Feature interaction in a federated communications-enabled collaboration platform


Kolberg M, Buford J, Dhara K, Wu X & Krishnaswamy V (2013) Feature interaction in a federated communications-enabled collaboration platform. Computer Networks, 57 (12), pp. 2410-2428.

Existing online collaboration tools and platforms provide basic communications integration and the ability to include some real-time information sources. Moreover, users prefer to be able to choose which collaboration tool they use for a given interaction, and over the course of long-term collaboration, will typically use a variety of tools, including email, instant messages, wikis, blogs, web conferences, and shared documents. For enterprise use there is a need to integrate the various tools as well as link with existing intelligent communication systems to support long-term collaborations in a variety of ways. Due to the number and different nature of collaboration services used in enterprises today, building such a federated collaboration platform is challenging. Collaboration tools differ in terms of storage model, APIs, content organization, addressing, formats, user authentication, and user interface. By the very nature of such systems they include a large number of independently developed features and services and thus provide a strong potential for feature interactions. This paper presents novel work on feature interaction analysis in collaboration environments and presents an approach to detect and resolve such interactions where the collaboration space is used as a communication endpoint. In this paper ConnectedSpaces is used as a basis to carry out a detailed analysis of feature interaction problems in collaboration environments. ConnectedSpaces is a new model for federated collaboration environments. Like a number of existing systems, ConnectedSpaces uses a collaboration space as the basic construct. ConnectedSpaces enables the user to work directly in the client application of their choice; this is illustrated with plug-ins for MS Outlook, Internet Explorer and Skype. This paper presents distinctive characteristics of ConnectedSpaces, including views, spaces as communication endpoints, space persistence and structuring, and embedded objects. Using these features, new types of feature interactions for collaboration platforms are categorized and analyzed. The work presented in this paper focuses on handling feature interactions which are caused by using ConnectedSpaces as a communication endpoint with enterprise communication platforms. This work is novel as it is the first investigation into feature interactions with collaboration platforms. Our approach uses a runtime feature interaction technique which can cope with features being provided by different organizations.

Collaboration tools; Enterprise communication; Feature interaction

Computer Networks: Volume 57, Issue 12

Publication date31/08/2013
Publication date online30/04/2013