1. What does the author mean by this

I actually have 45 years of professional programming experience by now. My first programs were assembler on the 8008 in 1977 within an engineering job in study. I don’t count childhood programming as part of that, I encountered the "program flow chart" before that.

There are different areas for programming. I have done work in following:

  • since 1977 assembler (still current)

  • since 1979 controller algorithms in focus, until today

  • since 1983..1990 Basic, for microcomputers

  • since 1987 Turbo Pascal, not object oriented, until ~1990

  • since 1990 C, shortly after C++ (started with Borland V 1.1)

  • from 1991..1995 dBase III and Clipper (the old dBase database system)

  • since 1992 C++ and object orientation properly understood.

  • since 1995 graphical function block programming, started with Simadyn (Siemens)

  • since 1998 UML (Rhapsody)

  • since 2003 Java

  • since 2009 Graphical function block programming with Simatic S7

  • since 2012 Simulink

  • since 2019 Modelica

Technical computer science, partly hardware proximity, partly controller algorithms, commissioning on plants. Apart from Basic, Turbo Pascal and dBase, all this is still current in my memory and use.

2. Some simple rules

2.1. data assignment first in focus (and not program flow)

Programming is about data assignments. if else while play a subordinate role. If the data are correctly assigned, the program is correct. Which processes are behind it, is a minor matter.

I emphasize this first point because the "program flowchart" was the first thing I saw, this representation is still present. The question of "how", which branches and loops etc. is there in the foreground. No, it isn’t.

Object orientation fits right in here.

2.2. Modularity and refactoring

Of course, modules must be defined in a meaningful way. Each module must be able to be described and independently understandable and testable.

Refactoring was always done by me in the past with an imposed bad conscience. "You should please in advance …​", requirements and specifications, "…​be clear beforehand…​", what belongs to a module, first define the interfaces.

The refactoring also brought trouble with the boss "…​ why is everything changed again". Admittedly, it is necessary and difficult to bring the others along.

However, the refactoring, i.e. the restructuring, is necessary because:

  • A first draft should mostly be a principle breakdown, even if one thinks, to have written the specification completely before. In practice, however, other perspectives and requirements arise.

  • If refactoring is not done currently, then it becomes (very) difficult with the later software care.

  • Refactoring is already given, if one adapts the name of a variable, because their meaning has changed a little bit from the first intention in the course of editing.

  • Refactoring concerns however often also the interfaces.

  • Refactoring is very easy and safe, if you execute the steps correctly and the compiler with its checks to the assistance takes. More details under Refactoring.

The topic of refactoring has a lot to do with "agile", with modularity you should think of dependencies.

2.3. It’s not important if something works, it is important that it is correct.

From the focus of the overall problem handling "the software should run in the test on plant" it is often about small bugs and their fixing. Then it is considered and changed until the thing does the work. Should something else have to be changed afterwards (another bug), then the done change is "holy". "This is tested, don’t change it again" or "do not touch a running system". The latter saying applies when someone wants to "just quickly" fine-tune the working software, just before he wants to leave the plant. That doesn’t go over well. But this saying is wrong when it comes to modularity and development.

On module level, it is important that the module is proper and it is well documented and described. That is the first requirement. If a module "always already" offers a certain interface signal, which actually has nothing to do with this module then you should throw it out in the module processing (the word "remove" would be too weak here). It does not belong there.

Well, after that the system no longer works because the signal is missing.

Now comes the second consideration: "What is this signal, where does it come from, where does it go?". At the end of the consideration maybe the statement stands: "The signal is not actually needed", it is a relic from the past, which is processed only formally somewhere. Another variant is to assign this signal to the correct module.

This is again a topic of refactoring, unloved by bosses. But this is the only way to get at a solid software solution for several years (or decades) and that ultimately saves development and maintenance effort over time.

Another example: In control engineering, the sign often plays a role:

e = w - x

This is the control deviation e formed from setpoint w and actual value x. If the actual value comes from the measurement acting in the other direction, for example as an electric current value with a different polarity, and the setpoint is 0 anyway (or for other reasons reversed in sign), then one may program:

e = x - w
e = -w + x

This does work, but the equation is not recognizable compared to the known equation of the control deviation. The fact that the input value arrives negated is treated hidden somewhere in the program. At the next software correction, some years later, other colleague, this leads to irritation. If the sensor is exchanged, with a different imaging factor and rotated sign, the chaos only gets bigger.

