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From "Alan D. Cabrera" <l...@toolazydogs.com>
Subject Re: Should we use assert ?
Date Fri, 04 Jun 2010 13:08:28 GMT

On Jun 4, 2010, at 5:10 AM, Stefan Seelmann wrote:

> Emmanuel Lecharny wrote:
>> Hi guys,
>> 
>> currently (and probably because nobody uses them, due to some Java 1.3
>> habits we have), we don't use asserts to do simple things like checking
>> methods parameters (pre-conditions).
>> 
>> Should we start using them ?
> 
> I never used them before.
> 
> For me assert is a bit magic because they are disabled at runtime and
> the assert statement isn't evaluated unless they are enabled. I prever
> to throw a IllegalArgumentException instead.

I like asserts because they have the dual function of performing useful sanity checking when
turned on and also provide implicit documentation to other developers as to what my fundamental
assumptions are when I designed my code.  Take for example

        assert Thread.holdsLock(foo) : "I should be protected before you call me"; 

This is a nice bit of code that explains my assumptions to other developers when they use/extend
my code with the added benefit that it gets turned off once the code is deployed in production.

Slavish use of asserts can lead to trouble; they are not a panacea.  Frontline argument and
state checking at the client API end should never use asserts for obvious reasons.  However,
performing the same kind of heavy weight checking in my internal classes where I have complete
control is a bit of overkill; here asserts fit nicely.  They also serve to warn the developer
that they are now troweling inside the bowels of a codebase.

Just my 2 cents.


Regards,
Alan



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