Faculty of Computer Science Workgroup Databases & Software Engineering


An Eclipse plug-in for Feature-Oriented Software Development.

Please cite as: Thomas Thüm, Christian Kästner, Fabian Benduhn, Jens Meinicke, Gunter Saake, and Thomas Leich. FeatureIDE: An Extensible Framework for Feature-Oriented Software Development. Science of Computer Programming, 79(0):70-85, January 2014. (see in ACM DL)


Software product lines (SPL) have a long tradition and will gain momentum in the future. Today's research tries to move software development to a new quality of industrial production. Several solutions concerning different phases of the software development process have been proposed in order to cope with different problems of program family development. A major problem of program family engineering is still the missing tool support. The vision is an IDE that brings all phases of the development process together, consistently and in a user-friendly manner.

FeatureIDE is an Eclipse-based IDE that supports all phases of feature-oriented software development for the development of SPLs: domain analysis, domain implementation, requirements analysis, and software generation. Different SPL implementation techniques are integrated such as feature-oriented programming (FOP), aspect-oriented programming (AOP), delta-oriented programming (DOP), and preprocessors.

FeatureIDE is under constant development. The following features are implemented:

  • Full Eclipse Integration
  • Feature Model Editor, graphical and text based.
    • Highlighting of dead and false-optional features and their corresponding constraints based on Sat4j.
  • Constraint Editor with content assist, syntax, and semantic checking, e.g., dead feature detection.
  • Abstraction from the SPL source code for several outline and navigation tools, among others and overview how mixins are composed and which methods are present in previous features.
  • Configuration Editor to create and edit configurations and with support for deriving valid configuration.
  • Support for edits on feature models, i.e., categorizing edits into refactorings, generalizations, specializations or none of these.
  • A view displaying statistics about the software product line.
  • Feature-oriented programming:
    • Integration of AHEAD
    • Integration of FeatureC++
    • Integration of FeatureHouse with support for C, C#, Java 1.5, JML, Haskell, XML, JavaCC, ...
      • Family-based type checks with Fuji
  • Aspect-oriented programming:
  • Delta-oriented programming:
  • Annotation-based:
    • Integration of the C preprocessor with Colligens
      • Family-based type checks with TypeChef
    • Integration of the preprocessor Munge
    • Integration of the preprocessor Antenna
  • Generation of all program variants
  • Support for feature model grammars of following tools:


Some new functionality in upcoming FeatureIDE 2.7.4 is explained in the following screencasts:

  • Improved outline with support for further langauges (Haskell, C#), nested classes, and with new filters.
  • Improved collaboration diagram with support for nested classes, new filters, and toolbar buttons.
  • Improved statistics view with LOC, support for nested classes, and jump-to-file actions.

Some new functionality in FeatureIDE 2.7.2 is explained in the following screencasts:

  • Support for Munge in Android projects.
  • SVG export for feature diagram and collaboration diagram as well as support for moving features with SHIFT and cursor keys.

Some new functionality in FeatureIDE 2.7.0 is explained in the following screencasts:

Some new functionality in FeatureIDE 2.6.7 is explained in the following screencasts:

Some new functionality in FeatureIDE 2.6.3 is explained in the following screencasts:

Some new functionality in FeatureIDE 2.6.0 is explained in the following screencasts:

Please check out the tutorial by Jörg Liebig based on material by Don Batory including videos explaining the usage.

You may also want to watch a screencast of an older FeatureIDE version, namely FeatureIDE 2.3.6.

WOWSlider generated by WOWSlider.com
  • Build Configurations
  • Collaboration Diagram
  • Collaboration Outline
  • Configuration Editor
  • Constraint Wizard
  • Feature Model Edits View
  • Error Propagation
  • Feature Model Editor
  • Fuji
Build Configurations1 Collaboration Diagram2 Collaboration Outline3 Configuration Editor4 Constraint Wizard5 Feature Model Edits View6 Error Propagation7 Feature Model Editor8 Fuji9
Slider CSS3 by WOWSlider.com v4.7


Research based on FeatureIDE

Related Publications

Related Tools

  • CIDE: A software product line tool for software product line development following the paradigm of separation of concerns.
  • FAMILIAR: An executable language that supports manipulating and reasoning about feature models.
  • Fuji: An extensible compiler that supports feature-oriented programming in Java.
  • LEADT: Supports developers in locating features in Java code in order to turn them into a software product line.
  • FeatureIDE is extended for "An Homogeneous Feature-based Approach" separating and linking different variability spaces.
  • VAmPiRE: Variant-Preserving Refactoring for Feature-Oriented Software Product Lines.
  • FeatureJS: Support for feature-oriented software development in JavaScript.


For a current step-by-step tutorial see the FeatureIDE cheat sheet in Eclipse (help menu).

Examples can be found using "New > Examples > FeatureIDE".

