Boeing (2nd Case)

Company Background

The Boeing Company is one of the leading manufacturers of commercial jetliners, military aircraft, satellites, missile defence, human space flight, and launch systems.


The Bold Stroke software product line was originally initiated in 1995 at McDonnell-Douglas which, in the meantime, merged with the Boeing Company. The purpose of the product line was to avail reuse potentials in the operational flight program (OFP) software across multiple fighter aircraft platforms. OFPs are mission-critical, distributed, real-time embedded applications supporting the avionics as well as the cockpit functions for the pilot.


The first step of introducing Bold Stroke included the definition and of a reference architecture and its proof of concept, including hardware, software, standards, and practices. The main challenge when defining the reference architecture was to harmonise the differences in the avionics subsystems, mission computing hardware, and system requirements. The software architecture consists of reusable components. Hardware independence is achieved by layering and the use of a medium-grained abstraction level.


The success of the Bold Stroke software product line is based on the reduction of dependencies between components and the dependency on platform-specific hardware. The software design facilitates the modification of components and maximises the reuse in different OFPs. The Bold Stroke software product line was flight tested successfully on several different aircraft platforms hosted on different hardware configurations. It is the foundation for different production and research programmes, e.g. performed by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).


  • B.S. Doerr and D.C. Sharp; "Freeing Product Line Architectures from Execution Dependencies", In: Proceedings of the First Software Product Lines Conference (SPLC-1), Denver, Kluwer, 2000, pp. 313-329.
  • D.C. Sharp; "Component Based Product Line Development of Avionics Software", In: Proceedings of the First Software Product Lines Conference (SPLC-1), Denver, Kluwer, 2000, pp. 353-369.
  • SPLC2 - Product Line Hall of Fame (Website)