# [erlang-questions] If Condition vs. Multiple Function Clauses

Steve Davis <>
Sat Jun 15 02:40:06 CEST 2013

```I strongly (personally) dislike use of "if" syntax, but only because of the
counterintuitive "true" evaluation.

What if the language were to return the atom "else" instead of "true"?

I doubt that would be considered "better" but it would sure make things

/s

On Friday, June 14, 2013 8:06:33 AM UTC-5, Lars Herbach wrote:
>
>  Hi List,
> I'm currently working myself through the "Études for Erlang" book [1] and
> in exercise it wks's to write a recursive function, calculating the
> greatest common divisor for two numbers N and M. The suggested solution is
> a single gcd/2 function with an If condition and recursion:
>
>  gcd(M, N) ->
>     if M == N -> M;
>        M > N -> gcd(M - N, N;
>        true -> gcd(M, N - M)
>     end.
>
>  I by myself took another way, working with multiple function clauses
> (did I name it right?):
>
>  gcd(M, N) when M == N ->
>     M;
> gcd(M, N) when M > N ->
>     gcd(M - N, N);
> gcd(M, N) ->
>     gcd(M,  N - M).
>
>  Now I've got two questions about that:
> 1) Is my solution still recursive, since I practically call different
> functions?
> 2) Are there any benefits in regards of efficiancy for the first solution?
>
>  Thanks,
> Lars.
>
>
>  [1]: http://shop.oreilly.com/product/0636920030034.do
>
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