Why I don't like inverted
Perl has an often used feature where you can write a conditional statement in a form like:
statement if (condition);
(You can use
I find this usage lurching because it's a dislocation in my flow of
thought. I start out reading the code thinking that the statement always
happens; then I get to the
if and whoops, time to backtrack on my
The worst form of this is when the
if is indented a lot, so it's
almost flush right with a lot of whitespace between it and the main
statement. My eyes and mind have been carefully trained to expect
that things hanging out by their lonesome in the right margin will be
comments, not code that affects the program flow.
(At one point I actually wrote Perl code that looked like this. I tell myself that I know better now, but I'm probably doing equally heinous things somewhere else. Reading your old code can be a very humbling experience.)
Perl is not the only language that does this (there's Ruby, for example, and Python 2.5's conditional expressions also work this way). While Perl is the only one of them I currently have direct experience with, I don't think I'm going to like this any better in another language, Python included.
Comments on this page:Written on 28 June 2007.