for numerous product-line analyses. These analyses typically exploit properties unique to decision diagrams, such as negation in constant time and space. Furthermore, the existence of a BDD representing the configuration space of a product line removes the need to employ SAT or #SAT solvers for their analysis. Recent work has shown that the performance of state-of-the-art BDD libraries is significantly lower than previously reported and hypothesized. In this work, we provide an assessment of the state-of-the-art of BDD scalability in this domain and explain why previous results on the scalability of BDDs do not apply to more recent product-line instances.

SESSION: Community efforts, surveys, reviews

Yet another textual variability language?: a community effort towards a unified language

Variability models are commonly used to model commonalities and variability in a product line. There is a large variety of textual formats to represent and store variability models. This variety causes overhead to researchers and practitioners as they frequently need to translate models. The MODEVAR initiative consists of dozens of researchers and aims to find a unified language for variability modeling. In this work, we describe the cooperative development of a textual variability language. We evaluate preferences of the community regarding properties of existing formats and applications for an initial design of a unified variability language. Then, we examine the acceptance of the community for our proposal. The results indicate that our proposal is a promising start towards a unified variability language instead of yet another language. We envision that the community applies our language proposal in teaching, research prototypes, and industrial applications to further evolve the design and then ultimately reach a unified language.

Safety, security, and configurable software systems: a systematic mapping study

Safety and security are important properties of any software system, particularly in safety-critical domains, such as embedded, automotive, or cyber-physical systems. Moreover, particularly those domains also employ highly-configurable systems to customize variants, for example, to different customer requirements or regulations. Unfortunately, we are missing an overview understanding of what research has been conducted on the intersection of safety and security with configurable systems. To address this gap, we conducted a systematic mapping study based on an automated search, covering ten years (2011--2020) and 65 relevant (out of 367) publications. We classified each publication based on established security and safety concerns (e.g., CIA triad) as well as the connection to configurable systems (e.g., ensuring security of such a system). In the end, we found that considerably more research has been conducted on safety concerns, but both properties seem under-explored in the context of configurable systems. Moreover, existing research focuses on two directions: Ensuring safety and security properties in product-line engineering; and applying product-line techniques to ensure safety and security properties. Our mapping study provides an overview of the current state-of-the-art as well as open issues, helping practitioners identify existing solutions and researchers define directions for future research.

Capturing the diversity of analyses on the Linux kernel variability

As its variability management architecture is complex, the Linux kernel is a constant subject of study for analyzing different aspects of its variability. It relies on a configuration-aware build system, preprocessor directives in the code, and a configuration tool. While many studies have focused on detecting anomalies within these parts or between them, all concepts and denominations are different among contributions, with similar properties devised with varied formalisms, or with no easy relationship between them. This actually hampers the understanding of all variability issues and proposed analyses, as well as their application to other highly configurable systems. In this paper, we analyse the different properties that have been studied on the variability of the kernel and propose a formalism based on the generic concepts of configurator and derivator. We instantiate them to represent the Kconfig, the Kbuild, and CPP in a unified model that enables to represent all the consistency properties. With this model, we manage to categorize the main related studies, establishing their coverage on the defined properties, showing also overlapping and divergences between studies.

20 years of industrial experience at SPLC: a systematic mapping study

Software Product Lines (SPLs) have been around since the late 1970s and have established themselves as a way to deal with product variability. Tens of companies around the globe can pay testament to their advantages. Practitioners, however, have lamented the lack of data on other practitioners' experiences that would help them in the SPL journey. This work intends to analyze the application of SPLs in industry in the last 20 years. We departed from 194 industrial studies that were published at the Software Product Line Conference, the premier venue for SPL research. After the filtering process we selected 66 primary studies, from 43 different companies and 15 countries. The studies were classified to answer three research questions: (i) which contexts have SPLs been applied in?, (ii) what phenomena have been reported? and, (iii) what evidences have been collected in terms of obtained benefits, encountered issues and lessons learned? Regarding the context, SPLs have mainly been reported in USA and Germany (50%) and are used to develop embedded systems (76%). The most cited reason to adopt SPLs is the need to increase product variants (42.42%). As for the phenomena, the most reported problem area is adoption (39.39%). Last, as for evidences the most cited benefit is a cost reduction (53.03%), the issue is evolution (13.13%) and the learned lesson is that architecture is essential (24.24%). We believe the findings will be of interest to the community as a whole in quest to bridge the gap between industry and academia while balancing rigor, authenticity and relevance.

