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[perl #128678] Wish: 'hard assignment' operator

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Ed Avis
July 20, 2016 13:46
[perl #128678] Wish: 'hard assignment' operator
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# New Ticket Created by  "Ed Avis" 
# Please include the string:  [perl #128678]
# in the subject line of all future correspondence about this issue. 
# <URL: >

This is a bug report for perl from,
generated with the help of perlbug 1.40 running under perl 5.22.2.

[Please describe your issue here]

I don't know about you, but I find my code full of checks like this:

    foreach my $i (@items) {
        die "seen $_ twice" if defined $score{$i};
        $score{$i} = get_score($i);

(Here 'exists' could be more appropriate than 'defined' if the score
itself can be undef, but for the scope of this discussion I am
considering definedness.)

Or perhaps this:

    die if defined $x;
    $x = $y;

Or perhaps they can be written in a more 'topical' way as

    foreach my $i (@items) {
        for ($score{$i}) {
            die if defined;
            $_ = get_score($i);

That might be a bit faster, only doing the hash lookup once, but it is
still four lines of code when the key idea is the assignment.  The
'die' is intended to be an impossible condition, checked for to catch
bugs early, and to document the programmer's intention.

The wish is to have a 'hard assignment' operator which will set
something that's currently undefined, but die if it's already defined.
Suppose := is used (I am not suggesting that is the best syntax, it
is just for the sake of example).  Then

   foreach my $i (@items) {
       $score{$i} := get_score($i);

   $x := $y;

The addition of the // operator to the language simplified a lot of
code.  Things which needed two statements, or some careful dance with
'for', can now be written in a single statement which does the desired
error check with only a couple of extra keystrokes.  I believe that a
hard-assignment operator would be a similarly useful 'Huffman coding'.

[Please do not change anything below this line]
Site configuration information for perl 5.22.2:

Configured by Red Hat, Inc. at Thu Jul  7 13:04:52 UTC 2016.

