[erlang-questions] Maze alternate example for Rosetta Code

Sun Feb 14 00:24:08 CET 2016

For my own purposes, I have completed about 624 of the 780 Rosetta Code
problems.  One issue with the Rosetta Code examples is that different
authors have 'optimised' different things for different problems: brevity,
clarity, speed, memory, minimised library use, maximised library use,...
and there is no standard way for the authors to *tell* you what they were
up to.  From personal experience, sometimes a solution's author is just
trying to get *something* done quickly and is actively ignoring every
other consideration.  You'll note that quite a lot of solutions are
translations from other solutions: this is often a sign that the author
was fed up and now wasn't even *trying* to produce idiomatic or efficient

Sometimes the criteria are genuinely in conflict.  Let's take a
simple example: left factorial.
  0 to: n-1 detectSum: [:k | k factorial]
is a direct and idiomatic transcription of the requirements.
  n = 0 ifTrue: [0] ifFalse: [|x|
    x := 1.
    n-1 to: 1 by: -1 do: [:k | x := x*k+1].
is much less direct, but over the range of numbers considered in the
problem it is an order of magnitude faster.

What I'm saying is, don't be too quick to assume that the author of
the existing Maze solution in Erlang didn't *know* about this or
that feature of Erlang; maybe s/he was trying to produce something
that could be understood by someone with a fairly basic knowledge
of Erlang.  (Rosetta Code *is* a 'chrestomathy' meaning that the
solutions shouldn't be *too* esoteric.)

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