[fpc-devel] "case" with range stupidities

Vinzent Hoefler JeLlyFish.software at gmx.net
Thu Feb 15 16:13:48 CET 2007

On Thursday 15 February 2007 14:46, Daniƫl Mantione wrote:
> Op Thu, 15 Feb 2007, schreef Vinzent Hoefler:

> Because, in a case statement you are already "inside" the brackets:

Yeah, I sort of figured that. ;)

> > Another oddity would be a for loop:
> >
> >    for Bla := One to Five do ...
> >
> > would be a range only, yes? (Apart from the fact that - due to the
> > "to" keyword - really isn't).
> It is a range, but one also needs to specify the direction
> (to/downto), so it is logical that for-loops don't use .. syntax.

Oh, right, I forgot that. Damn.

That's why in Ada you can write

   for Bla in X'Range loop


   for Bla in reverse X'Range loop

for the intended direction of the given range.

> > What about a compiler built-in like Low() and High() called Range()
> > where its return type indicates something that would be compatible
> > to a case and for label and just denote the range of the whole
> > type?
> >
> > Basically a short cut to the "Low (Type) ..|to High (Type)"
> > expression, but without the possible pitfall of writing
> >
> >    Low (Type) .. High (A_Similar_And_Unfortunately_Compatible_Type)
> >
> > and thus being less error-prone...?
> It looks okay, but does this pitfall actually exist?

Yes, it does. Especially when copying and pasting. ;)

The reason why I stumbled over that was that I changed a case statement 
from a perfect fit:

case Frequency of
1600: Idx = Hz_1600;

where the returned Idx is an index to an array of hardware parameters to 
generate that frequency. For some unpublishable reason I changed that 
from a perfect match (here: 1600) to a range (say: 1500 .. 1700) and I 
started declaring range types for that because putting in the range 
into the case label seemed too bad for later changes.

So then I ended up writing:

case Frequency of
Low (Range_1_6_K) .. High (Range_1_6_K) : Idx := ...
Low (Range_1_8_K) .. High (Range_1_8_K) : Idx := ...

for quite some values. Of course you start copy- and pasting things then 
and I had to triple check if I really matched the Low(...) with the 
according High(...) parts and the correct value for Idx.

> low(colour)..high(wind_direction) would be a type violation.

Yes. But integer ranges are compatible in any case and that's what I am 
bound to here (in fact, the code even "kind of" changes those integers 
to a type-safe enumeration type for further uses).

> > or
> >
> > |case Bla in
> > |Range (X): ...
> >
> > doesn't actually look unreadable to me...
> Indeed, but do you solve a problem? I.e. I can imagine some kind of
> syntax to allow set constants would help, but this seems mostly a
> typing shortcut.

Well, it is.

The above mentioned lines of Ada code can still be expressed as

for Bla in [reverse] X'Low .. X'High loop

and would still mean the same. And due to the fact that in Pascal such a 
Range() built-in would still not be useable in a for loop, it seems, 
its use would be too limited to be considered an improvement. Unless 
I'd get Reverse_Range(), too. ;)



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