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Using the Assert Macro

Using the Assert Macro

Question:
I am not sure if it is good when I use the assert macro in the following code:

int sum(int number)// Precondition:  number => 1// Postcondition: return sum from 1 to n terms{   assert(number >= 1);   int total = 0;   for (;number >= 1; number--)   {      total = total + number;   }   return total;}

What do you think?

Answer:
Using the assert() macro to detect a runtime error is a bad idea; assert() is meant to serve as a debugging aid rather than handling runtime errors. The problem is this: when you build your application as a release version, every occurrence of assert() will be automatically removed from the code (thanks to macro magic). Consequently, your condition will never be tested.

Instead of assert(), you can use a simple IF statement, such as the following:

if (number >= 1)   exit(-1);

Alternatively, you may use exceptions to handle more complicate situations or if your application contains objects that need to be destructed properly before exiting.

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