68. Assert liberally to document internal assumptions and invariants

Summary

Be assertive! Use assert or an equivalent liberally to document assumptions internal to a module (i.e., where the caller and callee are maintained by the same person or team) that must always be true and otherwise represent programming errors (e.g., violations of a function’s postconditions detected by the caller of the function). (See also Item 70.) Ensure that assertions don’t perform side effects.

Discussion

It’s hard enough to find an error in your code when you’re looking for it; it’s even harder when you’ve assumed your code is error-free.

Steve McConnell

It is hard to overestimate the power of assertions. The assert macro and alternatives such as compile-time ...

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