It is better to program:

e = w - (-xneg)

The signal is marked as negated appropriately in the name, already at the input interface. One can add then later in a Refactoring if necessary an input treatment, it remains clear:

float x = factor * xInput;
e = w -x;

Now there is a factor instead, but with a little more computing time. If the factor is const and 1.0f or -1.0f for the target system compilation, then the compiler will intervene suitably optimizing.

3. Test

I myself underestimated the importance of systematic tests for many years. "Test is done by others, I program". Of course, the own debug test is done. But testing means "processing and evaluating test cases".

3.1. Single step debug or debug in runtime

The following experience could be important:

  • If an algorithm is new, then one should look closely at the generated data and the processes in the single step, to see if what you programmed is what you wanted.

  • But if then too many loop passes are added, and/or different cases must be considered, then even with single-step debugging, you lose track.

  • Consequently, at a certain point one should test in runtime, observe data and stop only in certain cases in the breakpoint and look at the situation in the single step specifically only there more exactly.

It is relatively easy with today’s fast PCs and compilers to insert specific commands for data testing and debug stop. Often you can just leave these commands in the program (you can use them again later), especially in C/++ with conditional compilation. In Java this often looks like this for me:

if(this.dbgStop) {
  int[] lineColumn = new int[2];
  String file = value.getSrcInfo(lineColumn);
  if(file.contains("SpiSlave") && lineColumn[0] >= 214 && lineColumn[0] <= 218)

Debugutil.stop()` is an empty statement, just a breakpoint possibility. The formatting and query is a bit more extensive, therefore only conditionally executed overall at runtime.

3.2. Debugging on runtime

This term means that important intermediate values are checked in the normal program sequence. The difference to the user test: Just intermediate values. Possibilities are logfiles (become too long), just better the access to data, which are actually encapsulated (private in object orientation).

These data should be considered in the normal program flow to be able to decide correctly under the given conditions, whether everything is running as intended.

For dynamic transitions traces can be used, comparable to a log. The difference between log and the here defined "trace" is: The log stores everything, the trace should only store data for certain situations.

Tools for data monitoring, trace and log have been systematically developed and used by the author since about 1995:

  • 1995 a trace on a 16-bit-embedded platform, in order to know in the case of a disturbance, which data arrived and which measured values existed before the disturbance. The trace was triggered with the fault, with a trailing time but especially the prehistory in the time range of milliseconds (for electrical controls).

  • It is important to note that when a trigger occurs, the system switches to the next trace buffer, for the further triggering that may follow shortly afterwards, or if no operating personnel is on site for transmission and evaluation.

  • 1998 this 'software trace' was extended with a hardware trace, every 16 ┬Ás measured values were automatically written via DMA into RAM and completed together with software data in a buffer. Evaluation of the entries was a bit more complex because item identifiers and lengths had to be processed. These two trace solutions were project-specific, have not found their way into the emC software.

  • In 2005, starting from the reflection mechanisms in Java, I searched for a solution for the symbolic access to data in an embedded system in C and worked out a solution. The solution is the ../../Inspc/index.html consisting of reflections for C/++, access and GUI tool. This tool is generally applicable for embedded solutions. The advantage is, one does not need compiler and listing tools for the addresses of the data. Instead the necessary information is compiled with and stored in the flash. The access is universal with it, but some flash memory is needed.

The Inspector solution is just the possibility to access all internal data at runtime. This includes entering test stimuli and parameter values.

3.3. Test of the solution

The term test should now be understood the real independent test, not the development-related debugging.

In principle, a distinction must be made between module and overall tests, but in the larger context, the overall software is also only a module.

When testing, it is important to keep in mind:

  • A customer is only interested in whether a feature works correctly, not how it works.

  • The developer (team), however, should care how it works internally.

In other words, the development team needs internal data even from tests that are only performed from the customer’s point of view.

A second aspect for test:

  • a) There are systematic tests, the test conditions are described and the results are formulated as requirements.

  • b) In systematic tests, some test conditions may have been overlooked. If then something does not work in practice, it can become precarious. Consequently, tests are needed that come from practice with arbitrary conditions, one can say random test. This can be compared with the test of a new car design on a runway.

a) is especially important for accurate documentation (test acceptance), and also for repeating tests after changes.

b) is relevant as experience and can improve or cause test cases for a).

b) is also just the pure practical test, feedback from users.

