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For 2023 (and 2024 ...) - we are now fully retired from IT training.
We have made many, many friends over 25 years of teaching about Python, Tcl, Perl, PHP, Lua, Java, C and C++ - and MySQL, Linux and Solaris/SunOS too. Our training notes are now very much out of date, but due to upward compatability most of our examples remain operational and even relevant ad you are welcome to make us if them "as seen" and at your own risk.

Lisa and I (Graham) now live in what was our training centre in Melksham - happy to meet with former delegates here - but do check ahead before coming round. We are far from inactive - rather, enjoying the times that we are retired but still healthy enough in mind and body to be active!

I am also active in many other area and still look after a lot of web sites - you can find an index ((here))
Creating and iterating through Python lists

In Python, you create lists by putting a series of values in square brackets - and the program creates a list with that number of elements. You can change an element by referring to the element by number in square brackets, remembering that Python starts counting at 0. Unlike Perl, you can't extend a list simply by referring to a number above the current range (very prone to programming errors), but you can use the append or extend methods to add extra elements on the end (flexible, whilst encouraging good coding practise).

places = ["London","Melksham","Farnborough"]
places[1] = "A Beautiful old town in Wiltshire"
# Use the append method to extend a list

When you want to iterate through all the elements of a list, there are a number of ways of doing so and the most straightforward is for loop as follows ... although in this case you don't even get the index number, so if the position of each value is important you'll want to use one of the following alternatives.

# Quick and easy - but unable to get at posn no
for place in places:
   print place

You can list individual places and loop through positions numbers - but that isn't extensible. Better to use a range function to get a list of position numbers of (in the case of a long list) xrange which is an iterator - returning one value at a time and not stuffing memory with a large intermediate list.

# Not extensible
for posn in [0,1,2]:
   print posn,places[posn]
# Extensible BUT intermediate list may get long
for posn in range(len(places)):
   print posn,places[posn]
# Extensible and uses an iterator
for posn in xrange(len(places)):
   print posn,places[posn]

Python 3 (actually 3.1) has now been released, and in Python 3 there are some slight syntax changes. print is now a function so you would add brackets around the parameters, and you would always use range rather than xrange as it will automatically convert to an iterator for you.

Why am I still using a Python 2 example? Because the recommended upgrade route is to keep maintaining code in Python 2 until all the platforms that you run on have been converted, using the automated converter while you are supporting both. And because most of the delegates on our Leaning to program in Python and Python Programming courses are following that approach. We have both versions available during the course, and we ensure that delegates leave with a knowledge of the conversion process without switching back and forth all through the course and leading to confusion.

The example above is taken from the Python course I am running this weekend - more normally, the course runs during the week, with the next available dates in mid August. As one of the delegates who is booked on that next course wrote about our update strategy "Aha, perfect ... I was told that I should concentrate on python 2.x as python 3.x has an awful lot of changes and all our existing scripts would have to be updated."
(written 2009-07-12)

Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
Y104 - Python - Lists and Tuples
  [383] Overloading of operators on standard objects in Python - (2005-07-19)
  [657] The ternary operator in Python - (2006-03-25)
  [899] Python - extend v append on a list - (2006-10-20)
  [955] Python collections - mutable and imutable - (2006-11-29)
  [1220] for loop - how it works (Perl, PHP, Java, C, etc) - (2007-06-06)
  [1641] Tektronix 4010 series / Python Tuples - (2008-05-13)
  [1789] Looking for a value in a list - Python - (2008-09-08)
  [2284] Strings as collections in Python - (2009-07-12)
  [2368] Python - fresh examples of all the fundamentals - (2009-08-20)
  [2719] Traffic lights in Python - (2010-04-13)
  [2996] Copying - duplicating data, or just adding a name? Perl and Python compared - (2010-10-12)
  [3118] Arrays of arrays - or 2D arrays. How to program tables. - (2011-01-02)
  [3181] Beware - a=a+b and a+=b are different - Python - (2011-02-23)
  [3257] All possible combinations from a list (Python) or array (Ruby) - (2011-04-23)
  [3348] List slices in Python - 2 and 3 values forms, with an uplifting example - (2011-07-06)
  [3669] Stepping through a list (or an array) in reverse order - (2012-03-23)
  [3763] Spike solutions and refactoring - a Python example - (2012-06-13)
  [4027] Collections in Python - list tuple dict and string. - (2013-03-04)
  [4368] Shuffling a list - Ruby and Python - (2014-12-28)
  [4722] Embedding more complex code into a named block - (2016-11-04)

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Python - using exceptions to set a fallback
Some other Articles
Everyone is in the customer relations business
Checking robots.txt from Python
Python - using exceptions to set a fallback
Creating and iterating through Python lists
Understanding the new local government structure in Wiltshire
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This is a page archived from The Horse's Mouth at http://www.wellho.net/horse/ - the diary and writings of Graham Ellis. Every attempt was made to provide current information at the time the page was written, but things do move forward in our business - new software releases, price changes, new techniques. Please check back via our main site for current courses, prices, versions, etc - any mention of a price in "The Horse's Mouth" cannot be taken as an offer to supply at that price.

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