Component documentation in the context of software product lines

Research output: Book/ReportBook (author)Scientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


The use of third-party components in software system development is rapidly increasing. The product lines have also adopted this new tendency, as the COTS and OCM components are increasingly being used in product-line-based software engineering. Component documentation has become a key issue in component trading because it often is the only way of assessing the applicability, credibility and quality of a third-party component, especially for product lines in which the common architecture determines the decisive requirements and restrictions for components. However, at the present time there is no standard model for component documentation, and, therefore, the component documents are often inconsistent, insufficient and of various quality. The lack of a standard documentation model is thus one of the bottlenecks in component trading. The purpose of this thesis is to define the documentation requirements of software components and form a standard documentation pattern from these requirements. The documentation requirements are examined from the viewpoint of the software product lines, where the common product line architecture may define several specific requirements for a component. The standard pattern is a skeleton of documentation, defining the content and structure for component documentation. The pattern ensures the documentation that assists the integrator in successful component selection, validation, integration and use within product lines. The development of the documentation is defined by identifying the roles responsible for the documentation and associating them with the pattern. Definition of the documentation pattern is not sufficient for the adoption of a new documentation practice. An environment that supports the development of documentation is also required. This thesis also introduces the developed documentation system, which defines how the component documentation could be implemented. The system provides guidelines concerning how to document a software component. It also offers the tools and technology for the development and handling of documents, and ensures that the developed documentation is in accordance with the pattern. In addition, the system is also applicable when the development of the documentation is split between different organisations. An evaluation of the documentation pattern is presented at the end of this thesis.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationEspoo
PublisherVTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
Number of pages118
ISBN (Electronic)951-38-6022-1
ISBN (Print)951-38-6021-3
Publication statusPublished - 2002
MoE publication typeC1 Separate scientific books

Publication series

SeriesVTT Publications


  • component documentation
  • software product lines
  • software engineering
  • component documentation pattern


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