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By Joyner I.

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Software testing can never prove the absence of error, it can only be used to detect errors if they are there. The same people should be responsible for all stages, so that they take responsibility for the system © Ian Joyner 1996 C++?? as a whole, rather than passing the buck and blame which occurs when analysts, designers and implementors are different groups. This is not a popular view in traditional hierarchical management structures where organisational structure is prized over quality and programmers get promoted to designers who get promoted to analysts, and managers stay aloof from the technical process, just making sure the old structure is maintained.

Since C++ is not so well integrated with analysis and design, the transformation required to go from analysis and design to implementation is costly. There is a large semantic gap between design languages and the implementation language. We should have learnt from the structured world that this is the incorrect approach to the software lifecycle. But in the OO world we are again falling into the trap of dividing the lifecycle into artificially distinct activities of OOA, OOD and OOP, instead of adopting an integrated approach.

Optional parameters mean that C++ is not type safe, and that the compiler cannot check that the parameters in the call exactly match the function signature. Furthermore, they do not provide a great deal of convenience. If a routine has five parameters, the last three of which are optional, and the caller wants to assume the defaults for parameters 3 and 4, but must specify parameter 5, then all five parameters must be specified. A better scheme would be to have a ‘default’ keyword in function calls: f (a, b, default, default, e); Other means, already in the language, can easily provide this mechanism.

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