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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.
Do not duplicate your code

If you've writing or maintaining a program and you find yourself cutting and pasting a chunk of code, STOP and think again.

By duplicating a block of code, you're duplicating your maintainance task from that point onwards - any fixes applied to the original much be applied to the copy too. And that's going to be very inefficient in time as you duplicate the duplicate and end up with a whole shed load of copies. There IS a better way!

Take the code that you would be duplicating, and put it somewhere separate. Give it a name (i.e. make it a named block of code) and call it up by name from both its original location, and from the location that you would have put the copy into. All modern languages support named blocks of code in this way:
• In Perl, they're known as subs which is short for subroutines
• In many other languages, they're known as functions or methods or macros
• In Tcl, they're known as procs which is short for procedures

"But I want to make a couple of changes to the block of code that I was going to duplicate" you might say. That's NOT a problem. The bits that you would change in the duplicated code are the bits that you'll pass in to your sub / function / method / procedure as parameters, and if you also change the variable that the result is going to be put into, that's the immediate clue as to what you'll be returning.

Where you want to share a named block of code between several programs, you can do so too. That's done through commands / calls such as import (Python, Java), source (Tcl), require (Perl, PHP), use (Perl), from (Python) and include (PHP). In C and C++, functions work across programs in a slightly different way - rather than including the reference in the source, you'll bring in prototypes in the source and then the full code in your link loader. But that's a story for another day ...
(written 2006-06-23, updated 2006-06-30)

 
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articles
Y105 - Python - Functions, Modules and Packages
  [96] Variable Scope - (2004-10-22)
  [105] Distance Learning - (2004-10-31)
  [294] Python generator functions, lambdas, and iterators - (2005-04-28)
  [303] Lambdas in Python - (2005-05-06)
  [308] Call by name v call by value - (2005-05-11)
  [340] Code and code maintainance efficiency - (2005-06-08)
  [386] What is a callback? - (2005-07-22)
  [418] Difference between import and from in Python - (2005-08-18)
  [561] Python's Generator functions - (2006-01-11)
  [668] Python - block insets help with documentation - (2006-04-04)
  [745] Python modules. The distribution, The Cheese Shop and the Vaults of Parnassus. - (2006-06-05)
  [749] Cottage industry or production line data handling methods - (2006-06-07)
  [821] Dynamic functions and names - Python - (2006-08-03)
  [900] Python - function v method - (2006-10-20)
  [912] Recursion in Python - (2006-11-02)
  [913] Python - A list of methods - (2006-11-03)
  [949] Sludge off the mountain, and Python and PHP - (2006-11-27)
  [959] It's the 1st, not the 1nd 1rd or 1th. - (2006-12-01)
  [1134] Function / method parameters with * and ** in Python - (2007-04-04)
  [1163] A better alternative to cutting and pasting code - (2007-04-26)
  [1202] Returning multiple values from a function (Perl, PHP, Python) - (2007-05-24)
  [1464] Python Script - easy examples of lots of basics - (2007-12-08)
  [1784] Global - Tcl, PHP, Python - (2008-09-03)
  [1790] Sharing variables with functions, but keeping them local too - Python - (2008-09-09)
  [1869] Anonymous functions (lambdas) and map in Python - (2008-11-04)
  [1870] What to do with a huge crop of apples - (2008-11-04)
  [1871] Optional and named parameters in Python - (2008-11-05)
  [1879] Dynamic code - Python - (2008-11-11)
  [2011] Conversion of OSI grid references to Eastings and Northings - (2009-01-28)
  [2439] Multiple returns from a function in Python - (2009-10-06)
  [2440] Optional parameters to Python functions - (2009-10-07)
  [2481] Sample code with errors in it on our web site - (2009-10-29)
  [2506] Good example of recursion in Python - analyse an RSS feed - (2009-11-18)
  [2520] Global and Enable - two misused words! - (2009-11-30)
  [2718] Python - access to variables in the outer scope - (2010-04-12)
  [2766] Optional and named parameters to Python functions/methods - (2010-05-15)
  [2878] Program for reliability and efficiency - do not duplicate, but rather share and re-use - (2010-07-19)
  [2929] Passing a variable number of parameters in to a function / method - (2010-08-20)
  [2994] Python - some common questions answered in code examples - (2010-10-10)
  [2998] Using an exception to initialise a static variable in a Python function / method - (2010-10-13)
  [3159] Returning multiple values from a function call in various languages - a comparison - (2011-02-06)
  [3280] Passing parameters to Python functions - the options you have - (2011-05-07)
  [3459] Catching the fishes first? - (2011-09-27)
  [3464] Passing optional and named parameters to python methods - (2011-10-04)
  [3472] Static variables in functions - and better ways using objects - (2011-10-10)
  [3474] Python Packages - groupings of modules. An introduction - (2011-10-11)
  [3662] Finding all the unique lines in a file, using Python or Perl - (2012-03-20)
  [3695] Functions are first class variables in Lua and Python - (2012-04-13)
  [3766] Python timing - when to use a list, and when to use a generator - (2012-06-16)
  [3852] Static variables in Python? - (2012-08-29)
  [3885] Default local - a good choice by the author of Python - (2012-10-08)
  [3931] Optional positional and named parameters in Python - (2012-11-23)
  [3945] vargs in Python - how to call a method with unknown number of parameters - (2012-12-06)
  [4029] Exception, Lambda, Generator, Slice, Dict - examples in one Python program - (2013-03-04)
  [4161] Python varables - checking existance, and call by name or by value? - (2013-08-27)
  [4212] Python functions - an introduction to how they work - (2013-11-16)
  [4361] Multiple yields and no loops in a Python generator? - (2014-12-22)
  [4407] Python - even named code blocks are objects - (2015-01-28)
  [4410] A good example of recursion - a real use in Python - (2015-02-01)
  [4441] Reading command line parameters in Python - (2015-02-23)
  [4448] What is the difference between a function and a method? - (2015-03-04)
  [4645] What are callbacks? Why use them? An example in Python - (2016-02-11)
  [4662] Recursion in Python - the classic example - (2016-03-07)
  [4719] Nesting decorators - (2016-11-02)
  [4722] Embedding more complex code into a named block - (2016-11-04)
  [4724] From and Import in Python - where is the module loaded from? - (2016-11-06)

