A "For" Loop is used to repeat a specific block of code a known number of times. For example, if we want to check the grade of every student in the class, we loop from 1 to that number. When the number of times is not known before hand, we use a "While" loop.
The for loop is used to repeat a section of code known number of times. Sometimes it is the computer that knows how many times, not you, but it is still known. Some examples:
Unknown number of times:
"Ask the User to Guess a pre-determined number between 1 and 100". You have no way of knowing how many guesses it will take.
"Randomly look in an array for a given value." You have no way of knowing how many tries it will take to find the actual value.
Note: this is a made-up example, because you would never randomly look into an array to find a value. You would always start at the front of the array and look one element at a time until you found the item or got to the end of the array.
Known number of times:
Compute the average grade of the class. While you (the programmer) might not know how many grades exist in the class, the computer will know. Usually this is accomplished by using the "length" function on an array.
Print the odd numbers from 1 to 1001.
Search a list (array) of numbers for the biggest grade. Again, the computer "knows" how many grades there are, so a for loop is appropriate.
A design pattern is the syntax that you have to memorize in order to do well in programming and on tests.
The design pattern for a for loop is:
for index = start_value : increment_value : end_value
% Do this code
end
% implied increment by 1
for index = start_value : end_value
% Do this code
end
for ( int index = start_value; index < end_value; index += increment_value )
{
// Do this code
}
// Note: we often will declare the variable i at the
// same time we write the for loop, but we could declare
// it above
for ( var index:int = start_value; index < end_value; index += increment_value )
{
// Do this code
}
// Note: we often will declare the variable i at the
// same time we write the for loop, but we could declare
// it above
for ( let index = start_value; index < end_value; index += increment_value )
{
// Do this code
}
// Note: we often will declare the variable i at the
// same time we write the for loop, but we could declare
// it above
In the above code, the following variables are used:
by_count is how much to add to index_variable each time. Thus from 1 to 10 by an increment_value of 2 would give us 1,3,5,9.
In Matlab, you don't need the "by_count" value if you want the default of counting by 1.
Like all loops, "for loops" execute blocks of code over and over again.
The advantage to a for loop is we know exactly how many times the loop will execute before the loop starts.
The Syntax of the for loop in several languages is below. Notice how each language captures the "semantics" of a for loop (the meaning) but each has slightly different syntaxes. The variable "i" below is always used as the loop counter. The variables, start_value,by_count,and finish_value all represent numbers. For each language and example of the code to sum the numbers from 1 to 10 is given.
% design pattern
for i = start_value:by_count:finish_value
do something
end
% example: sum numbers from 1 to 10
total = 0;
for i = 1 : 10
total = total + i;
end
// design pattern
for (int i=start_value; i < finish_value; i = i + by_count )
{
do something
}
// example: sum numbers from 1 to 10
int total = 0;
for (int i=1; i<10; i++)
{
total += i;
}
// design pattern
for (var i:int = start_value; i < finish_value; i = i + by_count );
{
do something
}
// example: sum numbers from 1 to 10
var total:int = 0;
for (var i:int=1; i<10; i++)
{
total = total + i;
}
Our first example is trying to find a specific value in a list (array) of values.
The algorithm is:
%
% Using a for loop to find a value in an array.
%
% Variables:
% i : the loop index. Changes from start to finish
% start : the first index of the array. usually one
% finish : the last index of the array. ( found with length(array) )
% array : a list of integer numbers
% search : the number we are looking for.
%
start = 1; % note you could simply use 1 below
finish = length(array); % note you could put length(array) below
for i = start:finish % default is to count by 1's
if (array(i) == search) % note: for non-integers we would not use ==
fprintf('found the item\n'); % note: we often would not print
% the value, simply return it (if we
% were in a function).
end % if
end % for
//
// Using a for loop to find a value in an array.
//
// Variables:
// i : the loop index. Changes from start to finish
// start : the first index of the array. usually one
// finish : the last index of the array. ( found with length(array) )
// array : a list of integer numbers
// search : the number we are looking for.
//
int array[100]; // note: in C, we must specify how large the array is
int start = 0; // note you could simply use the constat 0 below
int finish = 100; // must know how many elements in array
for (int i = start; i < finish; i++) // ++ means add one to i
{
if (array[i] == search) // note: for non-integers we would not use ==
{
printf("found the item\n"); // note: we often would not print
// the value, simply return it (if we
// were in a function).
}
}
//
// Using a for loop to find a value in an array.
//
// Variables:
// i : the loop index. Changes from start to finish
// start : the first index of the array. usually one
// finish : the last index of the array. ( found with length(array) )
// array : a list of integer numbers
// search : the number we are looking for.
//
var array : Array;
var start : int = 0; // note you could simply use the constat 0 below
var finish : int = 100; // must know how many elements in array
for (var i:int = start; i < finish; i++) // ++ means add one to i
{
if (array[i] == search) // note: for non-integers we would not use ==
{
trace("found the item\n"); // note: we often would not print
// the value, simply return it (if we
// were in a function).
}
}
See the while loop design pattern to see how to accomplish this using a while loop.
%
% Using a for loop to create and store all the odd numbers
% between 1 and 1000
%
% Variables:
% i : the loop index.
% array : a list of integer numbers
%
for i = 1:2:1000 % here we change the default to count by 2
% that is what the :2: means (start:by:end)
array( ceil(i/2) ) = i;
end % for
% alternatively
for i = 1:500 % here we change count by 1
% and compute the appropriate odd value
array( i ) = i * 2 - 1;
end % for
/**
*
* Using a for loop to create and store all the odd numbers
* between 1 and 1000
*
* Variables:
* i : the loop index.
* array : a list of integer numbers
*/
for (int i = 1; i<1000; i += 2) // i += 2 is a shortcut for saying i = i + 2)
{
array[ i/2 ] = i;
}
// alternatively
for (int i = 0; i<500; i++) // i++ means add one to i each time
{
array[ i ] = ( (i+1) * 2 ) - 1;
}
/**
*
* Using a for loop to create and store all the odd numbers
* between 1 and 1000
*
* Variables:
* i : the loop index.
* array : a list of integer numbers
*/
for (var i:int = 1; i<1000; i += 2) // i += 2 is a shortcut for saying i = i + 2)
{
array[ i/2 ] = i;
}
// alternatively
for (var i:int = 0; i<500; i++) // i++ means add one to i each time
{
array[ i ] = ( (i+1) * 2 ) - 1;
}