[erlang-questions] is this a well written function

Roelof Wobben r.wobben@REDACTED
Wed Feb 11 08:45:33 CET 2015

Richard A. O'Keefe schreef op 11-2-2015 om 5:26:
> On 9/02/2015, at 10:38 pm, Roelof Wobben <r.wobben@REDACTED> wrote:
>> Hello,
>> I tried to solve the exercise where I have to calculate the outcome of 1 ... n
> The outcome of doing what?
> So I have this :
>> -module(sum_recursion).
> This is a poor name.  From the outside, you cannot tell how the sum is
> computed, and you probably should not care.  If you are doing exercises
> from a book, it is better to name your modules for the exercises,
> e.g. chapter_2_exercise_4.
>> -export([sum/1]).
>> % when the number is zero the outcome will also be zero
>> sum(0) ->
>>   0;
>> % when the output is a number higher then 0 , the acc function will be called.
>> sum(Number) -> sum_acc(Number, 0, 0 ).
> Your comments must be
> (1) true
> (2) useful.
> Ad (1), there is no 'acc' function, so the comment is untrue.
> Ad (2), the comment is not USEFUL.
> What you are missing is a comment that says WHAT THE FUNCTION IS ABOUT.
> Something like
> %%  sum(N) answers 1+2+...+N when N is a non-negative integer.
> %%  It is not defined for other arguments.
> %%  The implementation uses tail recursion, where the
> %%  control argument counts up from 0 to N and the
> %%  accumulator argument holds the running prefix of the sum.
> These observations on comments have nothing to do with Erlang.
> No matter what programming language you are using, your comments
> should be true, useful, and not just paraphrase the code.
>> % when the numbers are equal then the end is reached and the last item is added to the acc variable,
>> % the acc variable hold the value of the sum as it is calculated
> This comment is not good.  You have *three* numbers.  Which two of them are supposed to be
> equal?  The phrase "junk comment" is generally used for comments that simply paraphrase the
> code.
> In Erlang, you CANNOT "add to the acc variable" (which is Acc, not acc).
> Once an Erlang variable has a value, that is its value for as long as it exists.
> Good code for this might be
> sum(N) when is_integer(N), N >= 0 ->
>      (N * (N+1)) // 2.

Thanks for all the remarks. I use recursion because the exercises from 
the Erlang programming book asked me to use it.

Here another try from another exercise from that book.



%%  displays(N) displays the numbers from  1,2,...+N when N is a 
non-negative integer.
%%  It is not defined for other arguments.
%%  When N is a non-negative number, a helper function is called so it 
prints out
%%  the numbers in the right order. This is a exercise from the Erlang 
Programming book
%%  where I have to practice side-effects.
display_numbers(Number) when Number > 0 ->
   display_numbers_loop(Number, 1).

%%  When the control argument)(second argument) is equal to the number
%%  the user has given, the end is reached and the last number is printed
display_numbers_loop(Number, Number) ->

%%  When the contro argument(second argument) is not equal to the number
%5  the user has given the control argument is increased by one and the
%%  display_numbers_loop function is called again with the new arguments.
display_numbers_loop(Number, Current) ->
   display_numbers_loop(Number, Current +1 ).


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