Bridging the gap: voices from industry and research on industrial relevance of SPLC

Product line engineering emerged from a fruitful interaction of applied research in academia, industry research, and software engineering practice. SPLC was created as the primary venue to exchange ideas on this emerging topic and integrate the communities. Yet, today, SPLC is mostly regarded as an academic conference with little industry participation. Since a strong integration of academia and industry is often seen positive, here, we try to better understand motivations for practitioners to visit academic conferences like SPLC and the impact this has on such conferences. This analysis is based on nine systematic interviews with practitioners and researchers, who have been members of the SPLC community and other leading software engineering communities for a long time. Our preliminary results clarify the relevance and interest of practitioners and researchers to exchange knowledge and learn when attending scientific software engineering conferences such as SPLC. Yet, the results also highlight the differences between the goals of industry and academic conference participants, which often lead to inefficiencies and even barriers for constructive interaction at scientific conferences such as SPLC. We use this as a basis for pointing out further discussion points, both from the perspective of the interviewees as well as the authors.

SESSION: Sampling, variability analysis and visualization

Monte Carlo tree search for feature model analyses: a general framework for decision-making

The colossal solution spaces of most configurable systems make intractable their exhaustive exploration. Accordingly, relevant analyses remain open research problems. There exist analyses alternatives such as SAT solving or constraint programming. However, none of them have explored simulation-based methods. Monte Carlo-based decision making is a simulation-based method for dealing with colossal solution spaces using randomness. This paper proposes a conceptual framework that tackles various of those analyses using Monte Carlo methods, which have proven to succeed in vast search spaces (e.g., game theory). Our general framework is described formally, and its flexibility to cope with a diversity of analysis problems is discussed (e.g., finding defective configurations, feature model reverse engineering or getting optimal performance configurations). Additionally, we present a Python implementation of the framework that shows the feasibility of our proposal. With this contribution, we envision that different problems can be addressed using Monte Carlo simulations and that our framework can be used to advance the state of the art a step forward.

FeatureVista: interactive feature visualization

Comprehending and characterizing the spread and interaction of features in a software system is know to be difficult and error-prone. This paper presents FeatureVista, a lightweight tool providing interactive, glyph-based, and iconic visualization concepts designed to visually characterize the feature locations in software assets (source code). FeatureVista supports navigating between software components and features in an equal fashion. Our pilot study indicates that FeatureVista is intuitive and supports comprehending features. It helps to precisely characterize relations among features in large software systems and to contrast explicit software component definitions (e.g., package, class, method) with annotated feature portions---which so far was a largely manual and error-prone activity, albeit essential to get an adequate understanding of a software system. We suggest research directions for true, feature-oriented interfaces that can be used to manage software assets.


International Workshop on Variability Management for Modern Technologies (VM4ModernTech 2021)

Variability is an inherent property of software systems that allows developers to deal with the needs of different customers and environments, creating a family of related systems. Variability can be managed in an opportunistic fashion, for example, using clone-and-own, or by employing a systematic approach, for instance, using a software product line (SPL). In the SPL community, variability management has been discussed for systems in various domains, such as defense, avionics, or finance, and for different platforms, such as desktops, web applications, or embedded systems. Unfortunately, other research communities---particularly those working on modern technologies, such as microservice architectures, cyber-physical systems, robotics, cloud computing, autonomous driving, or ML/AI-based systems---are less aware of the state-of-the-art in variability management, which is why they face similar problems and start to redeveloped the same solutions as the SPL community already did. With the International Workshop on Variability Management for Modern Technologies, we aim to foster and strengthen synergies between the communities researching variability management and modern technologies. More precisely, we aim to attract researchers and practitioners to contribute processes, techniques, tools, empirical studies, and problem descriptions or solutions that are related to reuse and variability management for modern technologies. By inviting different communities and establishing collaborations between them, we hope that the workshop can raise the interest of researchers outside the SPL community for variability management, and thus reduce the extent of costly redevelopments in research.

REVE 2021: 9th International Workshop on Reverse Variability Engineering

Software Product Line (SPL) migration remains a challenging endeavour. From organizational issues to purely technical challenges, there is a wide range of barriers that complicates SPL adoption. This workshop aims to foster research about making the most of the two main inputs for SPL migration: 1) domain knowledge and 2) legacy assets. Domain knowledge, usually implicit and spread across an organization, is key to define the SPL scope and to validate the variability model and its semantics. At the technical level, domain expertise is also needed to create or extract the reusable software components. Legacy assets can be, for instance, similar product variants (e.g., requirements, models, source code, etc.) that were implemented using ad-hoc reuse techniques such as clone-and-own. More generally, the workshop REverse Variability Engineering attracts researchers and practitioners contributing to processes, techniques, tools, or empirical studies related to the automatic, semi-automatic or manual extraction or refinement of SPL assets.

