Integrated revision and variation control for evolving model-driven software product lines

  • Felix Schwägerl
  • Bernhard WestfechtelEmail author
Regular Paper


Software engineering projects are faced with abstraction, which is achieved by software models, historical evolution, which is addressed by revision control, and variability, which is managed with the help of software product line engineering. Addressing these phenomena by separate tools ignores obvious overlaps and therefore fails at exploiting synergies between revision and variation control for models. In this article, we present a conceptual framework for integrated revision and variation control of model-driven software projects. The framework reuses the abstractions of revision graphs and feature models and follows an iterative, revision-control-like approach to software product line engineering called product-based product line development. A single version (i.e., a variant of a selected revision) is made available in a workspace, where the user may apply arbitrary modifications. Based on a user-provided specification of the affected variants, the changes are automatically written back to a transparent repository that relies on an internal multi-version storage. The uniform handling of revisions and variants of models is achieved by transparently mapping version concepts to a semantic base layer, which is defined upon propositional logic. At the heart of the conceptual framework is a dynamic filtered editing model, which allows that the versioned artifacts and the feature model co-evolve. We contribute algorithms for checkout and commit, which satisfy a set of consistency constraints referring to variant specifications in an evolving feature model. This article furthermore addresses the orchestration of collaborative development by distributed replication and the well formedness of text and model artifacts to be checked out into the workspace. The Eclipse-based tool SuperMod demonstrates the feasibility of the conceptual framework. It allows the user to reuse arbitrary editing tools for text-based programming and/or Ecore-based modeling languages. An evaluation based on three case studies investigates the properties of SuperMod with a specific focus on filtered editing. The evaluation demonstrates that the dynamic filtered editing model reduces the cognitive complexity and the amount of user interaction necessary for variation control when compared to unfiltered model-driven approaches to software product line engineering.


Model versioning Model-driven product lines Variation control systems Tool integration Integrated historical and logical versioning 



The authors greatly appreciate the constructive comments of the unknown reviewers. Thomas Buchmann and Johannes Schröpfer provided valuable assistance in the preparation of the final version of this article.

Supplementary material


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Applied Computer Science IUniversity of BayreuthBayreuthGermany

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