[erlang-questions] Reassigning variables

mats cronqvist masse@REDACTED
Tue Mar 17 21:21:29 CET 2009

Matthew Dempsky <matthew@REDACTED> writes:

> I like pattern matching in the majority of cases, but I find I write
> enough code where I need to incrementally update a data structure, and
> maintaining that code is a pain when I have code like:
>   X = foo(),
>   X1 = bar(X),
>   X2 = xyzzy(X1),
>   blah(X2).
> and later want to change it to:
>   X = foo(),
>   X1 = whee(X),
>   X2 = bar(X1),
>   X3 = xyzzy(X2),
>   blah(X3).

  Apologies in advance for calling you a noob.
  But in my experience, all beginners start off writing code like the above.
  Whereas seasoned Erlangers produce something more like this;

x() ->

make_whee(X) -> 
  case whee(X) of
    {A,B} ->  bar(A);
    {A,B,C}-> bar(A)

blah_it(X) when is_atom(X) -> blah(X);
blah_it(X) when is_list(X) -> blah(list_to_atom(X)).

  I've added some stuff to your example to make it less trivial, but
  it's basically the same.

  So I think the X1 = f(X), X2 = f(X1) anti-pattern is not a weakness
  of the language; it's Erlang's way of telling you that you should
  use more functions.


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