Design by Contract
Abstract Data Types
The definitive reference on the most important new technology in software!
“While the original version of OOSC is a classic, OOSC 2/E is destined to overshadow it and all other general introductions . . . literally an epic work.” —James C. McKim, Jr., Hartford Graduate Center
“Compelling. Extremely well-written and literate . . . I recaptured that same sense of intellectual excitement I felt reading the first edition for the first time.” —Paul Dubois, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Editor, Scientific Programming Dept., Computers in Physics
“The definitive tome on Object-Orientation . . . the finest piece of writing and thinking about this vast subject . . . Bertrand has a lot to say of great importance and says it well in this significantly revised book.” —Richard Wiener, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, Editor, Journal for Object-Oriented Programming
A whole generation was introduced to object technology through the first edition of Bertrand Meyer's OOSC. This long-awaited new edition retains the qualities of clarity, practicality and scholarship that made the first an instant best-seller. It has been thoroughly revised and considerably expanded. No other book on the market provides such a breadth and depth of coverage on the most important technology in software development.
SOME OF THE NEW TOPICS COVERED IN DEPTH BY THIS SECOND EDITION:
Click here for a sample chapter for this book: 0136291554.pdf
PART A: THE ISSUES.1. Software Quality.
PART B: THE ROAD TO OBJECT ORIENTATION.3. Modularity.
PART C: OBJECT-ORIENTED TECHNIQUES.7. The Static Structure: Classes.
PART D: OBJECT-ORIENTED METHODOLOGY: APPLYING THE METHOD WELL.19. On Methodology.
PART E: ADVANCED TOPICS.30. Concurrency, Distribution, Client-Server and the Internet.
PART F: APPLYING THE METHOD IN VARIOUS LANGUAGES AND ENVIRONMENTS.33. O-O Programming and Ada.
PART G: DOING IT RIGHT.36. An Object-Oriented Environment.
PART H: APPENDICES.Appendix A: Extracts From the Base Libraries.
Born in the ice-blue waters of the festooned Norwegian coast; amplified (by an aberration of world currents, for which marine geographers have yet to find a suitable explanation) along the much grayer range of the Californian Pacific; viewed by some as a typhoon, by some as a tsunami, and by some as a storm in a teacup — a tidal wave is hitting the shores of the computing world.
“Object-oriented” is the latest in term, complementing and in many cases replacing “structured” as the high-tech version of “good” . As is inevitable in such a case, the term is used by different people with different meanings; just as inevitable is the well-known three-step sequence of reactions that meets the introduction of a new methodological principle: (1) “it's trivial” ; (2) “it cannot work” ; (3) “that's how I did it all along anyway” . (The order may var y.)
Let us have this clear right away, lest the reader think the author takes a half-hearted approach to his topic: I do not see the object-oriented method as a mere fad; I think it is not trivial (although I shall strive to make it as limpid as I can); I know it works; and I believe it is not only different from but even, to a certain extent, incompatible with the techniques that most people still use today — including some of the principles taught in many software engineering textbooks. I further believe that object technology holds the potential for fundamental changes in the software industry, and that it is here to stay. Finally, I hope that as the reader progresses through these pages, he will share some of my excitement about this promising avenue to software analysis, design and implementation.
“Avenue to software analysis, design and implementation” . To present the object-oriented method, this books resolutely takes the viewpoint of software engineering — of the methods, tools and techniques for developing quality software in production environments. This is not the only possible perspective, as there has also been interest in applying object-oriented principles to such areas as exploratory programming and artificial intelligence. Although the presentation does not exclude these appli cations, they are not its main emphasis. Our principal goal in this discussion is to study how practicing software developers, in industrial as well as academic environments, can use object technology to improve (in some cases dramatically) the quality of the software they produce.
Structure, reliability, epistemology and classification.
Object technology is at its core the combination of four ideas: a structuring method, a reliability discipline, an epistemological principle and a classification technique.
The structuring method applies to software decomposition and reuse. Software systems perform certain actions on objects of certain types; to obtain flexible and reusable systems, it is better to base their structure on the object types than on the actions. The resulting concept is a remarkably powerful and versatile mechanism called the class, which in object-oriented software construction serves as the basis for both the modular structure and the type system.
The reliability discipline is a radical approach to the problem of building software that does what it is supposed to do. The idea is to treat any system as a collection of components which collaborate the way successful businesses do: by adhering to contracts defining explicitly the obligations and benefits incumbent on each party.
Abstract data types are discussed in chapter 6, which also addresses some of the related epistemological issues.
