Evaluating the benefits of a computer-aided software engineering tool to develop and document product configuration systems

Sara Shafiee*, Yves Wautelet, Steffan Callesen Friis, Lukasz Lis, Ulf Harlou, Lars Hvam

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Computer-Aided Software Engineering (CASE) tools are popular software programs to support the members of the development team (including analysts, designers, coders, database administrators, and project managers) in building new software systems. Up-to-date and consistent knowledge representation and documentation is crucial for companies developing Product Configuration Systems (PCSs). The literature reports various challenges in PCS development, such as maintenance, documentation, knowledge management, resource and time management, system quality, and communication with domain experts as particularly problematic. A CASE tool tailored to the specific needs of PCS development can prove to be useful in tackling at least some of these challenges. Such a CASE tool has to support product models, which means it has to not only allow the representation of the product core architecture and the optional selectable features, but also ensure consistency between representations (views) and deliver forward or reverse engineering. This enables support and automates, at least partially, the development in general and the implementation stage. The focus and main contribution of this paper is twofold. First, we describe the view-based approach required to fully conceptualise the knowledge to generate PCS software from the CASE tool. To this end, the tool indeed includes four different views to build or edit all the required knowledge. Second, we validate this CASE tool within two case companies, wherein we evaluate its application on a project each time it is used. The results show that the use of the CASE tool increases the quality of PCS documentation and saves time and resources while also improving the PCS’s overall quality.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103432
JournalComputers in Industry
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Product configuration system
  • Computer-aided software engineering (CASE)
  • Modelling
  • Development
  • Maintenance
  • Database management system


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