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What Is an Anonymous Block?

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  • Written By: Alex Newth
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 01 November 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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An anonymous block, an element used in many different programming languages, is a block of code that has no name. The block cannot be named, so it cannot be referenced in other parts of the code, nor can it reference any other sections. The functions this block can create can be either limited or unlimited, depending on the programming language, because some allow this block to activate advanced functions, while others just allow simple commands. The coding required to make anonymous blocks is about the same as for any other coding block, except for a small declaration at the beginning of the block.

In programming, a block is a section of code that is treated like one whole package; the entire block is like a single entity composed of many lines of code. These blocks normally have distinctive names, but not the anonymous block. While this block looks similar in nature to other blocks, it has no name. The primary reason programmers use this block is because it requires only a simple declaration, so it allows the programmer to type an action code without having to do much work setting up the block itself.

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One of the biggest problems with using an anonymous block is that it cannot reference other blocks, nor can the block itself be referenced. Referencing is when one block calls another, virtually adding the called block’s functions into the block doing the calling. This helps to cut down on coding, because the programmer just needs to make an action once, after which he or she can continuously reference it — in non-anonymous blocks. Without a name, the programmer cannot tell the program to reference an anonymous block.

There are many programming languages that allow programmers to make an anonymous block, but the amount of power this block is given depends on the language. Some languages allow the block to have unlimited power, which means it can activate functions, commands, actions and everything any other block can. If the power is limited, then this block can only activate simple actions such as counting to a number.

The coding of an anonymous block is usually similar to that of other blocks. One of the biggest differences is the lack of any complex block declaration, which is needed to make other blocks work; the only declaration that is needed is commonly calling the block “anonymous”, which takes very little code. The syntax of the block also is simplified when compared to other blocks.

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