How does Gears make your engineering tools "product line aware"?
The fundamental characteristic that makes a tool "product line aware" is support for feature-based variation points in the assets managed by the tool. The Gears Bridge SDK – the development kit companion of the PLE Bridge API – enables you to extend your tool with support for variation points by building upon the primitives available in the PLE Bridge API. (Click image to enlarge.)
- The Gears Bridge SDK provides the precise semantics and examples of the required structures and behaviors of a variation point. You decide which artifacts in your tool's assets should support variation points and then use the PLE Bridge API to extend your tool to provide the variation point support for these artifacts.
- The PLE Bridge API supports the full range of different variation point types found in native Gears: optional artifacts, variant artifacts, text transformation within artifacts, and table or spreadsheet variation.
- Variation points in your bridge become feature-based via the variation point Logic, the language that describes variation point behavior in terms of PLE features. Your tool users create and maintain variation point Logic using a Gears Logic Editor launched through the PLE Bridge API – this is what connects your variation points to the user's centralized product line features that are managed in the Gears PLE Lifecycle Framework.
- The primary responsibility of a "product line aware" tool is to configure shared product line assets into different product-specific instances of the assets, based on the product line feature combinations selected for each product. The Gears Bridge SDK describes how to connect your tool to the Gears product configurator through the PLE Bridge API.
- The Gears Bridge SDK describes the PLE-related commands that should be available from your "product line aware" tool and how to implement the commands with the PLE Bridge API.
- The PLE Bridge API is based on industry-standard REST over HTTP, making it easy to integrate with whatever technology you use to implement your tools. (Click image to enlarge.)
BigLever's Gears PLE Lifecycle Framework provides the technology foundation for unified PLE solutions, orchestrating PLE activities among any number and any combination of "product line aware" tools across the full engineering lifecycle. Gears 7.0 allows systems and software product line engineering tool makers to create PLE bridges, making their tools "product line aware" and becoming part of the PLE ecosystem.