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Software Testing: Concepts and Operations by Fairouz Tchier, Ali Mili

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16Testing Product Lines

Like all engineering disciplines, software engineering relies on a reuse discipline to achieve economies of scale, improved product quality, shorter production cycles, and reduced process risk. But contrary to all other engineering disciplines, reuse is very difficult in software engineering and has been found to be effective only within the confines of product line engineering (PLE). The purpose of this chapter is to briefly introduce the reader to the reuse discipline of PLE and to focus specifically on testing software products produced and evolved within this discipline.

16.1 PLE: A STREAMLINED REUSE MODEL

Given that software is very labor-intensive (hence hard to automate), that software labor is very expensive (as it requires a great deal of specialized expertise), and that software products are very hard to produce (due to their size and complexity), one would expect software reuse to be an indispensable component of software engineering. Indeed, for an industry that is under as much stress as the software industry, reuse offers a number of significant advantages, including the following:

  • Enhanced productivity, which stems from using the same product in a wide variety of applications at little or no extra cost.
  • Enhanced quality, which stems from investing an adequate amount of effort in the quality assurance of the product, with the knowledge that this effort will be amortized through the multiple uses of the product.
  • Shorter time to market ...

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