single exit point : Java Glossary

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single exit point
There is a school of thought that a method should have only one return statement. In general, this is a good idea. A return buried in a method disguises the program logic. However, some programmers sometimes take this notion to preposterous extremes. Some programmers will happily add 5 levels of nesting and add a couple of booleans to avoid having a second return statement. I think a return or two at the very beginning of a method to handle the various empty cases is perfectly legit and is not in the least confusing. If there are large numbers of returns, the logic is also clear. The danger is a sneaky return buried in the middle of the method.

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