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- Subject: Re: Continuations (was google summer of code)
- From: Steve Litt <slitt@...>
- Date: Tue, 22 Feb 2011 13:52:49 -0500
On Tuesday 22 February 2011 13:17:00 Pierre-Yves Gérardy wrote:
> > roberto> It always strike me why gotos are considered evil and ugly,
> > roberto> but continuations, which are a completely unrestricted form
> > roberto> of computed/assigned gotos, are considered beautiful. Maybe
> > roberto> the problem with gotos is that they are too restrictive?
> I think that the problem is social, not technical.
> Continuations are conceptually more complex, and as such are less
> likely to be abused by clueless people.
This would be my guess also.
> The "considered evil" essay was necessary in its time because, outside
> accademia, goto was the dominant branching construct, ingrained in
> programming habits, and this was causing damage. Continuations never
> were popular enough to warrant such a rant.
Yes. Any fool can use goto. Anyone in the business before 1985 has been forced
to deal with goto and understands on a gut level its horrors. As for myself, I
was TAUGHT to use gotos in college, along with that perverse matching design
tool, the flowchart. I was a terrible programmer. I wasn't able to become a
professional programmer until discovering return from subroutine and
functional decomposition in 1982.
> By now, good practice are taught from day one, so I think that the
> Dijstra ban of the goto statement from structured languages and their
> descendants could be lifted without harm.
I disagree. To paraphrase PT Barnum, there's an idiot born every minute.
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