Taming software variability: Ontological foundations of variability mechanisms

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Variability mechanisms are techniques applied to adapt software product line (SPL) artifacts to the context of particular products, promoting systematic reuse of those artifacts. Despite the large variety of mechanisms reported in the literature, a catalog of variability mechanisms is built ad-hoc and lacks systematization. In this paper we propose an ontologically-grounded theoretical framework for mathematically characterizing well-known variability mechanisms based on analysis of software behavior. We distinguish between variability in the product dimension, which refers to differences in the sets of product’s behaviors, and variability in the element dimension, which focuses on differences in the particular behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConceptual Modeling - 34th International Conference, ER 2015
EditorsÓscar Pastor López, Mong Li Lee, Stephen W. Liddle, Paul Johannesson, Andreas L. Opdahl
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9783319252636
StatePublished - 2015
Event34th International Conference on Conceptual Modeling, ER 2015 - Stockholm, Sweden
Duration: 19 Oct 201522 Oct 2015

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference34th International Conference on Conceptual Modeling, ER 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015.


  • Software product line engineering
  • Systematic reuse
  • Variability analysis
  • Variability mechanisms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • General Computer Science


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