re: Is “Defensive Programming” actually healthy? VIEW POST


I think it is valuable to not only think of defensive / anticipatory / forward thinking programming in terms of the code only, but to also think about it in terms of the domain.
In other words: when this code fails, will it result in a safe / acceptable condition in the physical domain? Disregarding all other safeguards, this code would fail with "green" (which is probably the least desirable outcome with regards to the domain), but can be easily changed to fail with "red". If there is no buy-in to change from a code perspective, at least convince them to make a change that will fail to a safe domain condition.


Interesting thought. I suppose the whole idea is that I don’t think we can ever know what the future holds. So how can we (as you say) “fail to a safe domain condition?” Because we don’t know what is safe for a case that we haven’t discovered yet. So for instance, the safest response is to stop. But if you stop at a blinking yellow, you might enrage the driver behind you who was expecting to pause. I’m sort of joking. But yes, I will meditate on what you’ve suggested. I think you might be on to something. :)


I had exactly the same thought when I saw the example, and can't stress enough how much I think this is a great approach

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