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Python For Loops


Python For Loops

A for loop is used for iterating over a sequence (that is either a list, a tuple or a string).

This is less like the for keyword in other programming language, and works more like an iterator method as found in other object-orientated programming languages.

With the for loop we can execute a set of statements, once for each item in a list, tuple, set etc.

Example

Print each fruit in a fruit list:

fruits = ["apple", "banana", "cherry"]
for x in fruits:
  print(x)
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The for loop does not require an indexing variable to set beforehand, as the for command itself allows for this.


The break Statement

With the break statement we can stop the loop before it has looped through all the items:

Example

Exit the loop when x is "banana":

fruits = ["apple", "banana", "cherry"]
for x in fruits:
  if x == "banana":
    break
  print(x)
Run example »

The continue Statement

With the continue statement we can stop the current iteration of the loop, and continue with the next:

Example

Do not print banana:

fruits = ["apple", "banana", "cherry"]
for x in fruits:
  if x == "banana":
    continue
  print(x)
Run example »

The range() Function

To loop through a set of code a specified number of times, we can use the range() function,

The range() function returns a sequence of numbers, starting from 0 by default, and increments by 1 (by default), and ends at a specified number.

Example

Using the range() function:

for x in range(6):
  print(x)
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Note that range(6) is not the values of 0 to 6, but the values 0 to 5.

The range() function defaults to 0 as a starting value, however it is possible to specify the starting value by adding a parameter: range(2, 6), which means values from 2 to 6 (but not including 6):

Example

Using the start parameter:

for x in range(2, 6):
  print(x)
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The range() function defaults to increment the sequence by 1, however it is possible to specify the increment value by adding a third parameter: range(2, 30, 3):

Example

Increment the sequence with 3 (default is 1):

for x in range(2, 30, 3):
  print(x)
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Recursion

Python also accepts function recursion, which means a defined function can call itself.

Recursion is a common mathematical and programming concept. It means that a function calls itself. This has the benefit of meaning that you can loop through data to reach a result.

The developer should be very careful with recursion as it can be quite easy to slip into writing a function which never terminates, or one that uses excess amounts of memory or processor power. However, when written correctly recursion can be a very efficient and mathematically-elegant approach to programming.

In this example, tri_recursion() is a function that we have defined to call itself ("recurse"). We use the k variable as the data, which decrements (-1) every time we recurse. The recursion ends when the condition is not greater than 0 (i.e. when it is 0).

To a new developer it can take some time to work out how exactly this works, best way to find out is by testing and modifying it.

Example

Recursion Example

def tri_recursion(k):
  if(k>0):
    result = k+tri_recursion(k-1)
    print(result)
  else:
    result = 0
  return result

print("\n\nRecursion Example Results")
tri_recursion(6)
Run example »