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For 2021 - online Python 3 training - see ((here)).

Our plans were to retire in summer 2020 and see the world, but Coronavirus has lead us into a lot of lockdown programming in Python 3 and PHP 7.
We can now offer tailored online training - small groups, real tutors - works really well for groups of 4 to 14 delegates. Anywhere in the world; course language English.

Please ask about private 'maintenance' training for Python 2, Tcl, Perl, PHP, Lua, etc.
Finding the total, average, minimum and maximum in a program

There are a number of programming techniques which the experienced coder takes for granted, but which aren't necessarily intuitive for the newcomer. Call them "design techniques" or "design patterns" that need to be learned, if you want some fashionable buzzwords.

• To produce the sum of a stream / flow / collection of values, initialise a variable to zero, loop through each of the values adding it into that variable, and when you reach the end of the loop the variable contains the total.

• To produce the average of a stream / flow / collection of values, write a loop just as you did to calculate the total. In a addition, start a second variable (a counter) at 0 and add 1 to each each time to add a value to your running total variable. When you have completed the loop, divide the total by the number of values that made up that total. If you are counting integers (whole numbers), remember that your average might not be a whole number and so you'll need to convert to a real / floating point number to get an accurate average.

• To find the smallest of a stream / flow / collection of values, write a loop to go through all of those values. The first time through the loop, set a variable which is the minimum so far to the first value. On subsequent times through the loop, compare the minimum value (so far) with the incoming value, and save the incoming value as the minimum value (so far) if it's the smaller. When you reach the end of the loop, you have the minimum value.

• To find the largest of a stream / flow / collection, use the same principle as you used for the minimum, but check to see if the incoming value is great and if it is, save it as the maximum so far.

Newcomers are often tempted to start loops to find the maximum value at zero to avoid the first time check in the loop. Don't do that!. If you have a file of the temperatures in Spitzbergen, where it never gets above zero in winter, you'll end up with a result that tells you the maximum was zero, rather than the chilly -5.4 which happened to be the least negative of all the numbers in the incoming data.

There's an example of each of these algorithms, implemented within the same program in Ruby [here] on our web site - from yesterday's Learning to Program in Ruby class.

update, October 2012 - An example [here] from yesterday's Python course
(written 2012-02-22, updated 2012-10-08)

 
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
Y103 - Python - Conditionals and Loops
  [299] What - no switch or case statement? - (2005-05-03)
  [353] Wimbledon Neck - (2005-06-20)
  [657] The ternary operator in Python - (2006-03-25)
  [668] Python - block insets help with documentation - (2006-04-04)
  [788] New - Conditional expressions in Python 2.5 - (2006-07-01)
  [835] Python - when to use the in operator - (2006-08-16)
  [909] Python is like a narrowboat - (2006-10-30)
  [1201] No switch in Python - (2007-05-23)
  [1477] Decisions - small ones, or big ones? - (2007-12-18)
  [1661] Equality, sameness and identity - Python - (2008-05-31)
  [1696] Saying NOT in Perl, PHP, Python, Lua ... - (2008-07-04)
  [2778] Learning to program in Python 2 ... and / or in Python 3 - (2010-05-24)
  [2899] Groupsave tickets - 3 or 4 train tickets for the price of 2 - (2010-08-02)
  [3083] Python - fresh examples from recent courses - (2010-12-11)
  [3200] How a for loop works Java, Perl and other languages - (2011-03-12)
  [3397] Does a for loop evaluate its end condition once, or on every iteration? - (2011-08-18)
  [3439] Python for loops - applying a temporary second name to the same object - (2011-09-14)
  [3558] Python or Lua - which should I use / learn? - (2011-12-21)
  [3762] Learning to program - the if statement. Python. - (2012-06-12)
  [3895] Flowchart to program - learning to program with Well House - (2012-10-14)
  [4092] Identity in Python - (2013-05-17)
  [4210] If elif elif elif - multiway selection in Python - (2013-11-16)
  [4322] Learning to Program - the conditional statement (if) - (2014-11-21)
  [4323] Learning to program - Loop statements such as while - (2014-11-22)
  [4402] Finding sum, minimum, maximum and average in Python (and Ruby) - (2015-01-19)
  [4541] Setting up and tearing down with the Python with keyword - (2015-10-16)
  [4545] Method, Class, Module, Package - how to they relate in Python? - (2015-10-17)
  [4713] Equality (in Python) - (2016-10-30)
  [4723] Conditional operators in Python - (2016-11-05)

