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Progress While Learning Essay

4088 words - 17 pages

4. More Control Flow Tools
Besides the while statement just introduced, Python knows the usual control flow statements known from other languages, with some twists.
4.1. if Statements
Perhaps the most well-known statement type is the if statement. For example:
>>>
>>> x = int(input("Please enter an integer: "))
Please enter an integer: 42
>>> if x < 0:
... x = 0
... print('Negative changed to zero')
... elif x == 0:
... print('Zero')
... elif x == 1:
... print('Single')
... else:
... print('More')
...
More
There can be zero or more elif parts, and the else part is optional. The keyword ‘elif‘ is short ...view middle of the document...

... if len(w) > 6:
... words.insert(0, w)
...
>>> words
['defenestrate', 'cat', 'window', 'defenestrate']
4.3. The range() Function
If you do need to iterate over a sequence of numbers, the built-in function range() comes in handy. It generates arithmetic progressions:
>>>
>>> for i in range(5):
... print(i)
...
0
1
2
3
4
The given end point is never part of the generated sequence; range(10) generates 10 values, the legal indices for items of a sequence of length 10. It is possible to let the range start at another number, or to specify a different increment (even negative; sometimes this is called the ‘step’):
range(5, 10)
5 through 9
range(0, 10, 3)
0, 3, 6, 9
range(-10, -100, -30)
-10, -40, -70
To iterate over the indices of a sequence, you can combine range() and len() as follows:
>>>
>>> a = ['Mary', 'had', 'a', 'little', 'lamb']
>>> for i in range(len(a)):
... print(i, a[i])
...
0 Mary
1 had
2 a
3 little
4 lamb
In most such cases, however, it is convenient to use the enumerate() function, see Looping Techniques.
A strange thing happens if you just print a range:
>>>
>>> print(range(10))
range(0, 10)
In many ways the object returned by range() behaves as if it is a list, but in fact it isn’t. It is an object which returns the successive items of the desired sequence when you iterate over it, but it doesn’t really make the list, thus saving space.
We say such an object is iterable, that is, suitable as a target for functions and constructs that expect something from which they can obtain successive items until the supply is exhausted. We have seen that the for statement is such an iterator. The function list() is another; it creates lists from iterables:
>>>
>>> list(range(5))
[0, 1, 2, 3, 4]
Later we will see more functions that return iterables and take iterables as argument.
4.4. break and continue Statements, and else Clauses on Loops
The break statement, like in C, breaks out of the smallest enclosing for or while loop.
Loop statements may have an else clause; it is executed when the loop terminates through exhaustion of the list (with for) or when the condition becomes false (with while), but not when the loop is terminated by a break statement. This is exemplified by the following loop, which searches for prime numbers:
>>>
>>> for n in range(2, 10):
... for x in range(2, n):
... if n % x == 0:
... print(n, 'equals', x, '*', n//x)
... break
... else:
... # loop fell through without finding a factor
... print(n, 'is a prime number')
...
2 is a prime number
3 is a prime number
4 equals 2 * 2
5 is a prime number
6 equals 2 * 3
7 is a prime number
8 equals 2 * 4
9 equals 3 * 3
(Yes, this is the correct code. Look closely:...

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