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RE: [open-cobol-list] RE: Question About Functions

From: Roger While
Subject: RE: [open-cobol-list] RE: Question About Functions
Date: Wed May 11 00:10:40 2005

This is getting interesting. Had to dig through the 2002 standard -
**-- quote --**
8.7.1 Arithmetic operators
There are five binary arithmetic operators and two unary arithmetic operators that may be used in arithmetic expressions. They are represented by specific COBOL characters that shall be preceded by a space and followed by a space except that no space is required between a left parenthesis and a unary operator or between a unary operator and a left parenthesis. The following are the arithmetic operators:
Binary Arithmetic Operators Meaning
+ Addition
– Subtraction
* Multiplication
/ Division
** Exponentiation
Unary Arithmetic Operators Meaning
+ The effect of multiplication by the numeric literal +1
– The effect of multiplication by the numeric literal –1
**-- end quote --**

Specifically the second sentence. Interesting, spaces are required.
And now -
Referring to Table 4 on page 120 which details allowable combinations
of symbols in expressions:
If the first symbol is + - * / or **. then the second symbol can be an
identifier/literal OR a unary + -.

So, we can have (partial) (quotes inserted for readability) -
" + - 1".

This leads me to think that the 2002 standard maybe allows/specifies unparsable grammar. (Or at least forces one to sprinkle well-placed parentheses to achieve the result)
In fact, with regard to FUNCTION question, I can see potential problems.

Bill, can you comment on this ?


> Bill wrote :
And isn't that NON-conforming? Don't you need a "space" between the "-" and
"D" to make the minus an "binary operator"?

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