We prepared slides as documentation for FeatureIDE:

  1. FeatureIDE: Background - Short overview of Feature-Oriented Software Development
  2. FeatureIDE: Overview: Description of FeatureIDE's Functionality
  3. FeatureIDE: Get Started - How to install FeatureIDE and retrieve example projects
  4. FeatureIDE: Development - How to extend FeatureIDE, i.e., how is the SVN organized and which plug-in implements which functionalities


How to install FeatureIDE and retrieve example projects? FeatureIDE: Get Started

Please support FeatureIDE by downloading it within Eclipse using Help > Eclipse Marketplace > Search for FeatureIDE! We would like to get your feedback and comments on FeatureIDE and you can rate our plug-in at the Eclipse MarketPlace.

You can download and test the current version of FeatureIDE using the Eclipse Update Mechanism or the Eclipse Marketplace. If you do not have Eclipse installed, you might choose the "Eclipse IDE for Java Developers" in the current version. We also prepared an Eclipse with FeatureIDE, CDT, and AJDT installed (32bit version of Java is required):

Open the FeatureIDE perspective in the right upper corner of the Eclipse window. You also may want to open the FeatureIDE cheat sheet using "Help > Cheat Sheets... > FeatureIDE".

Java 1.7 or higher is required! (FeatureIDE 2.7.2 and earlier versions do only require Java 1.6)

Eclipse Ganymede (3.4) to Kepler (4.3)

  1. Open Eclipse and go to "Help > Install New Software..."
    • Galileo (3.5) or older: Open Eclipse and go to "Help > Software Updates... > Available Software > Add Site..."
  2. Add the following remote site: http://wwwiti.cs.uni-magdeburg.de/iti_db/research/featureide/deploy/
  3. Select the the features FeatureIDE, Feature Modeling, and the required FeatureIDE extensions. You may need to add further update sites to install FeatureIDE extensions:
  4. Continue with "Install..."

Nighly Builds

For nightly builds, use the following update site: http://wwwiti.cs.uni-magdeburg.de/iti_db/research/featureide/nightly/p2-updateSite/
Hint: disable "Group items by category" at the update wizard.

Older Versions

Using the above update site you can only access recent versions of FeatureIDE. Older versions can be accessed using the following update site:
FeatureIDE 2.5 and earlier versions: http://wwwiti.cs.uni-magdeburg.de/iti_db/research/featureide/deploy/2.5/

Source Code

FeatureIDE is released under L-GPL license v3. The source code is available in the following Git repository: https://github.com/tthuem/FeatureIDE. See also our Bug Tracker and Wiki.

When importing the FeatureIDE plug-ins, a) deselect the checkbox for nested projectes, and b) type 'plugins' into the filter. Then you can import the projects you need.

Plug-In compatibility

Compatibility of FeatureIDE plug-ins and Eclipse versions. The table contains links to the update sites of additional required plug-ins.

Feature Modeling FeatureIDE (AHEAD) FeatureHouse FeatureC++ AspectJ Antenna Munge Collegins (CPP) DeltaJ
Eclipse 4.4 Yes Yes Yes Yes CDT 8.6 Yes AJDT dev builds Yes Yes Yes CDT 8.6 No
Eclipse 4.3 Yes Yes Yes Yes CDT Yes AJDT Yes Yes Yes CDT No
Eclipse 4.2 Yes Yes Yes Yes CDT Yes AJDT Yes Yes Yes CDT Yes Xtext-2.3.1*, XTypeS
Eclipse 3.7 Yes Yes Yes Yes CDT Yes AJDT Yes Yes Yes CDT Yes Xtext-2.3.1*, XTypeS

* Depending on pre-installed plugins there can be problems with installing Xtext. Check which version of google inject you have installed in your plugins folder: com.google.inject_3.0.0.no_aop.jar works, com.google.inject_3.0.0.v201203063045.jar does not work

T-wise generation with CASA is currently only available on windows systems, if you however need to use it contact us so we can find a solution.

All functionalities are tested under Windows, Mac, and Linux. However, FeatureIDE is mainly developed under Windows. If you have problems with FeatureIDE on your operating system, please do not hesitate to contact us or to use our bug tracker.


Why are the symbols in cross-tree constraints below the feature diagram are not displayed correctly?

Please make sure that the font "Arial Unicode MS" is installed on your operating system so that FeatureIDE can use it to display the cross-tree constraints.

How can I use external jar files in my FeatureIDE project?

For FeatureIDE 2.4 and older: Please create a folder named "lib" at the project root and insert all jar files which you intent to reference. The jar files are detected by the compiler and added as parameters if you run your FeatureIDE application.
For FeatureIDE 2.5 and newer: Right click the jar files in package explorer and add them to the Java build path.

How can I compare two different feature models in FeatureIDE?

  1. Prepare two FeatureIDE projects (A and B) that contain the feature models you want to compare. Either edit them using FeatureIDE or import them from other formats, e.g., GUIDSL.
  2. Open the feature model of project A, switch to the tab Source, and copy the whole document.
  3. Open the feature model of project B, switch to the tab Source, and paste the clipboard.
  4. Switch back to the tab Feature Diagram in editor of project B and the feature model edit view will show the results.
Checkout this video to see how to do it.

How can I import/export the feature model from/to other tools?

Select the file model.xml in Package Explorer and open the context menu > FeatureIDE > Import/Export ...

