[Coco] GOTO and code maintainability

Boisy G. Pitre boisy at tee-boy.com
Mon Sep 7 13:33:17 EDT 2009

On a related note, I found this article from Dijkstra's on programming  
languages quite humorous:


On Sep 7, 2009, at 10:42 AM, Michael Furman wrote:

> On Sep 7, 2009, at 7:44 AM, Mark McDougall wrote:
>> Aaron Banerjee wrote:
>>> Has anyone else run into this type of "GOTO intolerance" while  
>>> programming?
>> At uni we were introduced to programming using Pascal, and in those  
>> days "GOTO" was a 4-letter word. I graduated to C and for many  
>> years it was drummed into me that the aforementioned was to be  
>> avoided at all costs.
>> To this day, you could probably count the number of times I've used  
>> "GOTO" (in C) on one hand. At one point I was even resorting to  
>> using a big "if (1)" statement with "break"'s littered within for  
>> exiting on error conditions. I thought it was clever - until I  
>> realised that (a) it didn't work with nested conditional structures  
>> (for,while,etc) and (b) it was actually _clearer_ to the reader  
>> using "goto"!
>> [Of course this particular scenario is somewhat moot now with  
>> proper exception handling in modern languages, but that's beside  
>> the point.]
>> I've learned that there's many ways to skin a cat, some better than  
>> others, but to say "never" is probably foolish (with one exception  
>> - I'll _never_ use Java for anything!). OK, 2 exceptions - add C#  
>> to that list.
>> Regards,
> I happen to have copies of Dijkstra's original letters to  
> Communications of the ACM on this subject.  They are interesting  
> reads, even if dated:
> Read this first: http://www.ocs.net/~n6il/dij68-2.pdf  "Go To  
> Statement Considered Harmful"
> Then this: http://www.ocs.net/~n6il/dij68.pdf "Go To Statement  
> Reconsidered"
> --
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Boisy G. Pitre
E-mail: boisy at tee-boy.com
Web: http://www.tee-boy.com/

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