c# barcode maker Visual Basic Example of Using a Safety Counter to Prevent Infinite Recursion in Visual C#

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Visual Basic Example of Using a Safety Counter to Prevent Infinite Recursion
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Public Sub RecursiveProc( ByRef safetyCounter As Integer ) If ( safetyCounter > SAFETY_LIMIT ) Then Exit Sub End If safetyCounter = safetyCounter + 1 ... RecursiveProc( safetyCounter ) End Sub
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0 The recursive routine must be 1 able to change the value of safetyCounter, so in Visual Basic it s a ByRef parameter.
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In this case, if the routine exceeds the safety limit, it stops recursing. If you don t want to pass the safety counter as an explicit parameter, you could use a static variable in C++, Java, or Visual Basic, or the equivalent in other languages.
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Limit recursion to one routine Cyclic recursion (A calls B calls C calls A) is dangerous because it s hard to detect. Mentally managing recursion in one routine is tough enough; understanding recursion that spans routines is too much. If you have cyclic recursion, you can usually redesign the routines so that the recursion is restricted to a single routine. If you can t and you still think that recursion is the best approach, use safety counters as a recursive insurance policy. Keep an eye on the stack With recursion, you have no guarantees about how much stack space your program uses and it s hard to predict in advance how the program will behave at
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17. Unusual Control Structures
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run time. You can take a couple of steps to control its run-time behavior, however. First, if you use a safety counter, one of the considerations in setting a limit for it should be how much stack you re willing to allocate to the recursive routine. Set the safety limit low enough to prevent a stack overflow. Second, watch for allocation of local variables in recursive functions, especially memory-intensive objects. In other words, use new to create objects on the heap rather than letting the compiler create auto objects on the stack.
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Don t use recursion for factorials or Fibonacci numbers One problem with computer-science textbooks is that they present silly examples of recursion. The typical examples are computing a factorial or computing a Fibonacci sequence. Recursion is a powerful tool, and it s really dumb to use it in either of those cases. If a programmer who worked for me used recursion to compute a factorial, I d hire someone else. Here s the recursive version of the factorial routine:
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CODING HORROR
Java Example of an Inappropriate Solution: Using Recursion to Compute a Factorial
int Factorial( int number ) { if ( number == 1 ) { return 1; } else { return number * Factorial( number - 1 ); } }
In addition to being slow and making the use of run-time memory unpredictable, the recursive version of this routine is harder to understand than the iterative version. Here s the iterative version:
Java Example of an Appropriate Solution: Using Iteration to Compute a Factorial
int Factorial( int number ) { int intermediateResult = 1; for ( int factor = 2; factor <= number; factor++ ) { intermediateResult = intermediateResult * factor; } return intermediateResult; }
You can draw three lessons from this example. First, computer-science textbooks aren t doing the world any favors with their examples of recursion. Second, and
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17. Unusual Control Structures
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more important, recursion is a much more powerful tool than its confusing use in computing factorials or Fibonacci numbers would suggest. Third, and most important, you should consider alternatives to recursion before using it. You can do anything with stacks and iteration that you can do with recursion. Sometimes one approach works better; sometimes the other does. Consider both before you choose either one.
17.3 goto
You might think the debate related to gotos is extinct, but a quick trip through modern source-code repositories like SourceForge.net shows that the goto is still alive and well and living deep in your company s server. Moreover, modern equivalents of the goto debate still crop up in various guises including debates about multiple returns, multiple loop exits, named loop exits, error processing, and exception handling. Here s a summary of the points on each side of the goto debate.
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