Python While Loops

Introduction

Many times in programming, you will need to repeat the same task many times. In fact, looping through and repeating an operation is one of the cornerstones of programming. After all, one of the things that computers are way better than humans at is performing repetitive tasks without getting tired or making mistakes.

One of the simplest ways to make a program repeat the same task is to use a while loop. A while loop repeats the same block of code while a condition is true. When that condition becomes false, the loop will break, and the regular flow of code will resume.

The structure of a while loop is similar to what you encountered in the last guide with if. A while loop begins with the word while followed by parenthesis containing the condition of the loop and a colon. The following lines are indented and will execute in the loop.

Infinite While

Check out this while loop. Try it yourself in your interpreter to see exactly what it does. You might be somewhat surprised.

# Import time for sleep
import time

# While loop
while(True):
	print("looping...")
	time.sleep(2)

What happened? Rather, what is happening? If you haven’t figured out how to stop it yet, just press Ctrl+C. A while loop will run indefinitely as long as the condition that it is given remains True. The loop above was given True as its condition, which will never not be true.

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Python For Loops

Introduction

There is yet another type of loop. That loop is designed for iterating sets of data. That’s right, lists. Unlike while loops, these for loops have a defined length based on the data set that they are iterating over.

Generally, for loops are used to access and modify each element in a list. To do this, they temporarily represent each element as a new variable used only within the loop.

for loops have a slightly different structure than while loops do. They begin with the word for, which is followed by the temporary variable being created for the loop. Then there is the keyword in specifying the set of data being used, followed by the data set itself and, ultimately, a colon.

For With Range

There is a method called range() that either takes a single number and behaves like a list of numbers going from zero until the number before the one specified or takes two numbers separated by a comma and acts like a slice starting at the first number and listing all numbers until the number before the last one.

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Python Introduction and Installation Guide

Introduction

Python is a dynamically typed, interpreted, general purpose programming language. It’s useful for everything from system scripting, to web applications, to full graphical desktop programs. Because of that, it’s no surprise that demand for Python programming skills is only increasing, and top companies like Google, Mozilla, Instagram(Facebook), and Reddit rely on it as part of their core technology stack. Not only that, but Python is a favorite in both academic and scientific circles and is gaining ground in the financial sector. Top universities are even using it to teach programming in their computer science programs.

With all of that said, you’d probably be thinking that Python is something super difficult to learn and only accessible to the elite in the technology field, but you couldn’t be more wrong. Python is easy. Python is really easy. In fact, Python is one of the first languages used to teach children to program. Python was designed to be very clear and simple to understand. It reads like plain English, and its syntax makes use of spaces rather than brackets and semicolons, so it always looks clean and uncluttered. It’s very difficult, if not impossible, to wright messy Python. This helps out new programmers and programmers new to Python big time because you can always tell what you’re looking at, or at least, get a decent sense of what it does. This way, you can look at code examples from established open source projects to get an idea of what professional grade Python looks like and how it’s used.

Python and Linux work incredibly well together. It wasn’t all that long ago that Python supplanted Perl as the de facto scripting and “glue” language on Linux systems. This means that many scripts and utilities that ship with modern Linux systems are written in Python. As a result, most Linux distributions have Python installed by default, but there is a bit of a catch. There are two current versions of Python. Python 2.7.X and Python 3.X.X are both current. Syntactically, they are very similar, but Python 3 has some features that Python 2 doesn’t. That means that they are not entirely compatible and many distributions package them separately. So, your system may have Python 2, but not Python 3 or vice versa. This guide and the others in the series are going to cover Python 3. It is the future of Python, and it’s not so bad to go back to Python 2 after you’ve worked with Python 3.

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Python Dictionaries

Introduction

Somebody hit lists with gamma rays. Okay, so Dictionaries aren’t the Incredible Hulk, but they are supercharged in what they can do. In other languages, dictionaries are referred to as hashes, associative arrays, and associative lists. It’s probably best to think of them as associative lists because that’s exactly what they are. Dictionaries are lists that associate two values with one another. To think of it in terms of an actual dictionary, they associate a word, or key with a definition, or value. They function sort of like a list with custom indexes.

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Python Files and the Interpreter

Introduction

Python is an interpreted language, meaning that it is compiled every time that it is run. There are a number of pros and cons when talking about an interpreted language like this.

