Skip to main content

Feature-Oriented Clone and Pull for Distributed Development and Evolution

  • Conference paper
  • First Online:
Quality of Information and Communications Technology (QUATIC 2021)


Product line engineering aims at quickly delivering individual solutions to customers by customizing and evolving products based on a common platform. Engineers commonly follow a distributed and feature-oriented process, supported by version control systems, to track implementation-level changes. For instance, feature branches are widely used to add new or modify existing features. However, when merging back features to the product line, the information how features map to code is usually lost. Furthermore, the granularity of merging is limited to branches, making it hard to transfer individual features from one product to another. This paper thus presents feature-oriented clone and pull operations for the distributed development and evolution of product lines, which are implemented in the FORCE2 platform. Our evaluation uses the ArgoUML product line to assess the correctness and performance of our approach. The results show that the feature-oriented operations work with high precision and recall for different cases of feature interactions. The performance measurements demonstrate that the clone and pull operations can be integrated in typical workflows of engineers.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

USD 29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
USD 99.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Softcover Book
USD 129.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

Similar content being viewed by others


  1. Czarnecki, K., Grünbacher, P., Rabiser, R., Schmid, K., Wasowski, A.: Cool features and tough decisions: a comparison of variability modeling approaches. In: Proceedings of the 6th International Workshop on Variability Modeling of Software-Intensive Systems, pp. 173–182 (2012)

    Google Scholar 

  2. Feichtinger, K., Hinterreiter, D., Linsbauer, L., Prähofer, H., Grünbacher, P.: Guiding feature model evolution by lifting code-level dependencies. J. Comput. Lang. (2021)

    Google Scholar 

  3. Ferber, S., Haag, J., Savolainen, J.: Feature interaction and dependencies: modeling features for reengineering a legacy product line. In: Chastek, G.J. (ed.) SPLC 2002. LNCS, vol. 2379, pp. 235–256. Springer, Heidelberg (2002).

    Chapter  MATH  Google Scholar 

  4. Hinterreiter, D., Linsbauer, L., Feichtinger, K., Prähofer, H., Grünbacher, P.: Supporting feature-oriented evolution in industrial automation product lines. Concurr. Eng. Res. Appl. 28, 265–279 (2020)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Hinterreiter, D., Linsbauer, L., Reisinger, F., Prähofer, H., Grünbacher, P., Egyed, A.: Feature-oriented evolution of automation software systems in industrial software ecosystems. In: Proceedings of the 23rd IEEE International Conference on Emerging Technologies and Factory Automation, pp. 107–114 (2018)

    Google Scholar 

  6. Linsbauer, L., Lopez-Herrejon, R.E., Egyed, A.: Variability extraction and modeling for product variants. Softw. Syst. Model. 16(4), 1179–1199 (2016).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Linsbauer, L., Schwägerl, F., Berger, T., Grünbacher, P.: Concepts of variation control systems. J. Syst. Softw. 171, 110796 (2021)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Martinez, J., et al.: Feature location benchmark with ArgoUML SPL. In: Proceedings of the 22nd International Systems and Software Product Line Conference, pp. 257–263 (2018)

    Google Scholar 

  9. Michelon, G.K., Linsbauer, L., Assunção, W.K.G., Egyed, A.: Comparison-based feature location in ArgoUML variants. In: Proceedings of the 23rd International Systems and Software Product Line Conference, pp. 93–97 (2019)

    Google Scholar 

  10. Rubin, J., Czarnecki, K., Chechik, M.: Managing cloned variants: a framework and experience. In: Proceeding of the 17th International Software Product Line Conference, pp. 101–110 (2013)

    Google Scholar 

  11. Schwägerl, F., Westfechtel, B.: Integrated revision and variation control for evolving model-driven software product lines. Softw. Syst. Model. 18(6), 3373–3420 (2019).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Zave, P.: Feature interactions and formal specifications in telecommunications. Computer 26(8), 20–28 (1993)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Zhou, S., Vasilescu, B., Kästner, C.: What the fork: a study of inefficient and efficient forking practices in social coding. In: Proceedings of the 27th ACM Joint Meeting on European Software Engineering Conference and Symposium on the Foundations of Software Engineering, pp. 350–361 (2019)

    Google Scholar 

Download references


The financial support by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs, the National Foundation for Research, Technology and Development, and KEBA AG is gratefully acknowledged.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Paul Grünbacher .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2021 Springer Nature Switzerland AG

About this paper

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this paper

Hinterreiter, D., Linsbauer, L., Prähofer, H., Grünbacher, P. (2021). Feature-Oriented Clone and Pull for Distributed Development and Evolution. In: Paiva, A.C.R., Cavalli, A.R., Ventura Martins, P., Pérez-Castillo, R. (eds) Quality of Information and Communications Technology. QUATIC 2021. Communications in Computer and Information Science, vol 1439. Springer, Cham.

Download citation

  • DOI:

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-030-85346-4

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-030-85347-1

  • eBook Packages: Computer ScienceComputer Science (R0)

Publish with us

Policies and ethics