Reverse Assignment Operator in Programming Languages

By Gurudev
Dec 20, 2008

I came across this scenario more than a year back, and again today the same scenario is back, but no answers yet, and hence posting the same thoughts again While writing a piece of software I got this thought about a feature that could be provided in programming languages (at least I am not aware of any programming language which has this feature!)

Introduction

Usually when we want to assign a value of a variable a to another variable say b , then all we do is write somthing like this

b=a;

Now consider this case. Suppose we want to assign the value of variable a to b if c equals 1 OR else we want to assign d to b , then we write

if(c==1)
b=a;
else
b=d;

an easier way to write the above code would be to use a ternary operator as

b=(c==1?a:d);

The Problem: Ternary Denial!

Now consider another scenario, where we want to assign a to b if c equals 1 OR we want to assign a to e

Oops then we cant use the ternary operator, instead we have to fallback to our old friend if.. else as

if(c==1)
b=a;
else
e=a;

The Solution: Reverse Assignment Operator

Now wouldnt it be nice if this could be achieved using something like

a#(c==1?b:e);

where # is the reverse assignment operator which assigns LHS to RHS !

so here if c==1 then # would assign a to b else it would assign a to e !!!

Just some crazy thoughts while writing some crazy code • Simon

You can use a pointer :
type *d;
d = c==1? &b : &d;
*d = a

• Anonymous • sainath

Gurudev,
Seems old comments have been missed here ??

• Ramkumar Sivakumar

I have a trick except it takes an additional variable.

int dummy = c==1?b=a:(e=a);