Product line engineering (PLE) aims at building products for a well-defined problem space in less time, with lower costs and higher quality by reusing core assets in a structured way. In the CESAR project, a comprehensive state-of-the-art survey of PLE techniques, methods, and processes among the partners showed that a majority of the partners used PLE techniques, some already quite extensively with several running product lines. The ways of exploiting PLE, however, were rather diverse. Among several pilot applications, we used a demonstrator by THALES Avionics to study the application of CESAR PLE solutions. In this demonstrator, a couple of CESAR tools were, e.g., DODT, CVL Tool, PLUM. However, the survey and the practical experience from the pilot applications showed that a more unified approach to PLE and modeling is required, which led us to the development of the CESAR Variability Ontology, which aims at introducing PLE concepts, harmonizing their use, and defining their interrelationships. This paper provides an overview of the state-of-the-art survey, the THALES case study, and the PLE harmonization activities, and presents the main findings from them
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