Fred Long

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Any software system, whether object-oriented or not, relies on the state of the system being "correct" at certain stages of its execution. To take a very simple example, when a numerical division operation is performed, the divisor must be non-zero. If this is not the case, the system may crash in an unpredictable and uncontrolled manner. One way of indicating such requirements is to state that the system must be in some state either before or after an operation. Such a statement about the state of a software system is called an assertion. Assertions often form the basis for software specification. In some systems, the assertions are embedded in the software as annotations or formal comments. However, it can be useful to make the assertions executable so that the correctness of the system is checked at runtime. A simple technique is to make the code do its own self-t... (more)