REVIEW - Software Product Lines - Practices and Patterns


Software Product Lines

Practices and Patterns


Paul Clements, Linda Northrop



Addison-Wesley Professional (2002)




Huw Lloyd


August 2002



The text is well narrated, concise and full of rich content.

The authors claim to have distilled universal and essential software product line practices that apply in every situation and to have categorised a reservoir of practical information. I believe they are correct.

The product line effort is described in three parts; software engineering, technical management and organisation management. They are further subdivided into practice areas (roles or activities); each practice is vital for the product line success. It is a simple and effective model for comprehending the whole product line effort across the business organisation. The distinction between the three categories is an eye opener in itself, one that has increasing import the further we diverge our thinking from developing a stand-alone product to a product line.

Students will benefit from the book's tractable narration and minimal technical demand. Yet the lessons and models presented are very much for the needy practitioner. The questions at every section's end are particularly good inducement for probing ones understanding.

The pattern section forms only a fraction of the book. I believe its principle benefit is for the analysis of practice area inter-relationships and comprehension and not for the claimed purpose of compiling a pattern language.

Numerous references are scattered throughout the text which are accompanied by recommendations for further reading. Notably absent was a reference for Czarnecki and Eisenecker's Generative Programming .

The text is well narrated, concise and full of rich content. I recommend it for anyone building multiple software products from a common source and for students of software engineering.


Book cover image courtesy of Open Library.

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