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Software Product Lines are increasingly being perceived as a viable option of manufacturing software, and as a software development paradigm. Software Product Lines allow organizations to yield high returns on initial investments, better times to market, cut costs and increase profits. The field of domain engineering becomes particularly of interest when it comes to understanding the right requirements when building a product line. A number of companies today want to get into the paradigm of developing off of a product line however they do not know what is it that they need to build for this product line, what is the right level of modularity that they want to achieve when building the basic components / features or units, what have you, when ensuring high maintainability and scalability of the product line, so that they remain profitable with time without having to reengineer their product lines themselves. Many companies have tried and failed at the effort of efficiently analyzing the domain that they want to build the product line for, largely because of the lack of appropriate / effective guidelines to understand the domain from the perspective of building a product line. This article aims to look at the various problems and challenges that exist in the world of domain engineering at the level of domain analysis and design, when it comes to building the right kind of product lines. Here we take a look at the various approaches out there that provide some guidance for domain analysis.
This paper also lays special emphasis on trying to apply the concepts from the Software Stability Model (SSM) and the related Knowledge Map approach to analysis, architecture and design and how it can be applied to the field of domain analysis and design in order to understand the requirements so as to foster the development of a core infrastructure for a product line. We take a look at how far SSM goes to fulfill the PL promise, what are the values that it brings and what other challenges remain unconquered as yet.