The epistemological principle addresses the question of how we should describe the classes. In object technology, the objects described by a class are only defined by what we can do with them: operations (also known as features) and formal properties of these operations (the contracts). This idea is formally expressed by the theory of abstract data types, covered in detail in a chapter of this book. It has far-reaching implications, some going beyond software, and explains why we must not stop at the na•ve concept of “object” borrowed from the ordinary meaning of that word. The tradition of information systems modeling usually assumes an “external reality” that predates any program using it; for the object-oriented developer, such a notion is meaningless, as the reality does not exist independently of what you want to do with it. (More precisely whether it exists or not is an irrelevant question, as we only know what we can use, and what we know of something is defined entire ly by how we can use it.)
The classification technique follows from the observation that systematic intellectual work in general and scientific reasoning in particular require devising taxonomies for the domains being studied. Software is no exception, and the object-oriented method relies heavily on a classification discipline known as inheritance.
Simple but powerful.
The four concepts of class, contract, abstract data type and inheritance immediately raise a number of questions. How do we find and describe classes? How should our programs manipulate classes and the corresponding objects (the instances of these classes)? What are the possible relations between classes? How can we capitalize on the commonalities that may exist between various classes? How do these ideas relate to such key software engineering concerns as extendibility, ease of use and efficiency?
Answers to these questions rely on a small but powerful array of techniques for producing reusable, extendible and reliable software: polymorphism and dynamic binding; a new view of types and type checking; genericity, constrained and unconstrained; information hiding; assertions; safe exception handling; automatic garbage collection. Efficient implementation techniques have been developed which permit applying these ideas successfully to both small and large projects under the tight constraints of commerci al software development. Object-oriented techniques have also had a considerable impact on user interfaces and development environments, making it possible to produce much better interactive systems than was possible before. All these important ideas will be studied in detail, so as to equip the reader with tools that are immediately applicable to a wide range of problems.
Organization of the text.
In the pages that follow we will review the methods and techniques of object-oriented software construction. The presentation has been divided into six parts.
Chapters 1 to 2: Part A is an introduction and overview. It starts by exploring the fundamental issue of software quality and continues with a brief survey of the method's main technical characteristics. This part is almost a little book by itself, providing a first view of the object-oriented approach for hurried readers.
Chapters 3 to 6: Part B is not hurried. Entitled “The road to object orientation” , it takes the time to describe the methodological concerns that lead to the central O-O concepts. Its focus is on modularity: what it takes to devise satisfactory structures for “in-the-large” system construction. It ends with a presentation of abstract data types, the mathematical basis for object technology. The mathematics involved is elementary, and less mathematically inclined readers may content themselves with the basic ideas, but the presentation provides the theoretical background that you will need for a full understanding of O-O principles and issues.
Chapters 7 to 18: Part C is the technical core of the book. It presents, one by one, the central technical components of the method: classes; objects and the associated run-time model; memory management issues; genericity and typing; design by contract, assertions, exceptions; inheritance, the associated concepts of polymorphism and dynamic binding, and their many exciting applications.
Chapters 19 to 29: Part D discusses methodology, with special emphasis on analysis and design. Through several in-depth case studies, it presents some fundamental design patterns, and covers such central questions as how to find the classes, how to use inheritance properly, and how to design reusable libraries. It starts with a meta-level discussion of the intellectual requirements on methodologists and other advice-givers; it concludes with a review of the software process (the lifecycle model) for O-O development and a disc ussion of how best to teach the method in both industry and universities.
Chapters 30 to 32: Part E explores advanced topics: concurrency, distribution, client-server development and the Internet; persistence, schema evolution and object-oriented databases; the design of interactive systems with modern (“GUI” ) graphical interfaces.
Chapters 33 to 35. Part F is a review of how the ideas can be implemented, or in some cases emulated, in various languages and environments. This includes in particular a discussion of major object-oriented languages, focusing on Simula, Smalltalk, Objective-C, C++, Ada 95 and Java, and an assessment of how to obtain some of the benefits of object orientation in such non-O-O languages as Fortran, Cobol, Pascal, C and Ada.
Chapter 36. Part G (doing it right) describes an environment which goes beyond these solutions and provides an integrated set of tools to support the ideas of the book.
Appendix A. As complementary reference material, an appendix shows some important reusable library classes discussed in the text, providing a model for the design of reusable software.
A Book-Wide Web
It can be amusing to see authors taking pains to describe recommended paths through their books, sometimes with the help of sophisticated traversal charts — as if readers ever paid any attention, and were not smart enough to map their own course. An author is permitted, however, to say in what spirit he has scheduled the different chapters, and what path he had in mind for what Umberto Eco calls the Model Reader — not to be confused with the real reader, also known as “you” , made of flesh, b lood and tastes.
