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NAME

       elektra-contracts - contracts for plugins

       Each  plugin  in  a  backend  can cause run time errors. Additionally, the chaining of the
       plugins can introduce further run time errors. For example, a plugin can  modify  keys  so
       that  the  next  plugin cannot process these keys anymore. Or a plugin can omit changes to
       the keys that are required by  the  next  plugin.  To  deal  with  such  situations  in  a
       controlled  way,  each plugin exports a contract that describes the interaction with other
       parts of the backend. A KeySet contains the description.

       Mounting of backends actually takes place at run time, we will refer to it as mount  time.
       The time when applications access the key database, however, will be called run time.

       The  contract  checker  revises contracts of plugins during the mount time. Afterwards, at
       run time, no such type errors can occur. kdb mount implements the contract checker. It can
       refuse  to add a plugin to the backend because of a conflict or constraint. As long as not
       all contracts are satisfied kdb mount waits for more plugins to be attached.

       The content of the contract is well-specified in CONTRACT.ini /doc/CONTRACT.ini.

       Plugins are the only place to export contracts, but they are not the  only  party.  It  is
       also  possible  that  the  administrator  extends  the  requirements to every backend, for
       example, if notification is required. This implies that every backend  has  to  provide  a
       specific  additional  service  that  will  be  checked  using  contracts. Plugins are also
       involved  in  contracts  with  Elektra´s  core.  This   topic   will   be   discussed   in
       elektra-algorithm(7) elektra-algorithm.md in which the algorithm used by Elektra´s core is
       explained.

Assertions

       Contracts as introduced by Meyer define  preconditions  and  postconditions  on  routines.
       Assertions  handle  these  conditions  by checking them before entering or after leaving a
       routine. Because most of this can happen only at run time, it often leaves the user  alone
       with an exception.

       Elektra  goes  a  step  further.  Instead  of  exiting  the  normal  control  flow  when a
       precondition is not met, it is the responsibility  of  a  special  plugin  to  handle  the
       situation  and  make  sure  that the precondition is met afterwards. Sometimes this is not
       possible. In these cases, the plugins check the necessary conditions and return with error
       code when they are not met. As we will see, these situations do not occur very often.

       Because of the modular approach, we can have several checkers, and correcting and checking
       can be combined. Plugins can work together to reach a certain goal.

       KeySet and Key already handle most parts of checking pre- and  postconditions  imposed  on
       data  structures.  Elektra´s  core  provides preconditions and weak postconditions for the
       plugins.

SEE ALSO

       ·   elektra-ordering(7) elektra-ordering.md

                                          November 2015                      ELEKTRA-CONTRACTS(7)