R104 - Ruby - Control Structures
  [960] 1st, 2nd, 3rd revisited in Ruby - (2006-12-02)
  [962] Breaking a loop - Ruby and other languages - (2006-12-03)
  [985] Equality in Ruby - == eql? and equal? - (2006-12-14)
  [995] Ruby's case - no break - (2006-12-17)
  [1163] A better alternative to cutting and pasting code - (2007-04-26)
  [1220] for loop - how it works (Perl, PHP, Java, C, etc) - (2007-06-06)
  [1582] Ruby, C, Java and more - getting out of loops - (2008-03-19)
  [1587] Some Ruby programming examples from our course - (2008-03-21)
  [1738] Clean code, jump free (Example in Lua) - (2008-08-06)
  [1870] What to do with a huge crop of apples - (2008-11-04)
  [1887] Ruby Programming Course - Saturday and Sunday - (2008-11-16)
  [1891] Ruby to access web services - (2008-11-16)
  [1904] Ruby, Perl, Linux, MySQL - some training notes - (2008-11-23)
  [2287] Learning to program in Ruby - examples of the programming basics - (2009-07-15)
  [2471] A short form of if ... then ... else - (2009-10-23)
  [2619] Passing code to procedures and yield in Ruby - (2010-02-02)
  [2711] For loop - checked once, or evety time? Ruby v Perl comparison and contrast - (2010-04-07)
  [2892] Alternative loops and conditionals in Ruby and Perl - (2010-07-28)
  [2975] Why do I need brackets in Ruby ... or Perl, Python, C or Java - (2010-09-29)
  [3156] Splitting data reading code from data processing code - Ruby - (2011-02-04)
  [3158] Ruby training - some fresh examples for string handling applications - (2011-02-05)
  [3159] Returning multiple values from a function call in various languages - a comparison - (2011-02-06)
  [3253] Is this number between? Does this list include? - Ruby - (2011-04-18)
  [3254] Multiple inputs, multiple out, ruby functions - (2011-04-19)
  [3422] Assigning values to variables within other statements - Ruby - (2011-09-07)
  [3619] Ruby v Perl - a comparison example - (2012-02-21)
  [3769] Muttable v immutable and implications - Ruby - (2012-06-20)
  [4370] Conditionals, loops and methods in Ruby - a primer with simple examples - (2014-12-29)
  [4503] Separating your code for easier testing, understanding and re-use; example in Ruby - (2015-06-02)
  [4504] Where does Ruby load modules from, and how to load from current directory - (2015-06-03)
  [4674] Alternating valuses / flip-flop / toggle - example in Ruby - (2016-05-17)

Q110 - Object Orientation and General technical topics - Programming Algorithms
  [202] Searching for numbers - (2005-02-04)
  [227] Bellringing and Programming and Objects and Perl - (2005-02-25)
  [642] How similar are two words - (2006-03-11)
  [1157] Speed Networking - a great evening and how we arranged it - (2007-04-21)
  [1187] Updating a page strictly every minute (PHP, Perl) - (2007-05-14)
  [1391] Ordnance Survey Grid Reference to Latitude / Longitude - (2007-10-14)
  [1840] Validating Credit Card Numbers - (2008-10-14)
  [1949] Nuclear Physics comes to our web site - (2008-12-17)
  [2189] Matching disparate referencing systems (MediaWiki, PHP, also Tcl) - (2009-05-19)
  [2259] Grouping rows for a summary report - MySQL and PHP - (2009-06-27)
  [2509] A life lesson from the accuracy of numbers in Excel and Lua - (2009-11-21)
  [2586] And and Or illustrated by locks - (2010-01-17)
  [2617] Comparing floating point numbers - a word of caution and a solution - (2010-02-01)
  [2894] Sorting people by their names - (2010-07-29)
  [2951] Lots of way of converting 3 letter month abbreviations to numbers - (2010-09-10)
  [2993] Arrays v Lists - what is the difference, why use one or the other - (2010-10-10)
  [3042] Least Common Ancestor - what is it, and a Least Common Ancestor algorithm implemented in Perl - (2010-11-11)
  [3072] Finding elements common to many lists / arrays - (2010-11-26)
  [3093] How many toilet rolls - hotel inventory and useage - (2010-12-18)
  [3102] AND and OR operators - what is the difference between logical and bitwise varieties? - (2010-12-24)
  [3451] Why would you want to use a Perl hash? - (2011-09-20)
  [3662] Finding all the unique lines in a file, using Python or Perl - (2012-03-20)
  [4325] Learning to program - what are algorithms and design patterns? - (2014-11-22)
  [4401] Selecting RECENT and POPULAR news and trends for your web site users - (2015-01-19)
  [4410] A good example of recursion - a real use in Python - (2015-02-01)
  [4652] Testing new algorithms in PHP - (2016-02-20)
  [4656] Identifying the first and last records in a sequence - (2016-02-26)
  [4707] Some gems from an introduction to Python - (2016-10-29)


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Matching regular expressions, and substitutions, in Ruby
Some other Articles
Why do we need a Model, View, Controller architecture?
Some TestWise examples - helping use Ruby code to check your web site operation
Loading Ruby classes - where does Ruby look?
Matching regular expressions, and substitutions, in Ruby
Finding the total, average, minimum and maximum in a program
lists and struct::list in Tcl - Introduction to struct::list and examples
The fileutil package and a list of file system commands in Tcl
Bus top - colours of London
Historic documents for 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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