Towards a More Fundamental Explanation of Constraints in Feature Models: A Requirement-Oriented Approach
One basic construct in feature models (FMs) is the constraints between features, which play the role of ensuring the consistency and completeness of any configuration of a FM. However, most of the existing research about FMs views constraints between features as a kind of black-box entities, and cares little about more fundamental problems relating to them, such as what are the origins of them, and whether there is an insight explanation for their existence. In this paper, we try to provide a more fundamental explanation of constraints between features. The basic idea is that constraints among features are not imposed by external, but rooted in the nature of features – that is, a feature is a kind of container for requirements, and the constraints between features naturally inherit from the constraints between requirements. Following this idea, we identify two general situations that usually relate different requirements, and introduce a set of constraint-patterns based on the different compositions of the two general situations. The value of this research is that it provides a requirement-oriented approach to reflecting our current understanding of constraints in FMs, and also provides us with more theory support to identify, specify and explain constraints between features.
KeywordsFeature Model Constraint Semantic
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