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Table of Contents
  1. Programming By Case Studies: An Algol Primer
  2. Fifty Years of BASIC, the Programming Language That Made Computers Personal
  3. Programming by Case Studies: An Algol Primer by O. B. Chedzoy, Sandra Elizabeth Ford -
  4. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Program Assessment

At the level of loops, this is a break statement terminate the loop or continue statement terminate the current iteration, proceed with next iteration. In structured programming, these can be replicated by adding additional branches or tests, but for returns from nested code this can add significant complexity.

Programming By Case Studies: An Algol Primer

C is an early and prominent example of these constructs. Some newer languages also have "labeled breaks", which allow breaking out of more than just the innermost loop.

Exceptions also allow early exit, but have further consequences, and thus are treated below. Multiple exits can arise for a variety of reasons, most often either that the subroutine has no more work to do if returning a value, it has completed the calculation , or has encountered "exceptional" circumstances that prevent it from continuing, hence needing exception handling. The most common problem in early exit is that cleanup or final statements are not executed — for example, allocated memory is not deallocated, or open files are not closed, causing memory leaks or resource leaks.

These must be done at each return site, which is brittle and can easily result in bugs. For instance, in later development, a return statement could be overlooked by a developer, and an action which should be performed at the end of a subroutine e. Languages without a return statement, such as standard Pascal and Seed7 , do not have this problem. Most modern languages provide language-level support to prevent such leaks; [8] see detailed discussion at resource management. Most commonly this is done via unwind protection, which ensures that certain code is guaranteed to be run when execution exits a block; this is a structured alternative to having a cleanup block and a goto.

This is most often known as try In case of multiple return statements introducing try Various techniques exist to encapsulate resource management. Kent Beck , Martin Fowler and co-authors have argued in their refactoring books that nested conditionals may be harder to understand than a certain type of flatter structure using multiple exits predicated by guard clauses.

Their book flatly states that "one exit point is really not a useful rule. They offer a cookbook solution for transforming a function consisting only of nested conditionals into a sequence of guarded return or throw statements, followed by a single unguarded block, which is intended to contain the code for the common case, while the guarded statements are supposed to deal with the less common ones or with errors. In his textbook, David Watt writes that "single-entry multi-exit control flows are often desirable". Using Tennent's framework notion of sequencer , Watt uniformly describes the control flow constructs found in contemporary programming languages and attempts to explain why certain types of sequencers are preferable to others in the context of multi-exit control flows.

Watt writes that unrestricted gotos jump sequencers are bad because the destination of the jump is not self-explanatory to the reader of a program until the reader finds and examines the actual label or address that is the target of the jump. In contrast, Watt argues that the conceptual intent of a return sequencer is clear from its own context, without having to examine its destination.

Watt writes that a class of sequencers known as escape sequencers , defined as a "sequencer that terminates execution of a textually enclosing command or procedure", encompasses both breaks from loops including multi-level breaks and return statements. Watt also notes that while jump sequencers gotos have been somewhat restricted in languages like C, where the target must be an inside the local block or an encompassing outer block, that restriction alone is not sufficient to make the intent of gotos in C self-describing and so they can still produce " spaghetti code ".

Watt also examines how exception sequencers differ from escape and jump sequencers; this is explained in the next section of this article. In contrast to the above, Bertrand Meyer wrote in his textbook that instructions like break and continue "are just the old goto in sheep's clothing" and strongly advised against their use. Based on the coding error from the Ariane disaster , software developer Jim Bonang argues that any exceptions thrown from a function violate the single-exit paradigm, and proposes that all inter-procedural exceptions should be forbidden.

Peter Ritchie also notes that, in principle, even a single throw right before the return in a function constitutes a violation of the single-exit principle, but argues that Dijkstra's rules were written in a time before exception handling became a paradigm in programming languages, so he proposes to allow any number of throw points in addition to a single return point. He notes that solutions which wrap exceptions for the sake of creating a single-exit have higher nesting depth and thus are more difficult to comprehend, and even accuses those who propose to apply such solutions to programming languages which support exceptions of engaging in cargo cult thinking.

David Watt also analyzes exception handling in the framework of sequencers introduced in this article in the previous section on early exits. For example, a program might contain several calls to read files, but the action to perform when a file is not found depends on the meaning purpose of the file in question to the program and thus a handling routine for this abnormal situation cannot be located in low-level system code.

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Watts further notes that introducing status flags testing in the caller, as single-exit structured programming or even multi-exit return sequencers would entail, results in a situation where "the application code tends to get cluttered by tests of status flags" and that "the programmer might forgetfully or lazily omit to test a status flag. In fact, abnormal situations represented by status flags are by default ignored! Based on these arguments, Watt concludes that jump sequencers or escape sequencers discussed in the previous section aren't as suitable as a dedicated exception sequencer with the semantics discussed above.

The textbook by Louden and Lambert emphasizes that exception handling differs from structured programming constructs like while loops because the transfer of control "is set up at a different point in the program than that where the actual transfer takes place. At the point where the transfer actually occurs, there may be no syntactic indication that control will in fact be transferred.

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  • The necessity to limit code to single-exit points appears in some contemporary programming environments focused on parallel computing, such as OpenMP. More rarely, subprograms allow multiple entry. From a code execution point of view, yielding from a coroutine is closer to structured programming than returning from a subroutine, as the subprogram has not actually terminated, and will continue when called again — it is not an early exit. However, coroutines mean that multiple subprograms have execution state — rather than a single call stack of subroutines — and thus introduce a different form of complexity.

    It is very rare for subprograms to allow entry to an arbitrary position in the subprogram, as in this case the program state such as variable values is uninitialized or ambiguous, and this is very similar to a goto. Some programs, particularly parsers and communications protocols , have a number of states that follow each other in a way that is not easily reduced to the basic structures, and some programmers implement the state-changes with a jump to the new state. This type of state-switching is often used in the Linux kernel.

    However, it is possible to structure these systems by making each state-change a separate subprogram and using a variable to indicate the active state see trampoline. Alternatively, these can be implemented via coroutines, which dispense with the trampoline. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Programming paradigm aimed at improving clarity, quality, and development time by using control structures. This article includes a list of references , but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. Please help to improve this article by introducing more precise citations.

    March Learn how and when to remove this template message. Further information: Coroutine.

    Wilson, Robert G. Comparative programming languages 3rd ed. Harlow, England: Addison-Wesley. Archived from the original on 26 November Retrieved 25 November Communications of the ACM. Archived PDF from the original on The go to statement as it stands is just too primitive, it is too much an invitation to make a mess of one's program. March February 12, Programming on Purpose, Essays on Software Design 1 ed.

    Fifty Years of BASIC, the Programming Language That Made Computers Personal

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    Chapter 8, Inserting Operations into Clumps

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