The test a) must be automatically executable. That means, compile software via batch run, load, load parameters, start, test result, test run.

4. Refactoring

4.1. Example for a proper refactoring

An algorithm, a data preparation, is part of an operation x1() in class A1.

Now in the project processing it is found out that in another operation x2() for example in the same environment (class A1) or under similar conditions almost exactly the same data propagation is executed, embedded in further then different instructions.

Now the general rule is "Don’t repat yourself", i.e. do not write the same algorithms more than once.

The first question is: Are these two subalgorithms only coincidentally similar to the same (y = 2.5*x + b could occur similarly in different situations without relation) or is it really about the same intention of the data preparation (the formula has a nameable meaning).

Only in the latter case should both be combined according to the "Don’t repat yourself" rule. If one would combine both in the first case only because they look the same, the trouble is pre-programmed, if a change is then necessary (!) with one of the data preparations incoherently.

The extraction of the partial algorithm is done as shown below.

4.2. Procedure for refactoring - Extracting an own operation

  • Writing the frame of the new operation, still without call arguments void myFn() { }.

  • Inserting the empty function in the place to be replaced - no compiler error messages.

  • Moving the code of the place to be replaced into the function body of the new operation.

  • Now compiler error messages are produced because variables from the local context have been used.

  • Considerate how many different variables these are. One can correct the section to be moved again, if for example a specific preparation needs much from the context, then leave this in the context.

  • Examine variables to be set in the local context. If only one variable is to be set, then this is to be defined as return value of the new operation.

  • If there are more than one variables to be set, then either a reference must be passed, or the variables should be defined as instance variables. That is however a more complex rebuilding, which should be done firstly without the new operation, in the given context, see Refactoring procedure - changing the definition environment of one (or more than one) variable..

  • When the section is matched, define the missing variable with the same name in the type in the argument list of the new operation and defining the return variable. This should make the new operation error-free.

  • Now only the call arguments with the same name need to be set and the return value processed.

  • After that, as a further refactoring, the internal names in the new operation can be renamed appropriately.

Often this does not look as complex as indicated in the points above. The code is easy to extract.

If you proceed systematically, let the compiler check, then the result is functionally identical. You can go straight into the overall test without debugging details again.

4.3. Refactoring procedure - changing the definition environment of one (or more than one) variable.

Variables can be defined globally static, locally static, as instance variables or as local or stack variables. The question global static or local static is not considered here and mostly not in consideration. See No use of simple static variable?.

4.3.1. Usage of instance variable

A so-called instance variable is sometimes also called a "class variable" because it is defined in the class. However, it is assigned to an instance at runtime. Especially in Java there is also the static class variable, these are not meant here, see No use of simple static variable?.

An element in a struct in C-language is also an instance variable.

Now it can be quite arbitrary whether a variable is defined in a class or struct and localized in an instance, or in the stack:

If the value of the variable is to be retained beyond the runtime of the overall operation in the module, i.e. is a "state", state of the module, then this is exactly the reason for the creation of an instance variable. In object-oriented terms, this is the proper rule. Constructions in the older C style:

 float myFunction(float x) {
   static int stateVariable = 0;
   stateVariable += 0.01f * (x - stateVariable));
   return stateVariable;

... were once intended for this purpose, too, when C did not yet know anything about object orientation - from today’s point of view an outdated style. In the example it is a so-called PT1 element, first order inertial element with fixed time constant about 100 * call repetition time. The 'stateVariable' is the memory state.

Object-oriented, the function looks like this:

 float PT1::myFunction(float x) {
   this->stateVariable += 0.01f * (x - this->stateVariable));
   return this->stateVariable;

The this→ reference can be omitted in C++ and usually is omitted. But it is clearer to write it ("be explicit").

Now, however, an intermediate value can also be stored in an instance variable, for example in this example the increment for the state:

 float PT1::myFunction(float x) {
   this->d += 0.01f * (x - this->stateVariable));
   this->stateVariable += this->d));
   return this->stateVariable;

This is not necessary for the task. But you can observe this increase with the approach "debug to runtime", for example, capture times when this value is negative or exceeds an amount. By the way, this is the D part of a PTD1 transfer function. So the intermediate value has a semantic meaning.

