Python Diaries Chapter 4

  Divyanshu Bansal  |    July 10, 2018

I'm assuming that you know basics of Python. If not, I would recommend you to read **Python Diaries 1**, **Python Diaries 2**, and **Python Diaries 3** because some concepts used here are already discussed there. ## What is a function? A function is a block of organized, reusable code that is used to perform a single, related action. Functions provide better modularity for your application and a high degree of code reusing. On **google**ing "what is function in programming", you will get the above answer. It aptly defines what a function is. Let us look further into it. black A function is just like a black box which takes some input, processes it and gives an output. Now, as we are coders, we will make the black box ourselves. ``` def name_of_function(arguments_separated_by_comma): your code/logic return whatever_you_want_to # returning is not necessary ``` Here is an example of function in Python. Note- Indent all lines of code you want in the function 4 spaces. Example ``` def sum_of_numbers(a,b): c = a + b return c print sum_of_numbers(2,3) ``` ``` Output --> 5 ``` Generally, a function consists of three parts, namely: 1.Input 2.Code/Logic 3.Output Now, we will discuss each of them one by one. ### Input Input is nothing but the data on which function will do some processing to get the desired output. Input can be given to function through parameters/arguments or global variables or memory location. In the above example function sum_of_numbers, we are passing the input through variables a and b. Here a and b are parameters. We will discuss other methods of input in upcoming examples. Summary of Input Three ways to input data -: 1.Parameters/arguments 2.Global variables 3.Memory location ### Code/Logic It is a group of statements written together to perform a particular task defined by the programmer Whatever Logical statements you write inside your function is your code. It is the algorithm (written by you) which performs some logical operation on the input. In function **sum_of_numbers**, our logic part consist of a single statement which performs addition of numbers a and b. > Logic/code depends on requirement of user. It may range to several > hundred lines. ### Output It is the data sent out by the function (black box). If we have performed some processing on an input, we must be willing to get some output. Though sometimes output is not directly visible but something may have changed behind the screen (internally). A function can output data by **return** statement or by modifying the value stored at a memory location directly or we can directly print the value from inside the function. If we are not getting some output then there is no meaning of a function (exceptions are always there!). Note-> Writing **return** statement is required only when you are returning something directly i.e. returning some array or variable etc. Let us look at all of above properties of function (and some others too) through the following examples. Before that, let's summarize Output. Summary of Output -> Three ways to output data -: 1.Return Statement 2.Modify data at some Memory Location 3.Print statement ### Scope of variables Any variables defined inside the function is local variable, it means that if we try to access the variable outside the function, we will get an error message. Any variable defined outside the function (Globally) is global variable, it means we can use them anywhere in our program (both inside and outside of the function). But wait, if we can use them everywhere, how will we differentiate a global variable from a local variable with same name. Python has a very elegant solution for this. To use any global variable inside the function, declare it as " **global** variable_name" inside the function. We have to write the keyword **global** only once then it can be used as any other local variable. **Note** -> Global variable has global scope i.e. we can use it anywhere in same module but not in other modules. There is another scope called Built-in scope. Built-in scope includes the variables and literal values de?ned as part of the language, which can be used anywhere within a program. ### Return Multiple Values We can return multiple values from a function very easily. While writing the return statement, simply write the variable names separated by comma. Let's discuss it through an example Question-> Given an array, find the number **'K'** in array and print the index of the number **K** and also the number at previous index. Assume index of K can't be zero and all numbers are distinct. Given array is - **[5,6,7,12,2,4,3,9,25,29,30,31]** and K is **29**. Solution- ``` array=[5,6,7,12,2,4,3,9,25,29] k=29 def searching(): global array array.sort() global k index=0 while index<len(array): if array[index]==k: return index,array[index-1] index=index+1 index,previous_index_value=searching() #assigned to two variables as we are returning two values print index print previous_index_value ``` Output ``` 9 25 ``` In above code we are using the global variable k inside our function **searching**. For that, we declared it as global variable and then used it as any other variable. Similarly, we declared **array** as global. The **sort()** method modifies the original array unlike **sorted()** function which return another list which needs to be stored in some variable. Suppose our array is stored at location **X**. Then **sort()** will sort it and the location of sorted array will be **X**, so our original array is lost. On other hand **sorted()** will create the sorted array at some new location in memory, say **Y**. So, we need to assign a variable to point to the sorted array. If we print array after using **sort()** method, we will get its sorted form as output. But if we sort it using sorted() function and then we print it, we will get the original array same as input unless we assign sorted array the same variable name. See the example for more clarity Program ``` #Array to be sorted array=[3,4,1,2,5] #sorting by sorted() function new_arr=sorted(array) #printing both array and new_arr print "array ->",array print "new_arr ->", new_arr #Now sorting using sort() method array_2=[2,3,5,4,1] array_2.sort() #Printing array_2 print "array_2 ->",array_2 ``` Output ``` array -> [3, 4, 1, 2, 5] new_arr -> [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] array_2 -> [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] ``` Now, continuing with the above mentioned question. Also, we returned multiple values using **return** statement namely **index** and **arr[index-1]**. To store them in separated variables, we used 2 variables **index** and **previous_index_value** . If we had used only a single variable then the values would have got stored in form of a **tuple** in the order in which they are returned. That's it for now. We will continue our discussion on function in upcoming articles. Stay Tuned.

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