Goto considered harmful

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This is not particularly relevant to higher level languages such as Java which do not have goto statements (note that in Java "goto" is a reserved keyword but is not used), but in low level languages such as Fortran and C goto statements are considered bad practice.

This is because, simply put, goto statements make the behaviour of a program harder to understand. To quote Dijkstra "...the quality of programmers is a decreasing function of the density of go to statements in the programs they produce." The harder a program is the understand, the harder it is to maintain.

The excessive use of goto statements can use to very convoluted code with a complicated flow of control. Such code is sometimes called Spaghetti code

In most cases where it becomes tempting to use a goto statement a more elegant solution is to break the method in question into several submethods.

See also


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