Master’s Thesis. Conceptual Variability Management in Software Families with Multiple Contributors. 2015.
Abstract: To offer customisable software, there are two main concepts yet: software product lines that allow the product customisation based on a fixed set of variability and software ecosystems, allowing an open product customisation based on a common platform. Offering a software family that enables external developers to supply software artefacts means to offer a common platform as part of an ecosystem and to sacrifice variability control. Keeping full variability control means to offer a customisable product as a product line, but without the support for external contributors. This thesis proposes a third concept of variable software: partly open software families. They combine a customisable platform similar to product lines with controlled openness similar to ecosystems. As a major contribution of this thesis a variability modelling concept is proposed which is part of a variability management for these partly open software families. This modelling concept is based on feature models and extends them to support open variability modelling by means of interfaces, structural interface specifications and the inclusion of semantic information. Additionally, the introduction of a rights management allows multiple contributors to work with the model. This is required to enable external developers to use the model for the concrete extension development. The feasibility of the proposed model is evaluated using a prototypically developed modelling tool and by means of a case study based on a car infotainment system.