Design by Contract, by Example

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9780201634600: Design by Contract, by Example

Design by Contract is a systematic approach to specifying and implementing object-oriented software elements based on precisely defined obligations between them. This is the first practical, example-centered guide to using Design by Contract. The authors introduce powerful design principles for writing good contracts and supporting guidelines -- and demonstrate those principles with real-world Java and Eiffel code examples. They review the fundamentals of Design by Contract -- preconditions, postconditions and invariants -- and presenting a real-world example. Next, drawing on their unparalleled experience with Design by Contract, they present six powerful design principles -- each with a clear statement of goals, rationale, examples in both Java and Eiffel, and supporting notes. Developers will learn how to strengthen their components' internal support for contracts; how to use contracts to specify subclasses whose objects can safely be substituted for superclass objects; how to extend contract to specify and check properties that remain unchanged; and how to use contracts in analysis-level models. The book concludes by summarizing key principles and presenting a realistic cost/benefit analysis of their use.

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From the Back Cover:

Design by contract is an underused--but powerful--aspect of the object-oriented software development environment. With roots in the Eiffel programming language, it has withstood the test of time, and found utility with other programming languages. Here, by using both the Eiffel and Java languages as guidance, Design by Contract, by Example paves the way to learning this powerful concept.

Through the following six teaching principles, the authors demonstrate how to write effective contracts and supporting guidelines. Readers will learn how to:

  1. Separate queries from commands
  2. Separate basic queries from derived queries
  3. Write a postcondition for each derived query that specifies what result can be returned
  4. Write a postcondition for each command that specifies the value of every basic query
  5. Decide on a suitable precondition for every query and command
  6. Write invariants to define unchanging properties of objects

Contracts are built of assertions, which are used to express preconditions, postconditions and invariants. Using the above principles, the authors provide a frank discussion of the benefits, as well as the potential drawbacks, of this programming concept. Insightful examples from both the Eiffel and Java programming languages are included, and the book concludes with a summary of design by contract principles and a cost-benefit analysis of their applications.

Design by Contract, by Example is the first book of its kind to offer an example-based approach to learning this important paradigm. If you are a developer seeking a way to improve your craft, this book will give you the necessary understanding of the concepts of contracts in software design.



0201634600B08142001

About the Author:

Richard Mitchell is a senior consultant with InferData Corporation, specializing in object-oriented analysis and design. Before joining InferData full-time in 1999, he was a Professor of Computing at the University of Brighton, UK, where he was involved in teaching and researching object technology.

Jim McKim is Clinical Professor and Chair of the Department of Engineering and Science at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Hartford, Connecticut. He has been teaching and consulting in the area of object oriented software development for some 10 years. Over the same period he has authored or coauthored numerous articles on Design by Contract for such publications as the Journal of Object-Oriented Programming and IEEE Computer.



0201634600AB08142001

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