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1.6 Assignment

A variable is not explicitly declared or typed. Instead, its assigned value determines the variable type. In our example, the expression to the right of the assignment is syntactically an integer value, so the name 'a' is associated with a value of type long integer. It is permissible to reassign a variable with a value of different type. Once this is done, the name will reflect the type of its newly assigned value. Much more about types in Chapter 2.

Information.png Important: Dynamic typing combined with mutable variables is flexible but also dangerous. You can unintentionally change the type of a variable with a wayward assignment that might crash your program much later. Or you can inadvertently reuse a variable name and wipe out any data in the variable. An undetected typo can result in data being sent to a black hole. Be careful to enter variable names correctly.

Many traditional languages permit only a variable name to the left of an assignment. In q an assignment carries the value being assigned and can be used as part of a larger expression. So we find,


In the following example, the variable a is not referenced after it is assigned. Instead, the value of the assignment is propagated onward—i.e., to the left.


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Reprinted with the author's permission from: q for Mortals Version 3, An Introduction to Q Programming by Jeffry A. Borror.

The book is available on Amazon. In the United Kingdom, it is available at Amazon UK.

©2015 Jeffry A. Borror/ q4m LLC

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