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Re^3: Ternary operators: a hinderance, not a help

by Anonymous Monk
on Aug 10, 2005 at 10:56 UTC ( #482563=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Re^2: Ternary operators: a hinderance, not a help
in thread Ternary operators: a hinderance, not a help

As I state in the OP, however, my point about readability and clarity is concerned more with more complex constructs, of which that example is not one :)
I got the impression the OP condemned all use of ?:. If your opinion is "use ?: when that's readable, use if/then/else when that is", you and I agree, because that's what I do. I use ?: when I find that more readable if/then/else, otherwise, I use if/then/else.

Chained/cascading ternaries quickly lose readability, especially when combined with other code elements.
So do chained/cascading if/then/else constructs. Or nested loops, or nested indices.

Your original example, I would write either as:

my $number = $logical_test ? $value : 0;
my $number = $value; $number = 0 unless $logical_test;
my $number = 0; $number = $value if $logical_test;
depending whether I want to stress the default value of $number. (I might use one of the latter two if $logical_test is expected to have a particular value, and it not having it is an exception, I use the former line if $logical_test could go both ways).
If $logical_test is 0 if it's false, I might even write it as:
my $number = $logical_test && $value;

I wouldn't easily write:

my $number; if ($logical_test) { $number = $value; } else { $number = 0; }
as it assigns an initial value to $number in a different scope than its declaration - IMO, that doesn't score bonus points when it comes to readability. It's also 7 lines instead of 1, although it can easily be shortened to:
my $number; if ($logical_test) {$number = $value} else {$number = 0}
But still, it's three lines. And worse, both blocks have two thirds of their tokens in common - which just shouts "factor out, factor out". Which would lead to:
my $number = do {if ($logical_test) {$value} else {0}};
But then I prefer:
my $number = $logical_test ? $value : 0;

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