On the Impact of the Optional Feature Problem: Analysis and Case Studies

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Executive Summary

A software product line is a family of related programs that are distinguished in terms of features. A feature implements a stakeholders' requirement. Different program variants specified by distinct feature selections are produced from a common code base. The optional feature problem describes a common mismatch between variability intended in the domain and dependencies in the implementation. When this situation occurs, some variants that are valid in the domain cannot be produced due to implementation issues. There are many different solutions to the optional feature problem, but they all suffer from drawbacks such as reduced variability, increased development effort, reduced efficiency, or reduced source code quality.

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