Summary of my perl5 (revision 5 version 22 subversion 2) configuration:
    osname=linux, osvers=4.4.9-300.fc23.x86_64, archname=x86_64-linux-thread-multi
    uname='linux 4.4.9-300.fc23.x86_64 #1 smp wed may 4 23:56:27 utc 2016 x86_64 x86_64 x86_64 gnulinux '
    config_args='-des -Doptimize=none -Dccflags=-O2 -g -pipe -Wall -Werror=format-security -Wp,-D_FORTIFY_SOURCE=2 -fexceptions -fstack-protector-strong --param=ssp-buffer-size=4 -grecord-gcc-switches  -m64 -mtune=generic -Dldflags=-Wl,-z,relro  -Dccdlflags=-Wl,--enable-new-dtags -Wl,-z,relro  -Dlddlflags=-shared -Wl,-z,relro  -Dshrpdir=/usr/lib64 -DDEBUGGING=-g -Dversion=5.22.2 -Dmyhostname=localhost -Dperladmin=root@localhost -Dcc=gcc -Dcf_by=Red Hat, Inc. -Dprefix=/usr -Dvendorprefix=/usr -Dsiteprefix=/usr/local -Dsitelib=/usr/local/share/perl5 -Dsitearch=/usr/local/lib64/perl5 -Dprivlib=/usr/share/perl5 -Dvendorlib=/usr/share/perl5/vendor_perl -Darchlib=/usr/lib64/perl5 -Dvendorarch=/usr/lib64/perl5/vendor_perl -Darchname=x86_64-linux-thread-multi -Dlibpth=/usr/local/lib64 /lib64 /usr/lib64 -Duseshrplib -Dusethreads -Duseithreads -Dusedtrace=/usr/bin/dtrace -Duselargefiles -Dd_semctl_semun -Di_db -Ui_ndbm -Di_gdbm -Di_shadow -Di_syslog -Dman3ext=3pm -Duseperlio -Dinstallu
 srbinperl=n -Ubincompat5005 -Uversiononly -Dpager=/usr/bin/less -isr -Dd_gethostent_r_proto -Ud_endhostent_r_proto -Ud_sethostent_r_proto -Ud_endprotoent_r_proto -Ud_setprotoent_r_proto -Ud_endservent_r_proto -Ud_setservent_r_proto -Dscriptdir=/usr/bin -Dusesitecustomize'
    hint=recommended, useposix=true, d_sigaction=define
    useithreads=define, usemultiplicity=define
    use64bitint=define, use64bitall=define, uselongdouble=undef
    usemymalloc=n, bincompat5005=undef
    cc='gcc', ccflags ='-D_REENTRANT -D_GNU_SOURCE -O2 -g -pipe -Wall -Werror=format-security -Wp,-D_FORTIFY_SOURCE=2 -fexceptions -fstack-protector-strong --param=ssp-buffer-size=4 -grecord-gcc-switches -m64 -mtune=generic -fwrapv -fno-strict-aliasing -I/usr/local/include -D_LARGEFILE_SOURCE -D_FILE_OFFSET_BITS=64',
    optimize='  -g',
    cppflags='-D_REENTRANT -D_GNU_SOURCE -O2 -g -pipe -Wall -Werror=format-security -Wp,-D_FORTIFY_SOURCE=2 -fexceptions -fstack-protector-strong --param=ssp-buffer-size=4 -grecord-gcc-switches -m64 -mtune=generic -fwrapv -fno-strict-aliasing -I/usr/local/include'
    ccversion='', gccversion='5.3.1 20160406 (Red Hat 5.3.1-6)', gccosandvers=''
    intsize=4, longsize=8, ptrsize=8, doublesize=8, byteorder=12345678, doublekind=3
    d_longlong=define, longlongsize=8, d_longdbl=define, longdblsize=16, longdblkind=3
    ivtype='long', ivsize=8, nvtype='double', nvsize=8, Off_t='off_t', lseeksize=8
    alignbytes=8, prototype=define
  Linker and Libraries:
    ld='gcc', ldflags ='-Wl,-z,relro  -fstack-protector-strong -L/usr/local/lib'
    libpth=/usr/local/lib64 /lib64 /usr/lib64 /usr/local/lib /usr/lib /lib/../lib64 /usr/lib/../lib64 /lib
    libs=-lpthread -lresolv -lnsl -lgdbm -ldb -ldl -lm -lcrypt -lutil -lc -lgdbm_compat
    perllibs=-lpthread -lresolv -lnsl -ldl -lm -lcrypt -lutil -lc, so=so, useshrplib=true,
  Dynamic Linking:
    dlsrc=dl_dlopen.xs, dlext=so, d_dlsymun=undef, ccdlflags='-Wl,--enable-new-dtags -Wl,-z,relro '
    cccdlflags='-fPIC', lddlflags='-shared -Wl,-z,relro  -L/usr/local/lib -fstack-protector-strong'

Locally applied patches:
    Fedora Patch1: Removes date check, Fedora/RHEL specific
    Fedora Patch3: support for libdir64
    Fedora Patch4: use libresolv instead of libbind
    Fedora Patch5: USE_MM_LD_RUN_PATH
    Fedora Patch6: Skip hostname tests, due to builders not being network capable
    Fedora Patch7: Dont run one io test due to random builder failures
    Fedora Patch15: Define SONAME for
    Fedora Patch16: Install to -Dshrpdir value
    Fedora Patch22: Document Math::BigInt::CalcEmu requires Math::BigInt (CPAN RT#85015)
    Fedora Patch26: Make *DBM_File desctructors thread-safe (RT#61912)
    Fedora Patch27: Make PadlistNAMES() lvalue again (CPAN RT#101063)
    Fedora Patch28: Make magic vtable writable as a work-around for Coro (CPAN RT#101063)
    Fedora Patch29: Fix duplicating PerlIO::encoding when spawning threads (RT#31923)
    Fedora Patch30: Do not let XSLoader load relative paths (RT#115808)
    Fedora Patch200: Link XS modules to with EU::CBuilder on Linux
    Fedora Patch201: Link XS modules to with EU::MM on Linux

@INC for perl 5.22.2:

Environment for perl 5.22.2:
    LANGUAGE (unset)
    LD_LIBRARY_PATH (unset)
    LOGDIR (unset)
    PERL_BADLANG (unset)

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