Another reason is given when intermediate values in the flow are simply stored in the instance instead of passing them through the call arguments. This case is now interesting as a candidate for refacoring:

 void MyClass::myFassadeOp(int parameter) {
   this->param2 = parameter + ...;        //store it in the instance after preparation
 void MyClass::myOtherOp() {
   this->xyz = this->param2 + ...;        //store it in the instance after preparation

An inner function uses the value of the intermediate variable stored in the instance. This is quite simple.

However, storing it in the instance is not necessary. The alternative looks like this:

 void MyClass::myFassadeOp(int parameter) {
   int param2 = parameter + ...;        //store it in the instance after preparation
   myOtherOp(int param2);
 void MyClass::myOtherOp(int param2) {
   this->xyz = param2 + ...;        //store it in the instance after preparation

The value calculated outside is passed on to the called inner operations ("Functions", "Methods") by call argument.

From software architecture view the following questions are to be answered however:

  • Is this intermediate value relevant for the instance, for example for external observation, or relevant in extensions as a state? Then the arrangement in the instance is correct in any case.

  • Or does this intermediate value have an essential meaning as argument for the description of the inner operation? Then it is better to pass this also as argument visibly ("be explicit"). Storing the intermediate value in the instance hides this property.

These two points are the cornerstones of the decision. In between there is room for flexibility. From a programming point of view, it is often easier to create an instance variable, you have less typing to do when calling it each time, especially if the intermediate value has to be passed to several operations.

From a computation time perspective, there is no difference. Writing and reading a value from the stack takes just as long as from the instance. The instance version may even be faster, because the effort to formulate the value as a call argument, is added slightly. On the other hand, the call argument version may then be faster because the compiler can perform register optimization.

From a memory point of view, the instance version needs a bit more memory, just in the instance. Note that extensive intermediate value preparation could blow up the stack frame (an array, call by value used). These are considerations for special cases.

It may be better to pass the intermediate value by call argument because the software is better documented that way:

  void preparation();      //here something will be prepared, but what really???
  int y = preparation(x, parameterset);  //that is explicit.

In this example parameterset can be a pointer, the instance is either in the heap (allocated with new, but temporary), or it is in the stack of the calling operation. This is also very useful, saves time, but you have to be aware of the possible error-proneness, if the parameterset-pointer is then simply stored statically and points to volatile data. But if it is considered correctly, then this is good.

One sees thus that there is a wide field between the decision instance variable or local temporary (= in the stack). One will possibly first choose the variant instance variable, but then want to restructure because of be explicit. Or vice versa, first create the variable in the stack and pass it by argument, later then determine, effort is too high and have the desire to place this in the instance.

This raises the question: how to refactor (restructure) safely.

4.3.2. Refactoring from the instance varible to a local one (and calling argument)

First of all it has to be clarified that this refactoring really works functionally or if it is a state variable after all. You will notice this during the refactoring when you get contradictions.

  • 1) The variable is deleted from the class or struct definition. With it there are compiler errors. With this it is also obvious where the variable is used everywhere.

  typedef struct ....{
    //int param2;              //(removed by comment)
    int XXXparam2;             //(removed by renaming)
  • 1..) Simply deleting would be consistent, but a bit too frivolous if you want to look over it again. Renaming with XXX is just as effective, as an intermediate step. You can then test problem areas more easily by renaming them accordingly, to get to the compiler error free first without too complex efforts.

  • 2) Afterwards, when this refactoring is done, you have to delete all occurrences of XXX (easy to find). Whereby also thereby possibly remaining problem places are noticeable. So work carefully.

  • 3) Now it is well recognizable where the variable is set (should be expected only in the top level…​). If at all other error places the variable is only read, then it is ok.

  • 4) If, however, there are different places where the variable is set, then a distinction must be made:

    • 4.1) Is the variable if necessary nevertheless a state variable, which is set thus in an internal operation and is then used in the next call in an outer operation. Then it must remain an instance variable!

    • 4.2) If the variable is set only because its value is varied inward for the call, then it was actually already unsuitable as instance variable. Because the same variable is used thus for different purposes. This saves storage space in the instance, but is against all rules of clear programming.