First, on a positive note, they tend to be easier to debug. They fail immediately when they are run, and tell you what went wrong, which is nice compared to compiled languages like C/C++, which can compile just fine, but fail silently when run.

Interpreted languages are also very portable. All you have to do is install the interpreter on a system, and most code written in that language can run fine, regardless of the operating system. There are some exceptions when dealing with operating system specific code and libraries, but if you’ve planned for portability, you can work around those situations.

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Python Advanced Dictionaries

Introduction

You’ve already gotten acquainted with dictionaries, but just like the other data structures Python supports, there are methods and more powerful ways to use them. There aren’t as many methods for working with dictionaries as there are for lists, but that’s because dictionaries just don’t need them. Plus, many of the ones that do exist, work to break down dictionaries into lists and tuples to make them easier to manage. So, those list methods can be used in conjunction with the dictionary ones to create an efficient machine for handling data.

Dictionary Methods

Items, Keys, and Values

These methods work to break down dictionaries into other data structures to make working with them much more manageable. Doing so also gives access to the methods of those data structures. Through these combinations of methods and loops, you can access and manipulate data with ease.

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How to obtain an user input with Python raw_input function example

The Python raw_input() function is used to read a string from standard input such as keyboard. This way a programmer is able to include user inserted data into a program. Let’s start with a simple example using python script to ask for an user name.

print "What is your name?"
name = raw_input()
print "Hello %s!" % name

First, we print string What is your name? telling the user what we expect him to input. Next, using the raw_input() function the standard input is assigned to a variable name. Lastly, we print the value of variable name to standard output.

$ python input.py 
What is your name?
Monty Python
Hello Monty Python!

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Check your GMAIL inbox for new emails with Bash script

In case you wish to automate your things with your gmail email. Here is a simple script on how to access your gmail account with bash script. Before you run the script make sure that curl command is available on your system as this script depends on it. The below script is a great way to quickly check your gmail inbox with a single command. Open your favorite text edit and create a bash script file with some arbitrary file name eg. check_email.sh

#!/bin/bash

username="USERNAME"
password="PASSWORD"
echo
curl -u $username:$password --silent "https://mail.google.com/mail/feed/atom" |  grep -oPm1 "(?<=<title>)[^<]+" | sed '1d'

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How to access and print command line arguments with Python

The following is an example on how to pass and access command line arguments which a Python script. Save the following python script to a file eg. python-arguments.py

from sys import argv

name, first, second, third, fourth = argv

print "Script name is:", name
print "Your first argument is:", first
print "Your second argument is:", second
print "Your third argument is:", third
print "Your fourth argument is:", fourth


# Alternatively we can access "argv" argument list directly using range. For exmaple:

# Print all arguments except script name
print argv[1:]

# Print second argument
print argv[2]

# Print second and third argument
print argv[2:4]

# Print last argument
print argv[-1]

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Extract all URLs using Beautiful Soup and Python3

The following link will extract all URL’s for a given web page.

#!/usr/bin/env python3

# Python Version:  3.4.2
# bs4 version: 4.3.2-2

from urllib.request import urlopen
from bs4 import BeautifulSoup

html = urlopen("http://gnu.org") # Insert your URL to extract
bsObj = BeautifulSoup(html.read());

for link in bsObj.find_all('a'):
    print(link.get('href'))

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How to fill all empty valued cells within a CSV file with sed and bash shell

The following bash script can be used to fill empty cells within a CSV file. We assume that your file is evenly distributed so that it contains same number of columns in each row separated by comma. If your file is TABseparated use a following linux command to convert it to comma separated value file before you proceed.
Example:

$ cat test 
1       2       4       4
2       3       3       3
$ sed 's/\t/,/g' test 
1,2,4,4
2,3,3,3
OR
$ cat test | tr '\t' ','
1,2,4,4
2,3,3,3

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Writing a C style bash for loop – example

If you are stubborn C programmer and wish to get your way when using BASH you will be happy to know that BASH offers C style syntax for writing for loops. Below you can find two examples of C style bash for loop:

Simple c-style bash for look with three iterations:

#!/bin/bash
MAX=3
for ((i=1; i <= MAX ; i++)) ; do
	echo "$i"
done

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