Designing Runtime Variation Points in Product Line Architectures: Three Cases
Software product lines provide a common architecture, reusable code, and other common assets for a set of related software products. Variation is a central requirement in this context, as the product line components have to be instantiated, composed, and configured in the context of the products. In many approaches either static composition techniques or dynamic composition techniques based on loose relationships, such as association, aggregation, or replacement of entities, are proposed to design the variation points. If the domain of the product requires runtime variation, however, these approaches do not provide any central management facility for these runtime variation points. As a solution to this problem, we propose a pattern language that provides a domain-specific variation language and runtime variation point management facilities as a part of the product line. We present three case studies from the areas of interactive digital television and document archiving in which we have applied this pattern language.
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