What are some common mistakes to avoid in Move programming?

Move programming is a relatively new and innovative way of creating smart contracts for the Aptos network. However, like any other programming language, it also has some common pitfalls and mistakes that you should avoid. Here are some of them:

  • Not using resources properly: Resources are one of the key features of Move that make it safe and expressive. Resources are special types that represent scarce and owned assets, such as tokens, NFTs, or identities. Resources can only be moved, not copied or dropped, which ensures that they are not accidentally duplicated or lost. However, this also means that you need to be careful about how you use and manage resources in your code. Some common mistakes are:

    • Leaking resources: This happens when you create a resource but forget to move it to a storage location or return it to the caller. This can cause memory leaks and waste of resources. To avoid this, you should always make sure that every resource you create is either stored or returned.

    • Moving resources unnecessarily: This happens when you move a resource from one location to another without changing its value or ownership. This can cause unnecessary overhead and complexity. To avoid this, you should only move resources when you need to transfer them to a different owner or modify them in some way.

    • Not checking resource availability: This happens when you try to access or manipulate a resource that may not exist or may have been moved by someone else. This can cause runtime errors and unexpected behavior. To avoid this, you should always check the availability of a resource before using it, either by using the exists function or by using the borrow_global function with the ? operator.

  • Not using formal verification: Formal verification is another powerful feature of Move that allows you to prove the correctness and safety of your smart contracts. Formal verification uses annotations and specifications that you can add to your code to express your intentions and expectations. The Move Prover tool can then automatically verify that your code meets these specifications and does not contain any errors or vulnerabilities. However, some developers may neglect or misuse this feature, leading to some common mistakes such as:

    • Not adding specifications: This happens when you write your code without adding any annotations or specifications to describe its behavior and properties. This can make your code hard to understand, test, and verify. To avoid this, you should always add specifications to your code, such as preconditions, postconditions, invariants, aborts conditions, and ensures clauses.

    • Adding incorrect or incomplete specifications: This happens when you add specifications that do not match your code’s logic or do not cover all possible cases and scenarios. This can make your code unreliable, insecure, and prone to bugs. To avoid this, you should always make sure that your specifications are correct and complete, and that they capture all the relevant aspects of your code’s functionality and behavior.

    • Not running the Move Prover: This happens when you write your code and specifications but forget to run the Move Prover tool to check their validity and consistency. This can make your code unverified and potentially unsafe. To avoid this, you should always run the Move Prover tool on your code and specifications before publishing them on the Aptos network.

These are some of the common mistakes to avoid in Move programming. By following these best practices, you can write better smart contracts for the Aptos network that are safe, expressive, and verifiable. If you want to learn more about Move programming and how to use it effectively.

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