Thanks to Alex Potanin for pointing this out to me … it seems that [[Design by Contract]] is the most requested enhancement to the Java language. You can find the list of the top 25 RFEs here. A nice quote from the feature description:
I find it a shame that all the requests for DBC support were considered satisfied/closed by the addition of this “simple assertion facility”. We don’t want a “simple assertion facility”, we want full support for DBC : a software reliability mechanism that is both extremely powerful and incredibly elegant.
Obviously, this is good news from my perspective, since this is exactly what I’m trying to tackle with Whiley!
However, I also find this news quite surprising. I suppose my reasoning is that, since there are so few languages that support DBC, I would have thought most people would be skeptical of the benefits. Indeed, there remains significant disagreement over the benefit even from static typing, and I would expect many to argue for testing over DBC.
Still, this is an interesting — albeit surprising — turn of events …