  • 5) The relevant places of setting the instance variable must therefore be examined carefully, in total over all hits, and the request afterwards if necessary again be reconsidered. It is easy to undo by restoring the definition in the class or struct.

  • 6) If there is ideally a write access only in one operation, which can be clearly identified as an outer operation, then the variable is best defined directly at the writing instruction. The variable should not have been used before, then it would be a state variable.

  //param2 = 1234 + input;          //change to:
  int param2  = 1234 + input;
  • 6..) This should remove all compiler errors in this operation.

  • 7) If there are more than one places where the variable is used for writing, then it is more complicated. It may not be exactly recognizable whether the variable is used as a state variable after all, or as in point 4.2) only an intermediate value variation. In any case, the variable should be defined with a new name at this write position:

  //param2 += 1;          //change to:
  int param2_a  = param2 + 1
  • 7..) In the example, the variable is varied with itself. If it is reassigned from other values, the same procedure is to be followed, without any difference.

  • 7..) In this case, carefully check where the variable is used. Possibly it is simpler the variable is reassigned locally and used only locally. Then also the old name can be kept. You can already see that the software was messed up before, just assigning any variable as it likes; and this refactoring is therefore necessary.

  • 8) If there are only read accesses in an operation, then the variable definition is inserted in the formal call lists as an argument. This can be done successively for all operations concerned, it is very fast if you take the definition into the clipboard. Usually there are 3..20 correction points, this can be done manually.

  • 8..) Thus the compiler errors at the usage points of the variable disappear again. Instead of it there are however compiler errors with the call of the appropriate operations.

  • 9) The call is supplemented with the variable of the same name, also possible via clipboard.

  • 10) The compiler error situation is then the following:

    • If the variable exists in the call environment anyway, because it is used there, there are no errors everything is ok.

    • But if it is a call in an intermediate level, which itself did not use the variable, then the variable must be defined there as a call argument, as explained in 8). Accordingly, step 8) must be completed for this call. So this is some iteration effort for the intermediate levels. This can be used, for example, to rethink and supplement the documentation in the sources.

So this is some iteration effort for the intermediate levels. One can use this, for example, to immediately rethink and supplement the documentation in the sources.

Finishing, If all is error-free at the end, then the variable was actually only used in the flow, and all duplicate uses are erased.

4.3.3. Refactoring from the local variable, possibly as a call argument, to the instance variable.

This approach is necessary when a variable for an intermediate result - essentially for static observation - is stored in an instance.

  • 1) The variable is to define in the class or struct and commented accordingly.

  • 2) The definition either in the operation or as a call argument should be deleted: *

  //int param2 = 345 + x;
  this->param2 = 345 + x;
  • 3) It is recommended to add this→ at write access right away, "be explicit".

  • 4) It is recommended to add this→ also on read access.

  • 6) When calling, the call argument which is no longer necessary must be deleted.

Note: It is also possible that the variable is created in another referenced instance, not in this→ . This has to be decided from a software architecture point of view.

5. How to navigate in own and foreign sources - after some time

The question from the headline can be answered flatly at first: Make sure that the development is well structured. But that’s the theory. Therefore the following two tips:

  • a) The good structuring of the sources is of course important. But if you want to use the structure to move into a very special problem, then one has the task to see through the whole structure first, in order to know where to reach. In particular with a strange software or with the own from older time it is a high effort.

  • b) Therefore, the other approach is often better: Find the place, a variable, a distinctive output text, which is related to the problem. Then search by cross references those places in the program, which are connected with it.

The approach b) is well supported by the tools, which shows that probably other developers also approach this way. You don’t need to know the whole structure of the software. You don’t even need to know in which module or file you are editing (!). You can check this later when you commit the change.

In order to live this approach, a few rules should be followed:

  • In case of an error, there should be a clear output text that can be found in the sources via "search over everything". For example, you should make sure that a constant text part (which is findable) is clearly separated from the variable text part. For example:

    In VhdlExpTerm.genSimpleValue - Reference not found: frameIn in SpiMaster.java line: 142

The specification "frameIn in …​" refers to the current reference, also the line specification. In this example it is a translator which processes the mentioned Java file. However the string “In VhdlExpTerm.genSimpleValue - Reference not found:” is a constant part of this error message, which can be found by searching in all source files. Then you have the location that gives the error and can look further, why exactly the error is generated (set debug break and the like).