How can I store my feature model to a bitmap graphic or PDF file?

Select or open your feature model and then choose "File" > "Save As" or "File" > "Print". The later option requires that you have an PDF printer installed and have a program to crop PDFs (such as Adobe Acrobat).
Note, that you can change the layout of the feature model since FeatureIDE 2.6 using "Set Layout" in the context menu of the feature model editor. There are pre-defined layouts, but you can also manually move features for compact positioning.


FeatureIDE is developed mainly at the University of Magdeburg, Germany. It is open source, to acquire the source code see Git repository and bug tracker above. For information about the project, technical questions and bug reports: please contact the development team via thomas.thuem@ovgu.de. You can also use our bug tracker.

FeatureIDE project members and contributors:

  • Thomas Thüm (University of Magdeburg, Germany; University of Texas at Austin, USA)
  • Christian Kästner (Carnegie Mellon University, USA)
  • Thomas Leich (Metop Research Institute, Magdeburg, Germany)
  • Reimar Schröter (University of Magdeburg, Germany)
  • Jens Meinicke (University of Magdeburg, Germany)
  • Fabian Benduhn (University of Magdeburg, Germany)
  • Sebastian Krieter (University of Magdeburg, Germany)
  • Konstantin Tonscheidt (University of Magdeburg, Germany)
  • Marcus Pinnecke (University of Magdeburg, Germany)
  • Christopher Kruczek (Metop Research Institute, Magdeburg, Germany)
  • Stefan Krüger (University of Magdeburg, Germany)
  • Sven Schuster (University of Braunschweig, Germany)
  • Sandro Schulze (University of Braunschweig, Germany)
  • Márcio Ribeiro (Federal University of Alagoas, Brazil)
  • Francisco Dalton (Federal University of Alagoas, Brazil)
  • Thiago Emmanuel de Oliveira Lima (Federal University of Alagoas, Brazil)
  • Flávio Medeiros (Federal University of Alagoas, Brazil)
  • Indika Weerasingha Kumara (Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia)
  • Malinda Kaushalye Kapuruge (Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia)
  • Angelo Gargantini (University of Bergamo, Italy)
  • Paolo Vavassori (University of Bergamo, Italy)
  • Don Batory (University of Texas at Austin, USA)
  • Sven Apel (University of Passau, Germany)

Former project members and contributors:

  • Constanze Adler (University of Magdeburg, Germany)
  • Christian Becker (University of Magdeburg, Germany)
  • Stephan Besecke (University of Magdeburg, Germany)
  • David Broneske (University of Magdeburg, Germany)
  • Tom Brosch (University of Magdeburg, Germany)
  • Erik Dänike (University of Magdeburg, Germany)
  • Alexander Dreiling (University of Magdeburg, Germany)
  • Christoph Giesel (University of Magdeburg, Germany)
  • Patrik Haese (University of Magdeburg, Germany)
  • David Halm (University of Magdeburg, Germany)
  • Dominik Hamann (University of Magdeburg, Germany)
  • Sebastian Henneberg (University of Passau, Germany)
  • Sönke Holthusen (University of Magdeburg, Germany)
  • Marcus Kamieth (University of Magdeburg, Germany)
  • Stephan Kauschka (University of Magdeburg, Germany)
  • Dariusz Krolikowski (University of Magdeburg, Germany)
  • Maik Lampe (University of Magdeburg, Germany)
  • Christian Lausberger (University of Magdeburg, Germany)
  • Tim Lautenschläger (University of Magdeburg, Germany)
  • Laura Marnitz (University of Magdeburg, Germany)
  • Cyrill Meier (University of Magdeburg, Germany)
  • Marcus Leich (University of Magdeburg, Germany)
  • Melanie Pflaume (University of Magdeburg, Germany)
  • Florian Proksch (University of Magdeburg, Germany)
  • Felix Rieger (University of Marburg, Germany)
  • Alexander Schmidt (University of Magdeburg, Germany)
  • Eric Schubert (University of Magdeburg, Germany)
  • Steffen Schulze (University of Magdeburg, Germany)
  • Janet Siegmund (Feigenspan) (Metop Research Institute, Magdeburg, Germany)
  • Ingo Siemers (University of Magdeburg, Germany)
  • Hannes Smuracsky (University of Magdeburg, Germany)
  • Torsten Stöter (University of Magdeburg, Germany)
  • Patrick Sulkowski(University of Magdeburg, Germany)
  • Patrick Venohr (University of Magdeburg, Germany)
  • Jan Wedding (University of Magdeburg, Germany)
  • Fabian Wielgorz (University of Passau, Germany)


Since December 2010 FeatureIDE is listed at the Eclipse marketplace.

Since 2007 we received support request from the following cities:

View FeatureIDE Support Requests on a larger map

Related Downloads

We generated 2000 feature models for our current research which are available for download. There are 200 models in ten different sizes: 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, 1000, 2000, 5000 and 10000 features. All feature models contain cross-tree constaints growing with the number of features and are not void, i.e., they contain at least one product.

Guidsl jar file: guidsl.jar