A software ecosystem is the interaction of a set of actors on top of a common technological platform that results in a number of software solutions or services. Arguably, software ecosystems are gaining importance with the advent of, e.g., the Google Android, Apache, and Salesforce.com ecosystems. However, there exists no systematic overview of the research done on software ecosystems from a software engineering perspective. We performed a systematic literature review of software ecosystem research, analyzing 90 papers on the subject taken from a gross collection of 420. Our main conclusions are that while research on software ecosystems is increasing (a) there is little consensus on what constitutes a software ecosystem, (b) few analytical models of software ecosystems exist, and (c) little research is done in the context of real-world ecosystems. This work provides an overview of the field, while identifying areas for future research.
Journal review article
Journal of Systems and Software, 2013, Vol 86, Issue 5
Software ecosystems; Software ecosystem; Systematic literature review; The Faculty of Science