Protective interface specifications

  • Gary T. Leavens
  • Jeannette M. Wing
III FASE FASE-1: Specifications

DOI: 10.1007/BFb0030623

Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 1214)
Cite this paper as:
Leavens G.T., Wing J.M. (1997) Protective interface specifications. In: Bidoit M., Dauchet M. (eds) TAPSOFT '97: Theory and Practice of Software Development. CAAP 1997. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 1214. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg


The interface specification of a procedure describes the procedure's behavior using pre- and postconditions. These pre- and postconditions are written using various functions. If some of these functions are partial, or underspecified, then the procedure specification may not be well-defined.

We show how to write pre- and postcondition specifications that avoid such problems, by having the precondition “protect” the postcondition from the effects of partiality and underspecification. We formalize the notion of protection from partiality in the context of specification languages like VDM-SL and COLD-K. We also formalize the notion of protection from underspecification for the Larch family of specification languages, and for Larch show how one can prove that a procedure specification is protected from the effects of underspecification.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gary T. Leavens
    • 1
  • Jeannette M. Wing
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceIowa State UniversityAmesUSA
  2. 2.Computer Science DepartmentCarnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburghUSA

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