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Design by Contract in Java

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  1. Design by Contract in Java Concept and Comparison

  2. What is DBC? • Classes of a system communicate with one another on the basis of precisely defined benefits and obligations. [Bertrand Meyer, CACM, Vol. 36, No 9, 1992]

  3. What is DBC? (cont.) • Preconditions of methods A boolean expression which is assumed true when the method gets called • Postconditions of methods A boolean expression which the caller can assume to be true when the method returns • Class invariants consistency conditions of objects must hold for all instances

  4. @pre @post @invariant Preconditions, Postconditions and Class Invariants /** * @invariant gpa >= 0 */ class Student { protected _gpa; /** * GPA always >=0 * @pre gpa >= 0 */ void setGPA (double gpa){…} /** * GPA always >=0 * @post return >= 0 */ double getGPA(){…} }

  5. Preconditions, Postconditions and Class Invariants (cont.) http://archive.eifel.com/doc/manuals/technology/contract/pafe.html e.g., inserting a certain element into a dictionary (a table where each element is identified by a certain character string used as key) of bounded capacity. put (x: ELEMENT; key: STRING)is -- Insert x so that it will be retrievable through key. require count <= capacity not key.empty do ... Some insertion algorithm ... ensure has (x) item (key) = x count = old count + 1 end

  6. Obligations (Must ensure precondition) Make sure table is not full and key is a non-empty string. (Must ensure postcondition) Record given element in table, associated with given key. Benefits (May benefit from postcondition) Get updated table where the given element now appears, associated with the given key. (May assume precondition) No need to do anything if table is full, or key is empty string. The Notion of Contract http://archive.eifel.com/doc/manuals/technology/contract/pafe.html Client Supplier

  7. The Notion of Contract (cont.) http://archive.eifel.com/doc/manuals/technology/contract/pafe.html • Obligations • Satisfy preconditions • Satisfy postconditions • Benefits • No need to check output values • Result guaranteed to comply to postcondition • No need to check input values • Input guaranteed to comply to precondition Client Supplier

  8. Benefits of Design by Contract • Better understanding of software construction • Systematic approach to building bug-free oo systems • Effective framework for debugging, testing and quality assurance • Method for documenting software components • Better control of the inheritance mechanism • Technique for dealing with abnormal cases, effective exception handling

  9. Current Existing Tools • Formal documentation informal, implicit vs. formal, explicit • Runtime validation translate the contract into runtime assertions most common • Static analysis use model checking, theorem prover to analyze at compile time

  10. Current Existing Tools (cont.) • JDK1.4: assert • Eiffel http://archive.eiffel.com • iContract by Reto Kramer, Cambridge Technology Partners • JASS http://semantik.informatik.uni-oldenburg.de/~jass/ • JMSAssert by man machine systems http://www.mmsindia.com/JMSAssert.html • Jtest and Jcontract by parasoft http://www.parasoft.com

  11. What are These Tools For? • Most are runtime validation and formal documentation • programmer-provided assertions into source code, using a preprocessor • At runtime, check if these assertions are violated—possibly, throw exceptions

  12. What are These Tools For? (cont.) • Requirement: programmer needs to write assertions (preconditions, postconditions, class invariants) in certain documentation format. • Run the preprocessors (possibly with options) to get the instrumented program. • Result: avoidance of any runtime exceptions due to violation of assertions (but still throw other exceptions).

  13. Comparison Between These Tools

  14. Comparison Between These Tools (cont.) • How expressiveness? • How to deal with class hierarchies? • Other design issues • Implementation issues • Additional features

  15. How Expressivness? • JDK1.4: low level features.dose not specify precondition, postconditon and invariant • Other tools: ---preconditions, postconditions and invariants to be checked at different entry of the program ---some have quantifiers: forall, exists, implies ---value at entry level of a method vs. value at return level of a method

  16. How Expressiveness? (cont.) • Forall (iContract): forall <Class> <var> in <Enum> | <Expr_var> • Exists (iContract): exists <Class> <var> in <Enum> | <Expr_var> • implies (iContract): C implies I e.g., each employee must be on the employment-list of all it’s employers: @invariant employees_ != null implies forall Emplyee e in employees_.elements() | exists Employer c in e.getEmployers() | c == this

