Rationale for Ada 2005

John Barnes
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9.3.5 Pre/post-conditions for subprograms

This proposal (AI-288) was to add pragmas such as Pre_Assert and Post_Assert. Thus in the case of a subprogram Push on a type Stack we might write 
procedure Push(S: in out Stack; X: in Item);
pragma Pre_Assert(Push, not Is_Full(S));
pragma Post_Assert(Push, not Is_Empty(S));
These pragmas would be controlled by the pragma Assertion_Policy which controls the pragma Assert (which was of course incorporated into Ada 2005). Optional message parameters were allowed as well.
The general idea was that when the procedure Push was called, the expression Is_Full(S) would be evaluated and if this were false then action would be taken as for an Assert pragma. Note that the key difference from assert is that the pragmas go on the subprogram specification whereas to use Assert it would have to be placed in the body.
There were other pragmas for dispatching subprograms and so this was not quite so simple as at first appeared.
The proposal was abandoned for a number of reasons. There were more important matters to deal with and we were running out of time. Moreover, it seemed just the sort of topic where user experience on a trial implementation would be helpful in deciding what was required. And there was some feeling that since this was all dynamic it was not helpful to the high integrity community where the emphasis was on static analysis and proof.

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