Managing systems evolving in space and time: four challenges for maintenance, evolution and composition of variants
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SPLC '21: 25th ACM International Systems and Software Product Line Conference
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Software companies need to provide a large set of features satisfying functional and non-functional requirements of diverse customers, thereby leading to variability in space. Feature location techniques have been proposed to support software maintenance and evolution in space. However, so far only one feature location technique also analyses the evolution in time of system variants, which is required for feature enhancements and bug fixing. Specifically, existing tools for managing a set of systems over time do not offer proper support for keeping track of feature revisions, updating existing variants, and creating new product configurations based on feature revisions. This paper presents four challenges concerning such capabilities for feature (revision) location and composition of new product configurations based on feature/s (revisions). We also provide a benchmark containing a ground truth and support for computing metrics. We hope that this will motivate researchers to provide and evaluate tool-supported approaches aiming at managing systems evolving in space and time. Further, we do not limit the evaluation of techniques to only this benchmark: we introduce and provide instructions on how to use a benchmark extractor for generating ground truth data for other systems. We expect that the feature (revision) location techniques maximize information retrieval in terms of precision, recall, and F-score, while keeping execution time and memory consumption low.