FAMILIAR: A domain-specific language for large scale management of feature models

Mathieu Acher, Philippe Collet, Philippe Lahire, Robert B. France

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The feature model formalism has become the de facto standard for managing variability in software product lines (SPLs). In practice, developing an SPL can involve modeling a large number of features representing different viewpoints, sub-systems or concerns of the software system. This activity is generally tedious and error-prone. In this article, we present FAMILIAR a Domain-Specific Language (DSL) that is dedicated to the large scale management of feature models and that complements existing tool support. The language provides a powerful support for separating concerns in feature modeling, through the provision of composition and decomposition operators, reasoning facilities and scripting capabilities with modularization mechanisms. We illustrate how an SPL consisting of medical imaging services can be practically managed using reusable FAMILIAR scripts that implement reasoning mechanisms. We also report on various usages and applications of FAMILIAR and its operators, to demonstrate their applicability to different domains and use for different purposes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)657-681
Number of pages25
JournalScience of Computer Programming
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2013


  • Domain-specific language
  • Feature model
  • Model management
  • Software product lines
  • Variability


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