Engineering Software Architectures, Processesand Platforms for System-Families (ITEA 99005)

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To provide an enhanced system-family approach in the following areas: Analysis, Definition and Evolution of system-families. ESAPS is designed to enable a major paradigm shift in the existing processes, methods, platforms and tools.


A system-family is defined as a group of systems sharing a common, managed set of features that satisfy core needs of a scoped domain. The idea behind a system-family approach is to build a new system or application from a common set of assets (domain model, reference architecture, components) defined from earlier developed systems belonging to the same line. A software asset is a description of a part of a solution. It might be a component, known requirements or design elements that an engineer uses to build or modify a software product.


Today, companies offering software-intensive systems have to face several trends: modularity, component technology, configurability, standardisation, decreasing time to market, fast change of requirements, globalisation, and more varying customer groups. These trends might cause serious problems if we don't address them adequately: unemployment due to shrinking market share is one of the most common consequences observed in Europe.

ESAPS is designed to enable a step change in the existing processes, methods, platforms and tools and comprises the following changes:

  1. from state of the art object technology to component technology for complex embedded systems
  2. from engineering single systems to the engineering of multiple systems or system-families
  3. making the transition to the next reuse level

When designing products, we should take into account an increasing number of user groups with diverging requirements. Therefore, we have to handle requirements and architecture so a variety of products can be derived using a common pattern - a family concept. This enables the development of special products within the same family but adapted, for example, to the requirements of customers in a specific country.The ESAPS results will be fivefold:

  1. Enhanced system-family engineering processes
  2. Enhanced system-family engineering methods and tools
  3. Enhanced component based domain specific platforms for system-families
  4. Requirements for engineering tool suppliers to adapt their tools to comply with system-family engineering needs. Resulting from 1 and 2.
  5. Requirements for generic and domain-specific middleware suppliers. Resulting from 3.

The direct impact of industrialisation of system-family practices means that product life-cycles get shorter. By dealing with complete families companies are able to gain larger market shares. It will create markets for tools and support mechanisms for component and middleware providers.

  • Alcatel (F)
  • Combitech (S)
  • Ericsson (S)
  • Eindhoven Embedded Systems Institute (NL)
  • European Software Institute (ES)
  • Fraunhofer IESE (D)
  • Helsinki Univ. of Tech. (SF)
  • INRIA Rennes (F)
  • Ivorium (F)
  • Market Maker (D)


  • Nokia NRC (SF)
  • Philips (NL)
  • Robert Bosch (D)
  • Sainco (ES)
  • SERC (NL)
  • Siemens (D)
  • Thales (F)
  • Unión Fenosa (ES)
  • Univ. Essen (D)
  • Univ. Polit. Madrid (ES)
  • Univ. Karlskrona/Ronneby (S)


Project Manager: Mr. Frank van der Linden, [email protected]



The project is finished. We had 3 Internal workshops, and 2 International ones.

Start: 07/1999
End: 07/2001


  • Approaches to perform architecture analysis for system families.
  • Extensive investigation on domain analysis including, in particular, scoping, feature analysis and quality aspects.
  • Several system family processes are related to a process framework.
  • Classification and traceability of system family requirements.
  • Dealing with commonalities and variabilities within the family and provide platforms and components to implement this.
  • Change management support for system family evolution.
  • Automation of product generation