What is print? A function?
roy at panix.com
Sun Jan 23 16:04:41 EST 2005
Frans Englich <frans.englich at telia.com> wrote:
> Nah, I don't think it's a function, but rather a builtin "statement". But
> it's possible to invoke it as an function; print( "test" ) works fine.
That's not calling it as a function. The parens in this case are simply
evaluated as grouping operators around the string literal.
> So I wonder, what _is_ exactly the print statement? The untraditional way of
> invoking it(without paranteses) makes me wonder.
It's a statement, just like "write" in Fortran. When C came around, the
idea of a language having no built-in print statement and having to call
a function to generate output was "untraditional". The function was
named "printf" (with an "f" at the end) to emphasize that it was a
function call, not a built-in language keyword. Java, and many other
quasi-C-based languages also use print functions, and this has become so
common that people have come to expect it. It's even a function in
Perl, although that language's devil-may-care attitude about punctuation
makes it difficult to tell for sure :-)
> The reason I thinks about this is I need to implement a debug print for my
> program; very simple, a function/print statement that conditionally prints
> its message whether a bool is true. Not overly complex.
You can certainly define a function which conditionally calls print, you
just can't call it "print", because that's a reserved word. But, before
you get too far down that path, you might want to explore the logging
module. It suffers from a bit of kitchen-sink syndrome, so it may be
more complicated than you want to deal with, but it's worth taking a
look at. You may discover that what you want to do is already done for
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