Universiteit Leiden

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Abstract delta modeling: software product lines and beyond

Promotor: Prof.dr. F.S. de Boer, Co-promotor: D. Clarke

M. Helvensteijn
12 november 2014
Thesis in Leiden Repository

To prevent a large software system from collapsing under its own complexity, its code needs to be well-structured. Ideally we want all code related to a certain feature to be grouped together —called feature modularization— and code belonging to different features not to mix — called separation of concerns. But many concerns are known as 'cross-cutting concerns'. By their very nature their implementation needs to be spread around the code base. The software engineering discipline that has the most to gain from those properties is Software Product Line Engineering. It is concerned with the development and maintenance of multiple software systems at the same time, each possessing a different (but often overlapping) set of features. This gives rise to an additional need: The code for a given feature must not only be separated and modular; it also needs to be composable and able to deal gracefully with the presence or absence of other features. This thesis presents Abstract Delta Modeling, a formal framework developed to achieve these goals in software. The thesis is a product of the European HATS project. It formalizes the techniques of delta modeling, the main approach to variability used by HATS.