Access Restriction

Author Abrahams, Paul W.
Source ACM Digital Library
Content type Text
Publisher Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
File Format PDF
Language English
Abstract The dangling else problem consists of a class of potential ambiguities in ALGOL-like conditional statements whose basic form is “if B1 then if B2 then S1 else S2” where B1 and B2 are Boolean expressions and S1 and S2 are basic statements. The difficulty lies in whether to attach the else to the first if or to the second one. Existing solutions to the problem are either ambiguous or unnecessarily restrictive. Let S and S1 be statements. We define S to be closed if “S else S1” is not a statement, and to be open if “S else S1” is a statement. Thus an unconditional statement is a closed statement. Open and closed conditional statements are defined by syntax equations in such a way as to preserve openness and closure. In each case, an else must always be preceded by a closed statement. It is shown that the syntax equations are unambiguous, and that any change in the statement types required within the syntax equations would lead to either ambiguity or unnecessary restriction.
Description Affiliation: Information International, Inc., New York, NY (Abrahams, Paul W.)
Age Range 18 to 22 years ♦ above 22 year
Educational Use Research
Education Level UG and PG
Learning Resource Type Article
Publisher Date 2005-08-01
Publisher Place New York
Journal Communications of the ACM (CACM)
Volume Number 9
Issue Number 9
Page Count 4
Starting Page 679
Ending Page 682

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Source: ACM Digital Library