Whip: Higher-Order Contracts for Modern Services
Lucas Waye, Christos Dimoulas, and Stephen Chong
Proceedings of the 22nd ACM SIGPLAN International Conference on Functional Programming (ICFP), September 2017.

Modern service-oriented applications forgo semantically rich protocols and middleware when composing services. Instead, they embrace the loosely-coupled development and deployment of services that communicate via simple network protocols. Even though these applications do expose interfaces that are higher-order in spirit, the simplicity of the network protocols forces them to rely on brittle low-level encodings. To bridge the apparent semantic gap, programmers introduce ad-hoc and error-prone defensive code. Inspired by Design by Contract, we choose a different route to bridge this gap. We introduce Whip, a contract system for modern services. Whip (i) provides programmers with a higher-order contract language tailored to the needs of modern services; and (ii) monitors services at run time to detect services that do not live up to their advertised interfaces. Contract monitoring is local to a service. Services are treated as black boxes, allowing heterogeneous implementation languages without modification to services’ code. Thus, Whip does not disturb the loosely coupled nature of modern services.