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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • No, I wouldn't use a switch-like construct there. What's the point of a label when there's a much cleaner solution? I would probably use a dispatch table like the following:

    my %dispatch = (
      foo => \&foo,
      bar => \&bar,
      baz => \&baz


    if ( exists $dispatch{$function} ) {
    else {
      die "No such function ($function)";

    I don't know, maybe it's just me, but that seems much cleaner and

    • Well, I use dispatch tables. But it hasn't caught on with most co-workers. Anyways, the point is trying to get a good way to explain to these people that the way they use labels is wrong. The examples I showed, although not the best way to do things (aside the nested loop), are more 'valid' ways to use labels. Dispatch tables are better than 'goto LABEL', but I show that as an example of a more proper usage. Basically, because people at my work seem to think that when I show them good programming practices,
      • I humbly submit an example of when SWITCH can go horribly wrong. The temptation to use labels for control flow when they are not required makes bugs like this more likely.

         while ( my $data = $t_sth->fetchrow_arrayref ) {
           my ( $amt, $id ) = @$data;
           $amt /= PRECISION;

           SWITCH: {
             $id == $CASH        && ($tcash        += $amt) && last SWITCH;
             $id == $ACCOUNT     && ($taccount     += $amt) && last SWITCH;
             $id == $CHECK       && ($tcheck       += $amt) && last SWITCH;
             $id == $GIFT        && ($tgift        += $amt) && last SWITCH;
             $id == $VOUCHER     && ($tvoucher     += $amt) && last SWITCH;
             $id == $CC_MAN_AUTH && ($tcc_man_auth += $amt) && last SWITCH;
                                    ($tcredit      += $amt);

        Many people (including me) will miss the bug. The problem here is the short circuit behavior when the increment results in a false value. Most of the time, this code worked. I asked chromatic [] for help and he wrote the following:

         my %totals;
         @totals{$CASH, $ACCOUNT, $CHECK, $GIFT, $VOUCHER, $CC_MAN_AUTH} =
           \($tcash, $taccount, $tcheck, $tgift, $tvoucher, $tcc_man_auth);

         while ( my $data = $t_sth->fetchrow_arrayref ) {
           my ( $amt, $id ) = @$data;
           $amt /= PRECISION;
           if (my $totalvar = $totals{ $id }) {
             $$totalvar += $amt;
           else {
             $tcredit += $amt;

        His code worked, mine didn't. Now some people would argue that my code's failure is a result of my not paying attention to the short-circuiting behavior of &&, but that's not the real issue. The underlying problem here stems from my having duplicated the same code over and over. chromatic didn't make that mistake. He applied the logic exactly once, I applied it multiple times. Essentially, I cut-n-pasted the code. This leaves less room for thought and more room for error. For every one of your programmers who wants to use that SWITCH construct, point out the duplicate code. That is where a large part of the problem lies.

        • Yes, I can try this one. I saw the bug when I saw the code. Maybe this one will show why they should avoid labels (although labels are good in deeply nested loops, they don't do that anyways).

          Maybe I can turn this into a "THAT IS FIRE, DO NOT TOUCH THE FIRE" ;-)

        • $id == $CASH && ($tcash += $amt) && last SWITCH;

          I saw the "bug" when I saw the code, but then I thought "the programmer wouldn't have used that construct if ($tcash += $amt) could ever yield zero!".

          I like pie.