01 Session on Product Line Architectures

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Session summary : Session on Product line architectures

Juan A. de la Puente, Technical University of Madrid

Speakers : Fred A. Maymir-Ducharme (Lockheed Martin Tactical Defense Systems)
Lenn Bass (Software Engineering Institute)
John W. Brackett (Boston University)

The session included three talks on different topics related to product line architectures.

The first speaker, Fred Maymir-Ducharme, stressed the importance of a business model for domain analysis in an architecture-based reuse framework. He described four different business models : ad-hoc, opportunistic, systematic, and product line models. Fred proposed a systematic approach to domain analysis which is driven both by business considerations and technical issues. The main point for discussion is whether the business model should be put before or after the architectural model of a family of products.

The second speaker was Lenn Bass, who advocated for common architectures for products with similar or related functionality. He analysed how such software qualities as modifiability, portability, and variability relate to elements of software architecture. Two important topics in his talk were the stress on designing over assessing quality attributes, and the recognition that the assessment of different software qualities is orthogonal with respect to each other.

The third and last speaker was John Bracket, who spoke from an academic perspective. He raised the point the importance of social issues for the adoption of advanced software technologies in industry, and the many non-technical obstacles to it, especially the need for re-educating experienced software engineers to think in terms of product lines and software architectures. As an example of what can be done, John described a graduate course on advanced software design based on the ROOM language, which he has just begun to teach at Boston University.

In the following discussion, the importance of common architectures for product lines – or families -, as well as the need for developing appropriate process development models, and methods and tools for assessing architectural properties, was recognised by the participants.