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Behavior changing optional arguments are bad
Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Dan Corkill has been talking to me about some of the philosophy behind the redesign of GBB in GBBopen. One of these is that "Behavior changing optional arguments are bad" because it's too easy to add or forget the argument and surprise yourself later. The compiler won't be able to tell you that something is amiss and the code will look okay but suddenly, things won't be as you remember them. Coincidentally enough, I came across a bug in GBBopen later that day that Dan tracked down to the only remaining optional argument in the source! I've haven't looked at my own code yet but know that I've never liked using optionals for things like find-class's errorp - I'm more comfortable with keyword arguments (even though they are putatively slightly slower). In any case, I'm going to look over my code base and see how I've actually been coding.


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