Drawbacks of Recursion and Caution

Recursion isn't the best way of writing code. If you are writing code recursively, you are probably putting on extra overhead. For example the factorial function could be easily written using a simple for loop. If the code is straight forward an iterative solution is likely faster. In some cases, recursive solutions are much slower. You should use recursion if and only if:

  1. the problem is naturally recursive (you can state it in terms of itself)
  2. a relatively straight forward iterative solution is not available.

Even if both conditions above are true, you still might want to consider alternatives. The reason is that recursion makes use of the run time stack. If you don't write code properly, your program can easily run out of stack space. You can also run out of stack space if you have a lot of data. You may wish to write it another way that doesn't involve recursion so that this doesn't happen. .

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