Users as Composers: Parts and Features as a Basis for Tailorability in CSCW Systems
Tailoring CSCW systems by composing components has received some attention in the last few years. The underlying ideas and techniques usually come from the domain of software engineering. We take a closer look at the specific situation and requirements when applying composition for tailoring CSCW systems and relate it to other kinds of tailoring mechanisms. We then describe the different approach of feature composition, originating from the domain of telecommunication networks. Roughly, the difference can be characterized as composing either parts or properties (``features''). We argue, that in many cases feature composition is better suited for tailoring CSCW systems than the normal approach. Hence, feature composition should be applied, in addition to the normal approach, in tailorable CSCW systems. We show how both approaches can be combined in a single system and demonstrate their use with an example from the workflow management domain.