"May You Have a Strong (-Typed) Foundation", Why Strong-Typed Programming Languages Do Matter

Programming efficient and reliable code can be considered a non-trivial task, as it requires deep understanding of the problem to be solved along with good programming skills. However, software frameworks and programming paradigms can provide a dependable infrastructure upon which better programs can be written and deployed. This allows engineers to focus mainly on their task, while relying on the underlying run-time environment for taking care of low-level programming issues, such as memory allocation and disposal, typing consistency and interface compliance. In this paper, we argue that strong-typed programming languages and paradigms offer a valid support for the production of reliable programs. Aware of the challenges of formal measurement metrics for code quality, we present the benefits of strong-typing by considering a practical application: The design and implementation of RoboX, a tour-guide robot for the Swiss National Exhibition Expo.02. The example is extremely well suited for such a discussion, since complex mechatronic applications can be considered critical systems—i.e. systems whose failure may endanger missions, lives and society—thus their reliability has to be made a prime concern.

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 Record created 2006-12-07, last modified 2018-01-27

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