© 2018

Practical TLA+

Planning Driven Development


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxiii
  2. The Semantics of TLA+ and PlusCal

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Hillel Wayne
      Pages 3-22
    3. Hillel Wayne
      Pages 23-42
    4. Hillel Wayne
      Pages 43-64
    5. Hillel Wayne
      Pages 65-77
    6. Hillel Wayne
      Pages 79-96
    7. Hillel Wayne
      Pages 97-110
  3. Applying TLA+

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 111-111
    2. Hillel Wayne
      Pages 113-126
    3. Hillel Wayne
      Pages 127-136
    4. Hillel Wayne
      Pages 137-148
    5. Hillel Wayne
      Pages 149-166
    6. Hillel Wayne
      Pages 167-197
  4. Back Matter
    Pages 199-221

About this book


Learn how to design complex, correct programs and fix problems before writing a single line of code. This book is a practical, comprehensive resource on TLA+ programming with rich, complex examples. Practical TLA+ shows you how to use TLA+ to specify a complex system and test the design itself for bugs. 

You’ll learn how even a short TLA+ spec can find critical bugs. Start by getting your feet wet with an example of TLA+ used in a bank transfer system, to see how it helps you design, test, and build a better application. Then, get some fundamentals of TLA+ operators, logic, functions, PlusCal, models, and concurrency. Along the way you will discover how to organize your blueprints and how to specify distributed systems and eventual consistency. 

Finally, you’ll put what you learn into practice with some working case study applications, applying TLA+ to a wide variety of practical problems: from algorithm performance and data structures to business code and MapReduce. After reading and using this book, you'll have what you need to get started with TLA+ and how to use it in your mission-critical applications.  

You will:
  • Read and write TLA+ specifications
  • Check specs for broken invariants, race conditions, and liveness bugs
  • Design concurrency and distributed systems
  • Learn how TLA+ can help you with your day-to-day production work


TLA+ programming TLA+ PlusCal formal methods specification software design engineering architecture testing concurrency model checking temporal logic source code

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.ChicagoUSA

About the authors

Hillel Wayne is a software consultant who specializes in formal methods and specification. He also writes on empirical engineering, software history, and education. In his free time, he juggles and makes chocolate. He lives in Chicago. You can find his other work at or on Twitter at @hillelogram.

Bibliographic information