Feature-Oriented Clone and Pull Operations for Distributed Development and Evolution
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Software companies frequently customize and extend product lines in multiple projects concurrently to quickly deliver solutions to customers. Engineers use a distributed and feature-oriented development process, commonly supported by version control systems to track implementation-level changes. For instance, feature branches are widely used to add new or modify existing features. However, when merging back features to the product line, the information about feature-to-code mappings is usually lost. Furthermore, the granularity of merging is limited to branches, making it hard to extract and merge selected individual features from one product to another. This paper thus presents feature-oriented clone and pull operations for distributed development, which are implemented in the FORCE2 platform. Our evaluation uses variants of the ArgoUML product line to investigate the correctness and performance of our approach. The results show that the feature-oriented operations work with high precision and recall for different cases of feature interactions, also when feature implementations are scattered across many locations in the source code. The performance measurements demonstrate that the operations can be integrated in the typical workflows of engineers.