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Flexible Features Tree – A method and apparatus to manage software features list among versions

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000208674D
Publication Date: 2011-Jul-15
Document File: 3 page(s) / 103K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Enterprise software products release a series of versions during their life cycle in the market. There are increasing functionality differences among different product versions. Users are often confused to decide which product version contains what exact features that can meet their real needs. This invention resolves the issues by using tree structure to consolidate, compare, query and maintain all the product features among various versions in special Features Tree.

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Flexible Features Tree - A method and apparatus to manage software features list among versions

Enterprise software products release a series of versions during their life cycle in the market. The new version product delivers new features, remove deprecated features, even design or architecture changes beyond the previous. Consequently, there are increasing functionality differences among various product versions. Users are often confused to understand which product version contains what exact features that can meet their real needs.

Commonly, the product User Guide document is the only reference of product features. However, it is usually too long and not-well-formed to quickly find out the functionality details, parity and differences among different version.

Our disclosure is to provide a method and apparatus to solve the problem flexibly.

For prior art, the keywords like 'software features/functions', 'organise/display', 'tree structure/model' are searched in related patent sites like Google patents. Some results are return like "Method for reanchoring branches within a directory tree ", "Display method in software development support system", and "Method and apparatus for information management using an open hierarchical data structure", etc. But not see any existing invention mentions the same idea as this disclosure.

It is a method using Tree structure to consolidate, compare, query and maintain all the product features among various versions. To facilitate all types of user, the Flexible Features Tree is designed and implemented to

Be feasible to enterprise software products, can be used by customers, field and product teams


Check out the features relationship (parity and differentiator) among product versions
Provide system to store product features information with XML, which can be queried and presented with different ways, like Web page, spreadsheet or formatted text
Support attaching external reference links to each feature, including InfoCenter, Technote document, Tutorials, etc
Support adding Tag to organize and present features in various views
Support real time editing the Tree contents for collaboration and customization
Can be packaged into other tools like Software Products Support Assistant, and easy to be delivered

It's a good assistant for users to understand the software products simply, effectively and comprehensively. By using it, lots of benefits could be gained for each role. Overall, it helps to reduce the costs of repeated but inefficient searching, education and communication of products features.

For Development, it helps to plan how to fill the functional differences between various versions, validate the migration coverage and direction efficiently;

For Test, it helps to learn all features comprehensively, verify test cases and test matrix coverage;

For Document, it helps to improve the structure of product documentation;

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For Product Services, it helps to quickly find out the functional...