Supporting End Users with Business Calculations in Product Configuration
Sprache des Titels:
SPLC '12, Proceedings of the 16th International Software Product Line Conference
Business calculations like break-even, return on investment, or cost are essential in many domains to support decision making while configuring products. For instance, customers and sales people need to estimate and compare the business value of different product variants. Some product line approaches provide initial support, e.g., by defining quality attributes in relation to features. However, an approach that allows domain engineers to easily define business calculations together with variability models is still lacking. In product configuration, calculation results need to be instantly presented to end users after making configuration choices. Further, due to the often high number of calculations, the presentation of calculation results to end users can be challenging. These challenges cannot be addressed by integrating off-the-shelf applications performing the calculations with product line tools. We thus present an approach based on dedicated calculation models that are related to variability models. Our approach seamlessly integrates business calculations with product configuration and provides support for formatting calculations and calculation results. We use the DOPLER tool suite to deploy calculations together with variability models to end users in product configuration. We evaluate the expressiveness and practical relevance of the approach by investigating the development of business calculations for 15 product lines from the domain of industrial automation.