Linked by Bjorn Raupach on Thu 17th Jul 2008 06:01 UTC
Java Today was one of those days when I wished Java would support multiple return values. I had to develop a rather CPU-intensive algorithm which would compute a solution for a knotty constraint problem. Having a solution alone is sometimes not enough and you also need to add some parameters which measure the quality of the computed outcome. Most of these accompanying parameters can or have to be computed within the algorithm itself, but Java allows you to return only one value either an object or a primitive type. People working with Lisp, MATLAB or Perl, just to mention a few, don't have a problem like this at all. Functions supporting multiple return values is already implemented at the language level and frameworks make heavy use of this. But as a Java programmer you are pretty much stuck here and need to consider some other means to come out of this situation. In the following I would like to give some hints on that topic. Hopefully they are of help for anyone having the same problem every now and then.
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Java doesn't have data structs so it would have to be a class but the same concept works.

In fact it makes sense... if you're returning multiple values, they have a relationship. Chances are that that relationship will be studied elsewhere in the code. For instance other methods will take as input both of those pieces of data. Or there will be methods that specifically massage that data. What better place to put them than in this return value class? So in the end such a class almost always pays off by making code easier to read and more organized.

Edited 2008-07-17 18:31 UTC

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