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Enemy of the 'State'?

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  • Enemy of the 'State'?

    Hi, I'm just really beginning to dive into Xbasic programming. In reviewing CONSTANTS I happended upon something strange... Well at least to me. Can anyone explain why the following would work or rather not produce an error when issued in the interactive code window?

    CONSTANT tax_rate = 0.5

    CONSTANT GLOBAL tax_rate = 0.06

    My tests show two different variables. If they both exist at the same time how do I specify when I want one or the other. I naturally would not code this way but it could happen to anyone. Is this a bug? Should it be allowed or am I misunderstanding how Alpha's local and global variables and constants work? :)

  • #2
    Re: Enemy of the 'State'?

    CONSTANT tax_rate = 0.5
    CONSTANT GLOBAL tax_rate = 0.06
    ? global_variables().tax_rate
    = 0.060000
    ? local_variables().tax_rate
    = 0.500000
    You might want to peruse the webhelp index heading Scope of Variables Conflict.
    Last edited by Stan Mathews; 09-15-2009, 01:38 PM.
    There can be only one.


    • #3
      Re: Enemy of the 'State'?

      Ah, I see. Thanks Stan.


      • #4
        Re: Enemy of the 'State'?

        Isn't this behavior a bit weird? No error on the second CONSTANT reassignment but the value of X remains unchanged.
        CONSTANT X=1
        = 1
        ERROR: Attempt to assign to constant
        CONSTANT X=4
        = 1
        or this where there is no error on any reassignment but the values don't change.
        = 5
        = 5
        = 5


        • #5
          Re: Enemy of the 'State'?

          I totally agree Rob. It appears that implicit assignments such as X= 2 will generate an error, meaning that the designers of Alpha assumed the programmer 'forgot' that they had already assigned a CONSTANT variable X the value of 1.

          But if an assignment involves a keyword such as CONSTANT or GLOBAL_VARIABLES to an already declared variable they assmue the programmer is at least 'aware' that the variable is a constant and simply ignores the line in question.

          Very rude. :)

          But it should be looked at and the error reporting updated. Would anyone agree that this be reported as a bug?


          • #6
            Re: Enemy of the 'State'?

            I don't consider it a bug unless the behavior is different from the specs. Here, the help file description says:


            CONSTANT declares a constant variable. The constant variable’s value is set when the constant is declared. The value may never be changed. While a constant variable cannot be changed, it can be deleted.
            No bug.

            -- tom


            • #7
              Re: Enemy of the 'State'?

              If it throws an ERROR on an 'X=' assignment, then it should also throw an ERROR on a 'CONSTANT X=' reassignment. And if it throws an ERROR for local variables, then it certainly should throw an ERROR for global variables.

              This kind of sloppiness makes it more difficult to debug a program because you can end up with a line of code which looks ok but in fact does nothing. It's easy to accidentally reuse a variable or put in an extra assignment statement. The end result is a lot of frustration and time lost trying to debug the program. That can be avoided if Alpha gives you some useful warnings or errors.


              • #8
                Re: Enemy of the 'State'?

                This kind of sloppiness
                FWIW I agree that an error should occur....always nice when Alpha helps prevent us developers from being sloppy. :)
                It is only when we forget all our learning that we begin to know.
                It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.
                Henry David Thoreau


                • #9
                  Re: Enemy of the 'State'?

                  Rob, I agree. In my earlier post I inferred from your previous that you thought that the "bug" was the inability to dynamically alter the value stored in the constant. I see now that you're saying that the failure to trap the improper attempt to alter a constant should be reported as a bug, to which I agree. Have you submitted a formal bug report?