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Diagnosing Java Code: The Impostor Type bug pattern

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Article on the symptoms and causes of the Imposter Type bug, and how to prevent it.
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When special tags in fields are used to distinguish between types of objects, errors are possible in which a tag mislabels the associated data -- a bug pattern known as the Impostor Type. This article examines the symptoms and causes of this bug, defines ways to prevent this error from occurring, and discusses a tempting hybrid implementation that does not use impostor types but, in the end, turns out to have many of the same weaknesses. Article includes code snipets.

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Submitted on
3rd July 2001
Last Updated
3rd July 2001

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