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A language extension for expressing constraints on data access

By Anita K. Jones, Barbara H. Liskov

Communications of the ACM, Vol. 21 No. 5, Pages 358-367

Controlled sharing of information is needed and desirable for many applications and is supported in operating systems by access control mechanisms. This paper shows how to extend programming languages to provide controlled sharing. The extension permits expression of access constraints on shared data. Access constraints can apply both to simple objects, and to objects that are components of larger objects, such as bank account records in a bank's data base. The constraints are stated declaratively, and can be enforced by static checking similar to type checking. The approach can be used to extend any strongly-typed language, but is particularly suitable for extending languages that support the notion of abstract data types.

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