  • Names of variables and functions should not be too short. One can use the internally formed indices for cross references. However, if you have to search for access to a variable or function that is important in all source files, it is better to have a unique name, to have a unique designation. The namespace is always class-related in object-oriented languages, so you can have identifiers with the same name in different classes, which the compiler distinguishes very well. But the human being can’t decide that well. So do not use the possibility of the same names extremely.

Example: A get routine of a class, where there is only one thing to get, can be simply called get(). But it is better to use a longer name, possibly also good for documentation and readability of the source code:

Type result = myIndexForXy->getTypeInstance(key);

For Type, Xy and Instance you put in the appropriate application related names and then you get a well readable source code with unique identifiers for the cross search. Also result and key may be better named uniquely, although they are only local identifiers in the context. However: For local identifiers you can use very short ambiguous identifiers because they are only relevant in a small context.

6. No use of simple static variable?

I have been aware of this problem since at least 1992.

If you program in assembler, then each variable exists only once context-free. Only the visibility can be related to the respective source. The simple programming languages, like BASIC or also dBase proceeded in the same way. A variable simply existed, the context was not asked for.

In C this is basically similar to assembler, precisely because C was supposed to be the replacement for assembler, at the time of origin as well as today. So in the old C style you define variables just like that in the source-code. For the visibility only in the own module, there is the designation static (misleading, this designation rather says that it is a state variable) and external in the declaration in the header file and not static in the definition.

Additionally in C there are the stack variables, also called local variables. One can have these also in manually programmed assembler, in which just with the Stackpointer register is worked.

What is completely disregarded here is the so-called "re-entry capability" into the code, which is also an old useless term. What is meant is that the same code part is used in several parallel threads, or possibly recursively. This so-called re-entry ability (Reentrancy) is however from the view of applications of the early C a special condition.

And that’s often still the way people think today, once they’ve learned to program simply.

There is a much simpler principle that brings this so-called reentrancy by default, so that one does not need to think about it, and which works effectively on today’s controllers and processors due to optimizing compilers and a powerful machine instruction set: That is Object Orientation. One should never program non Object-Oriented.

What is the core of Object Orientation:

  • All relevant data are in an instance of a data structure (in C++ or Java in a class, in C also possible, there in a struct.

  • The data used is passed by reference.

This is the fundamental basis of object orientation. Related to machine instructions (assembler) one needs therefore a register that contains the address of the data. To access the data, address calculations are required. And exactly these are executed by modern processors "by the way" concurrently. At the time of the emergence of C, this was not yet the case. Nevertheless, the basis of object orientation, the struct, was introduced early on in C as a language feature.

Not object oriented is:

  static float state;    //defined as globally static variable
  float factor_PT1;

  float pt1_transferFunction(float x) {
    state += factor_PT1 * (x - state);
    return state;

Object-oriented in C it looks like:

  typedef struct PT1_T {
    float state;        //member of struct
    float factor;
  } PT1_s;

  float pt1_transferFunction ( PT1_s* thiz, float x) {
    thiz->state += thiz->factor * (x - thiz->state);
    return thiz->state;

One needs therefore the reference thiz called in the function. Outside to clarify is where the data are. This is additional work. But the function is cleanly structured, there are no conflicts, and the reentrance is clarified.

Too much effort for a simple task? The thinking error lies in the fact that the task does not remain simple but the complexity of the overall solution grows.

  • The first problem with the non-object-oriented simple solution is the lack of re-entrant capability or more concretely: You can’t have multiple instances of this function. The simple answer: It is not necessary, it’s not in the specification.+

  • The correct answer: Time comes, comes the necessity of the multiple use.

  • The second problem may be: If the variables are defined as static, meaning the encapsulation of visibility in this compile unit or in this source file, then yes, it is good. But it will not stop there. For example the factor is set from somewhere else as already shown in the example, so it must be known globally. This provokes name conflicts. These are not visible for the time being because in the initial programming state nobody else uses the name factor_PT1. But you actually have to tell everyone involved in the programming project that you are already using the identifier. That is coordination effort. At some point you face the problem.

The object-oriented variant has a higher basic effort, but is a clean base.

Well, the decision for C++ instead of C is unaffected by this. Also in C++ you can program with such statically global variables and in C you can program object oriented.

This should be the core statement of this chapter.