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Syntactic Confectionery Delight

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Clarity of intent.

  • The first indicates (to me) that you are doing a whole string comparison. There is only one thing that the eq operation is able to do.
  • The regexp opens the possibility that there is something more complex happening. Even in this simple case, I still would need to switch languages to verify that there was nothing else going on in the statement.

Admittedly, in this case, it is not a very complex regexp, so it probably does not make much of a difference. If I am doing a full string comparison, I reach for eq. If I am matching a pattern, I reach for a regexp. It seems to me that any cue that you can give to the future-you reading your code is a good thing.

Update: As far as what to do once it gets a number of comparisons, refactor the comparisons out into a subroutine with a descriptive name and call it.

The following statement takes a bit to digest:

( $var eq 'a' || $var eq 'b' || $var eq 'c' || $var eq 'd' )

where this replacement, at least to me, is much clearer:

( isAnAllowedCharacter( $var ) )

This also allows you to change the definition of what a valid character (or whatever you are testing for) is without changing the code that is performing the test:

sub isAnAllowedCharacter { my $testee = shift; ( $testee eq 'a' || ... ) # or perhaps %valid_characters = map { $_ => 1 } ( 'a' .. 'd' ); $valid_characters{ $testee }; # or even perhaps my $validation_service = Remote::Validation::Service->new(...); $validation_service->isValid( $testee ); }

Update 2: Missed this one before:

This simplified example shows only two elements to compare but if there were more the expression could get quite long.

It seems to me that a regexp with many strings can be just as unreadable as a series of $var eq '...' comparisons. Whitespace (and /x on the regexp) can make a world of difference.


In reply to Re^3: var comparison by MidLifeXis
in thread var comparison by nemesisgus

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