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Practical Exception Specifications Donna Malayeri and Jonathan Aldrich

Summary: Practical Exception Specifications
Donna Malayeri and Jonathan Aldrich
Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA,
{donna+, aldrich+}@cs.cmu.edu
Abstract. Exception specifications can aid in the tasks of writing correct excep-
tion handlers and understanding exceptional control flow, but current exception
specification systems are impractical in a number of ways. In particular, they are
too low-level, too heavyweight, and do not provide adequate support for describ-
ing exception policies.
We have identified the essential properties of a practical exception specification
system and we present a methodology and tool that provides integrated support
for specifying, understanding, and evolving exception policies. The annotations
required of the programmer are lightweight and easier to maintain than those of
current systems; in our studies we observed a 50% to 93% reduction in annota-
tions. By leveraging these annotations, our system provides scalable support for
understanding exception flow and for modifying exception annotations.
1 Introduction
Exceptions can be very useful for separating normal code from error handling code, but
they introduce implicit control flow, complicating the task of understanding, maintain-
ing, and debugging programs. Additionally, testing is not always effective for finding


Source: Aldrich, Jonathan - School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University


Collections: Computer Technologies and Information Sciences