The Spec# programming system is a new attempt at a more cost effective way to develop and maintain high-quality software. Spec# is pronounced “Spec sharp” and can be written (and searched for) as the “specsharp” or “Spec# programming system”. The Spec# system consists of:
- The Spec# programming language. Spec# is an extension of the object-oriented language C#. It extends the type system to include non-null types and checked exceptions. It provides method contracts in the form of pre- and postconditions as well as object invariants.
- The Spec# compiler. Integrated into the Microsoft Visual Studio development environment for the .NET platform, the compiler statically enforces non-null types, emits run-time checks for method contracts and invariants, and records the contracts as metadata for consumption by downstream tools.
- The Spec# static program verifier. This component (codenamed Boogie) generates logical verification conditions from a Spec# program. Internally, it uses an automatic theorem prover that analyzes the verification conditions to prove the correctness of the program or find errors in it.
A unique feature of the Spec# programming system is its guarantee of maintaining invariants in object-oriented programs in the presence of callbacks, threads, and inter-object relationships.
The Spec# programming system is being developed as a research project at Microsoft Research in Redmond, primarily by the Programming Languages and Methods group.