There is currently a big debate in the Groovy mailing list about

        <expression> if <condition>
        <expression> unless <condition>

constructs into the language.  Anyone familiar with Perl or Ruby will
have come across this "condition after expression" construct.  In Perl
and Ruby these are additional selection constructs to the ones found in
Fortran, Algol68, Pascal, C, C++, Java, Python, Groovy, and of course
Perl and Ruby:

        if <condition> <expression>
        if <condition> <expression> else <expression>

though in some languages the expressions are statement, but that is
technical detail.

As you can image the debate is between the yes and no camp :-)  Some of
the arguments are about consistency and minimalism which are fairly
objective ones, but many of the arguments are about readability and
comprehension, which is of course where PPIG comes in.  Many of the
arguments people are putting forward on readability and comprehension
are based simply on personal experience and prejudice.  What I would
like to do is to introduce an element of science to the debate.  For
this I need experimental data and input from psychology about
readability and comprehensibility.

So does anyone know of any work on readability and comprehensibility of
these two varieties of selection structure.


Dr Russel Winder                       t: +44 20 7585 2200
41 Buckmaster Road               m: +44 7770 465 077
London SW11 1EN, UK              w:

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