The Power of 10: Rules for Developing Safety-Critical Code
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The Power of 10 Rules were created in 2006 by Gerard J. Holzmann of the NASA/JPL Laboratory for Reliable Software. The rules are intended to eliminate certain C coding practices which make code difficult to review or statically analyze. These rules are a complement to the MISRA C guidelines and have been incorporated into the greater set of JPL coding standards.
The ten rules are:
- Avoid complex flow constructs, such as goto and recursion.
- All loops must have fixed bounds. This prevents runaway code.
- Avoid heap memory allocation.
- Restrict functions to a single printed page.
- Use a minimum of two runtime assertions per function.
- Restrict the scope of data to the smallest possible.
- Check the return value of all non-void functions, or cast to void to indicate the return value is useless.
- Use the preprocessor sparingly.
- Limit pointer use to a single dereference, and do not use function pointers.
- Compile with all possible warnings active; all warnings should then be addressed before release of the software.