T207 - Tcl/Tk - Procedures and Variable Scope
  [122] Passing arrays to procs in Tcl - (2004-11-18)
  [409] Functions and commands with dangerous names - (2005-08-11)
  [1404] Tcl - global, upvar and uplevel. - (2007-10-24)
  [1782] Calling procs in Tcl and how it compares to Perl - (2008-09-02)
  [2466] Tcl - passing arrays and strings in and back out of procs - (2009-10-22)
  [2476] Tcl - uplevel to run code at calling level - (2009-10-24)
  [3192] Tcl - Some example of HOW TO in handling data files and formats - (2011-03-04)
  [3414] Passing back multiple results in Tcl - upvar and uplevel - (2011-09-01)
  [3629] Sharing lots of values in Tcl without having lots of global declarations - (2012-02-28)
  [4398] Accessing variables across subroutine boundaries - Perl, Python, Java and Tcl - (2015-01-18)

P209 - Subroutines in Perl
  [357] Where do Perl modules load from - (2005-06-24)
  [531] Packages in packages in Perl - (2005-12-16)
  [588] Changing @INC - where Perl loads its modules - (2006-02-02)
  [969] Perl - $_ and @_ - (2006-12-07)
  [1826] Perl - Subs, Chop v Chomp, => v , - (2008-10-08)
  [1850] Daisy the Cow and a Pint of Ginger Beer - (2008-10-21)
  [1860] Seven new intermediate Perl examples - (2008-10-30)
  [1921] Romeo and Julie - (2008-12-04)
  [2069] Efficient calls to subs in Perl - avoid duplication, gain speed - (2009-03-07)
  [2550] Do not copy and paste code - there are much better ways - (2009-12-26)
  [2833] Fresh Perl Teaching Examples - part 2 of 3 - (2010-06-27)
  [3066] Separating groups of variables into namespaces - (2010-11-24)
  [3574] Perl functions such as chop change their input parameters - (2012-01-10)
  [3833] Learning to use existing classes in Perl - (2012-08-10)

H105 - PHP - Functions
  [223] There is a function in PHP to do that - (2005-02-21)
  [339] Passing information into and out of PHP functions - (2005-06-07)
  [421] Don't repeat code - use loops or functions - (2005-08-21)
  [866] A lazy programmer is a good programmer - (2006-09-15)
  [936] Global, Superglobal, Session variables - scope and persistance in PHP - (2006-11-21)
  [1021] PHP - static declaration - (2007-01-04)
  [1267] is there a lookup function in php? - (2007-07-15)
  [1357] Clean my plate, but keep my wine bottle. (PHP; Static) - (2007-09-18)
  [1380] Static variables in PHP - (2007-10-05)
  [2488] A variable number of arguments in a PHP function - (2009-11-02)
  [2630] Static variables and ampersands in PHP - (2010-02-10)
  [2682] Adding extensions to PHP Open Source applications - callbacks - (2010-03-17)
  [2737] Improving your function calls (APIs) - General and PHP - (2010-04-24)
  [3026] Coding efficiency - do not repeat yourself! - (2010-11-02)

C204 - C and C based languages - Functions, Macros and programs in multiple files
  [1478] Some new C programming examples - files, structs, unions etc - (2007-12-19)
  [2570] Function Prototypes in C - (2010-01-11)
  [2575] Sharing variables between files of code in C - extern - (2010-01-14)
  [2841] C Course exercise and sample answer - source in 2 files - (2010-06-30)
  [3237] Using functions to keep look and feel apart from calculations - simple C example - (2011-04-09)
  [3717] Returning extra results from a function in C - (2012-05-03)
  [3721] Naming blocks of code, structures and Object Orientation - efficient coding in manageable chunks - (2012-05-06)
  [4338] Passing arrays into functions in C - (2014-12-02)
  [4554] Passing information into functions in C - by name, by value - (2015-10-26)
  [4555] Preprocessor directives in C and C++ - what they mean - (2015-10-27)
  [4557] Function prototype - what they are and why you should use them - C and C++ - (2015-10-27)


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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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