Fourth International Workshop on Variability and Evolution of Software-Intensive Systems (VariVolution 2021)

Software versions resulting from evolution in time (revisions) and space (variants) are still separately managed instead of being treated uniformly. Recently, several research activities have focused on the integrated management of evolution and variability. Existing approaches stem from multiple origins, most notably from the fields of software configuration management and software product line engineering. For instance, variation control systems adopt a holistic view on software evolution in time and space with the ultimate goal of systematically managing software revisions and variants. VariVolution (the 4th International Workshop on Variability and Evolution of Software-Intensive Systems) aims at bringing together active researchers studying software evolution and variability from different angles as well as practitioners who encounter these phenomena in real-world applications and systems. The workshop offers a platform for exchanging new ideas and fostering future research collaborations and synergies.

Fourth International Workshop on Languages for Modelling Variability (MODEVAR@SPLC 2021)

Feature models were invented in 1990 and have been recognised as one of the main contributions to the Software Product Line community. Although there have been several attempts to establish and study a sort of standard variability modelling language, there is still no consensus on a simple feature modelling language. There can be many motivations to have one but among others, there is one that is very important: information sharing among researchers, tools or developers. Following the spirit of the first three editions, this workshop is an interactive event where all participants shall share knowledge, but also ongoing realizations about how to build up a simple feature modelling language that all the community can agree on.

Fourth International Workshop on Experiences and Empirical Studies on Software Reuse (WEESR 2021)

In the Workshop on Experiences and Empirical Studies on Software Reuse (WEESR) researchers and practitioners discusses in-progress research regarding experiences and empirical studies applying reuse techniques in non-academic environments. The fourth edition of this workshop, the WEESR 2021, was co-located with the 25th International Systems and Software Product Line Conference (SPLC'21). There, attendants discussed a original paper and a journal-first paper presenting empirical studies regarding variability models for real cyber-physical products and the software product line practices in large companies.


Describing variability with domain-specific languages and models

This tutorial will teach participants about domain-specific languages and models, where they can best be used (and where not), and how to apply them effectively to improve the speed and quality of product development within a product line.

How I met your implemented variability: identification in object-oriented systems with symfinder

Variability-rich object-oriented systems are often not organized as fully-fledged software product lines, and implement their variability in a single code base using the mechanisms provided by the supporting language (e.g., inheritance overloading, design patterns). This makes variability identification and management very difficult. In this half-day tutorial open to both academics and industrials, we present how the symfinder toolchain can help one to better understand how variability is implemented in a single codebase Java system, relying solely on a specific code analysis and an adapted visualization. After presenting the underlying concepts on which symfinder is based (i.e., symmetries in code, density), the participants will be able to use the toolchain and visualize the potential variation points and variants identified by symfinder in their own projects or in provided large-scale open-source projects.

PRICES: towards web-based product lines generator

Precise Requirement Changes Integrated System (PRICES) is a framework to develop a web-based product line. PRICES is designed based on model-driven engineering and delta-oriented programming. The goal of this tutorial is to introduce how PRICES can be used to model the problem domain and generate a running web application. The tutorial is planned to be conducted in a half-day. A combination of lecture and hands-on training will be provided. In addition, we will demonstrate a possibility of a semi-automatic approach to generate a web application using SPLE. Participants can try to develop a new variation and generate an application using a running case study.

Requirements-driven reuse recommendation

This tutorial explores requirements-based reuse recommendation for product line assets in the context of clone-and-own product lines.

Reuse for mass personalisation through feature models and similarities

This tutorial explores the impact of the socio-economic trends of customization and personalization on software reuse and describes a product similarity evaluation process to support the management of a product line.

Variability realization in UML/SysML models

Motivated by experiences from different industrial settings, the tutorial reveals the increasing need for guidance and decision support on how to handle variants and variability in SysML and UML models. While a substantial amount of variability realization approaches has already been discussed on the level of source code, there is little guidance for practitioners on the model level. With this, there is major uncertainty in dealing with concurrent changes and parallel modeling of similar system variants

Static analysis and family-based model checking with VMC

VMC is a research tool for model checking variability-rich behavioural models specified as a modal transition system (MTS) with variability constraints (MTSu). In this tutorial, we introduce a tool chain built on VMC that allows to perform an efficient kind of family-based model checking in absence of deadlocks. It accepts as input either an MTSu or a featured transition system (FTS).