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Software Variability Management

*Software Variability Management*
Most modern software needs to support increasing amounts of variability, i.e. locations in the software where behaviour can be configured. This trend leads to a situation where the complexity of managing the amount of variability becomes a primary concern that needs to be addressed. Two causes for the increasing amount of variability are the delaying of design decisions to the latest point that is economically feasible and the transfer of variability from mechanics and hardware to the software in embedded systems.

Software product families and populations make a convincing case for the increasing importance of software variability management. Although the notion of software product families dates back to the 1970ís, broad industrial adoption started at the end of the 1990s. Early industrial adopters, such as Philips, started their work on software product families in 1994.

The reason for identifying software variability management as a core topic is twofold. First, within the software engineering research community, we have come to realize that the fundamental issue in a range of reuse approaches, including object-oriented frameworks, component-based software engineering and software product families, is the management of the provided variability in the context of the commonality. Basically, the reusability of any software artefact is determined by its ability to support the variability required from it. Second, in several industrial organizations, the complexity of variability management is becoming such that more systematic approaches are required as the limitations of ad-hoc approaches experienced daily. For instance, the number of variation points for industrial software product families may range in the thousands.

Stolen from CfP of the 2nd Groningen Workshop on Software Variability Management

-- DaniloBeuche - 10 Nov 2004