Variability Extraction and Modeling for Product Variants
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Fast-changing hardware and software technologies in addition to larger and more specialized customer bases demand software tailored to meet very diverse requirements. Software development approaches that aim at capturing this diversity on a single consolidated platform often require large upfront investments, e.g., time or budget. Alternatively, companies resort to developing one variant of a software product at a time by reusing as much as possible from already-existing product variants. However, identifying and extracting the parts to reuse is an error-prone and inefficient task compounded by the typically large number of product variants. Hence, more disciplined and systematic approaches are needed to cope with the complexity of developing and maintaining sets of product variants. Such approaches require detailed information about the product variants, the features they provide and their relations. In this paper, we present an approach to extract such variability information from product variants. It identifies traces from features and feature interactions to their implementation artifacts, and computes their dependencies. This work can be useful in many scenarios ranging from ad hoc development approaches such as clone-and-own to systematic reuse approaches such as software product lines. We applied our variability extraction approach to six case studies and provide a detailed evaluation. The results show that the extracted variability information is consistent with the variability in our six case study systems given by their variability models and available product variants.