Judith Bishop: Software Product Lines – Predicting the Success of Predictive Software Reuse in Industry

Software consumers are now used to having new versions or updates of products or apps installed on their computers and devices. As software producers, we know that this continuous improvement is most profitable if it relies on predictive software reuse resulting in a software product line. The elements of reuse are software components which are themselves an object of study. In this keynote, I’ll talk about experiences working in Microsoft in the past decade, looking at three types of software development. Smaller, rapid development projects generally used opportunistic reuse, if at all, until they got too big and faltered. There is much to learn from the characteristics of such projects, some of which are still very successful. Naturally the large revenue spinners like Windows, Office and Azure are the epitome of product line development.  From the research angle, it is interesting to observe how improvements have been made to these process in recent times. The third development environment cross-cuts everything, and that is open source. Results from a thorough study I conducted on 20 projects at Microsoft reveal a wide variety of benefits and challenges of using open source in industry, especially when it comes to reuse. From this we’ll look ahead to the future of software product line research.

About Judith Bishop

Judith Bishop is a computer scientist and author whose career spans industry and academia. At Microsoft Research, she led and coordinated cross group projects, empowering people in teams to produce high quality products that have lasting impact. As a professor, she was recognized as an innovator, who increased the perception and adoption of strategic new technologies globally. After studying in South Africa, Judith received her PhD from the University of Southampton, UK. She then served as a professor in South Africa, most recently at Stellenbosch University.  Judith’s 17 books written over a period of 30 years have highlighted the evolution of programming languages. Judith is an ACM Distinguished Member, and has received the IFIP Silver Core Award, among other awards. She is a Fellow of the British Computer Society and the Royal Society of South Africa.