  17. How Expressiveness? (cont.) • Old value, @pre (iContract): @post this.size()==this.size()@pre + 1 • Old value, $prev (JMSAssert): @post a == $prev(a) + val

  18. Class Hierarchies(Class extension, interface implementation, interface extension and innerclasses) • Why? type, syntax vs. semantic more strict on what a subtype should do • Example interface human{ object getFood(); } class cat implements human{ // might return raw rat, if no contract is made here public object getFood() {…} }

  19. Class Hierarchies(cont.) • JDK1.4: No. • Eiffel: --OR in precondition, AND in postcondition • iContract, JMSAssert: --invariants: conjuncted (stronger in subtype) --postconditions: conjuncted (stronger in subtype) --preconditions: disjuncted (weaker in subtype) • JASS: --must implement the interface jass.runtime.refinement

  20. Examples (JMSAssert) interface Employee { /** * @post return > 25 */ int getAge(); /** * @pre age > 25 */ void setAge( int age); } class ImpEmployee implements Employee { protected int eage; /** * @post return < 65 */ public int getAge(){ return age_; } /** * @pre age < 65 */ public void setAge( int age) { eage = age; } … } Class Hierarchies (cont.) Subclass can choose to deal with more conditions, but must offer at least the same service.

  21. Other Design Issues • How to avoid non-terminating recursion? --iContract: keeps track of the call-chain at runtime to prevent recursive non-termination checks. --JASS: assertion is not checked at the first level of internal calls. Beyond that, no restriction. --JMSAssert: no specified.

  22. Example of recursive calls: 1: /**Example that demonstrates the automatic avoidance of 2: * recursive, non-terminating invariant checks 3: * 4: * @invariant forall Employee employee 5: * in this.getEmployees().elements() | 6: * employee.getEmployer() == this 7: */ 8: class Employer { 9: 10: public static void main(String arv[]) { 11: Employer company = new Employer(); 12: Employee george = new Employee(); 13: company.add( george ); 14: } Other Design Issues (cont.)

  23. Other Design Issues (cont.) • Example of recursive calls (cont.): 15: 16: protected Vector employees_ = new Vector(); 17: 18: Enumeration getEmployees() { 19: return employees_.elements(); 20: } 21: 22: void add(Employee employee) { 23: employee.setEmployer( this ); 24: employees_.addElement( employee ); 25: } 26: } 27: ...

  24. Other Design Issues (cont.) • Solution to prevent non-terminating recursive calls (iContract) /** * @invariant age_ > 0 */ public class Employee implements Person { //#*#--------------------------------------------------------------- private java.util.Hashtable __icl_ = new java.util.Hashtable(); private synchronized void __inv_check_at_entry__Employee(

  25. Other Design Issues (cont.) • Solution to prevent non-terminating recursive calls (iContract), cont. Thread thread, String loc) { if ( !__icl_.containsKey(thread) ) { // recursion depth 0 __icl_.put(thread, new Integer(1)); __check_invariant____Employee(loc); // evaluates the invariant } else // inc recursion depth __icl_.put(thread, new Integer( ((Integer)__icl_.get(thread)).intValue()+1)); } //#*#-----------------------------------------------------------------

  26. Implementation Issues • Performance tuning compile options to specify how strict the assertion check is. e.g., iContract: java iContract.Tool –mpre,post,inv C.java > C_instr.java

  27. Additional Features • iContract: Binary contract repositories: compiled contract to be included in the distribution. • Jtest and Jcontract: Test tool implementing design by contract.

  28. Main Features of My Tool • Formal documentation • Better expressiveness @pre, @post, @invariant, forall, exists, implies, x’ • Compatible with Java 1.4 • Runtime validation • Interface with the static analysis tool

  29. Current Status • Done: --javadoc that supports @pre, @post, @invariant, etc. --grammar for blocks of comment that are in certain format, in .jjt form (using JavaCC): e.g., @pre: a!=0&&b<0 • To be done: --incorporate the grammar for comment into the AST of the whole program. --instrumentation of the assertions