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In computer programming, specifically object-oriented programming, a class invariant (or type invariant) is an invariant used for constraining objects of a class. Methods of the class should preserve the invariant. The class invariant constrains the state stored in the object.
Class invariants are established during construction and constantly maintained between calls to public methods. Code within functions may break invariants as long as the invariants are restored before a public function ends. With concurrency, maintaining the invariant in methods typically requires a critical section to be established by locking the state using a mutex.
An object invariant, or representation invariant, is a computer programming construct consisting of a set of invariant properties that remain uncompromised regardless of the state of the object. This ensures that the object will always meet predefined conditions, and that methods may, therefore, always reference the object without the risk of making inaccurate presumptions. Defining class invariants can help programmers and testers to catch more bugs during software testing.
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