The answer here is the simplest possible one. This book tells a story, and assumes that the Model Reader will follow that story from beginning to end, being however invited to avoid the more specialized sections marked as “skippable on first reading” and, if not mathematically inclined, to ignore a few mathematical developments also labeled explicitly. The real reader, of course, may want to discover in advance some of the plot's later developments, or to confine his attention to just a few subplots ; every chapter has for that reason been made as self-contained as possible, so that you should be able to intake the material at the exact dosage which suits you best.
Because the story presents a coherent view of software development, its successive topics are tightly intertwined. The margin notes offer a subtext of cross references, a Book-Wide Web linking the various sections back and forth. My advice to the Model Reader is to ignore them on first reading, except as a reassurance that questions which at some stage are left partially open will be fully closed later on. The real reader, who may not want any advice, might use the cross references as unofficial guides when he feels like cheating on the prearranged order of topics.
Both the Model Reader and the real reader should find the cross references mostly useful in subsequent readings, to make sure that they have mastered a certain object-oriented concept in depth, and understood its connections with the method's other components. Like the hyperlinks of a WWW document, the cross references should make it possible to follow such associations quickly and effectively.
See "About the accompanying CD-ROM", page xiv. The CD-ROM that accompanies this book and contains all of its text provides a convenient way to follow cross references: just click on them. All the cross references have been preserved.
In software perhaps even more than elsewhere, thought and language are closely connected. As we progress through these pages, we will carefully develop a notation for expressing object-oriented concepts at all levels: modeling, analysis, design, implementation, maintenance.
Here and everywhere else in this book, the pronoun “we” does not mean “the author” : as in ordinary language, “we” means you and I — the reader and the author. In other words I would like you to expect that, as we develop the notation, you will be involved in the process.
This assumption is not really true, of course, since the notation existed before you started reading these pages. But it is not completely preposterous either, because I hope that as we explore the object-oriented method and carefully examine its implications the supporting notation will dawn on you with a kind of inevitability, so that you will indeed feel that you helped design it.
This explains why although the notation has been around for more than ten years and is in fact supported by several commercial implementations, including one from my company (ISE), I have downplayed it as a language. (Its name does appear in one place in the text, and several times in the bibliography.) This book is about the object-oriented method for reusing, analyzing, designing, implementing and maintaining software; the language is an important and I hope natural consequence of that method, not an aim in itself.
In addition, the language is straightforward and includes very little else than direct support for the method. First-year students using it have commented that it was “no language at all” — meaning that the notation is in one-to-one correspondence with the method: to learn one is to learn the other, and there is scant extra linguistic decoration on top of the concepts. The notation indeed shows few of the peculiarities (often stemming from historical circumstances, machine constraints or the req uirement to be compatible with older formalisms) that characterize most of today's programming languages. Of course you may disagree with the choice of keywords (why do rather than begin or perhaps faire?), or would like to add semicolon terminators after each instruction. (The syntax has been designed so as to make semicolons optional.) But these are side issues. What counts is the simplicity of the notation and how directly it maps to the concepts. If you understand object technology, you almost know it a lready.
Most software books take the language for granted, whether it is a programming language or a notation for analysis or design. Here the approach is different; involving the reader in the design means that one must not only explain the language but also justify it and discuss the alternatives. Most of the chapters of part C include a “discussion” section explaining the issues encountered during the design of the notation, and how they were resolved. I often wished, when reading descriptions of well-kn own languages, that the designers had told me not only what solutions they chose, but why they chose them, and what alternatives they rejected. The candid discussions included in this book should, I hope, provide you with insights not only about language design but also about software construction, as the two tasks are so strikingly similar.
Analysis, design and implementation
It is always risky to use a notation that externally looks like a programming language, as this may suggest that it only covers the implementation phase. This impression, however wrong, is hard to correct, so frequently have managers and developers been told that a gap of metaphysical proportions exists between the ether of analysis-design and the underworld of implementation.
SEAMLESSNESS AND REVERSIBILITY:, 28.6, page 930. Well-understood object technology reduces the gap considerably by emphasizing the essential unity of software development over the inevitable differences between levels of abstraction. This seamless approach to software construction is one of the important contributions of the method and is reflected by the language of this book, which is meant for analysis and design as well as for implementation.
Unfortunately some of the recent evolution of the field goes against these principles, through two equally regrettable phenomena: