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"Software product lines" is a method to develop software, proposed by the Software Engineering Institute of Carnegie Mellon University in the U.S. Through planned reuse of software assets, the method enhances the development efficiency over the long term for product groups under the same sales strategy or on the same road maps. It is regarded as an effective method for developing many derivative products.
The scope of reuse is determined upon the start of applying the software product lines, and the software assets contained in the scope are managed over the long term. Therefore, aside from actual applications, the software product lines requires a business approach including selection of targets and preparation of release plans for the future. This is a major feature of the software product lines method.
Research of the software product lines has been conducted since the 1990s primarily in the U.S. and Europe. At present, the method is increasingly applied mainly in the development of embedded software that controls home electronic products and automobiles.