A strategy for analysing product line software architectures

Liliana Dobrica, Eila Niemelä

Research output: Book/ReportReport


The purpose of the architecture evaluation of a software system is to analyze the architecture to identify potential risks and to verify that the quality requirements have been addressed in the design. This research report addresses the issue of how to perform an analysis of software product line architectures. Throughout the chapters we try to present a way of thinking founded on analysis at the architecture level of the quality attributes, with the purpose to initiate and maintain a software product line considering the quality as the main driver in the product line development. The analysis strategy is exemplified with a spectrometer controller product line, a case study where the product line is initiated in a revolutionary style, such that the product line architecture and its components are elaborated to match the requirements of all the expected product line members. In this report, we present our original contributions in developing this significant and, in the same time, new research domain. In order to be able to discuss an analysis strategy for a product line architecture, it is a considerable advantage to have a good knowledge of the state of art and practice in the software architecture domain. One of our contributions is to extract the main concepts that are common to software architectures and to present what is specific for the product line approach in software development. The study in the first part of the report gathers together, for the first time to our knowledge, all of the important published software architecture analysis methods and attempts to compare them. This survey shows the state of the research at this moment, in this domain, by presenting and discussing eight of the most representative architecture analysis methods. The study represents a step towards defining a general product line architecture analysis strategy. In practice, we simplify our analysis approach and the last part of this report focuses on our experiences with the product line architecture analysis of the spectrometer controller PL.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationEspoo
PublisherVTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
Number of pages127
ISBN (Electronic)951-38-5599-6
ISBN (Print)951-38-5598-8
Publication statusPublished - 2000
MoE publication typeD4 Published development or research report or study

Publication series

SeriesVTT Publications


  • software product line
  • analysis techniques and methods
  • scenarios
  • quality attributes
  • spectrometer controller
  • software architecture


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