Modeling Features at Runtime

  • Marcus Denker
  • Jorge Ressia
  • Orla Greevy
  • Oscar Nierstrasz
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 6395)


A feature represents a functional requirement fulfilled by a system. Since many maintenance tasks are expressed in terms of features, it is important to establish the correspondence between a feature and its implementation in source code. Traditional approaches to establish this correspondence exercise features to generate a trace of runtime events, which is then processed by post-mortem analysis. These approaches typically generate large amounts of data to analyze. Due to their static nature, these approaches do not support incremental and interactive analysis of features. We propose a radically different approach called live feature analysis, which provides a model at runtime of features. Our approach analyzes features on a running system and also makes it possible to “grow” feature representations by exercising different scenarios of the same feature, and identifies execution elements even to the sub-method level.

We describe how live feature analysis is implemented effectively by annotating structural representations of code based on abstract syntax trees. We illustrate our live analysis with a case study where we achieve a more complete feature representation by exercising and merging variants of feature behavior and demonstrate the efficiency or our technique with benchmarks.


models at runtime behavioral reflection feature annotations dynamic analysis feature analysis software maintenance feature growing 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marcus Denker
    • 1
  • Jorge Ressia
    • 2
  • Orla Greevy
    • 3
  • Oscar Nierstrasz
    • 2
  1. 1.INRIA Lille Nord Europe - CNRS UMR 8022University of Lille (USTL)France
  2. 2.Software Composition GroupUniversity of BernSwitzerland
  3. 3.Sw-eng. Software Engineering GmbH BerneSwitzerland

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