Xolve Xolve - 6 months ago 9
Python Question

Modifying list while iterating

l = range(100)
for i in l:
print i,
print l.pop(0),
print l.pop(0)


The above python code gives the output quite different from expected. I want to loop over items so that I can skip an item while looping.

Please explain.

Answer

I've been bitten before by (someone else's) "clever" code that tries to modify a list while iterating over it. I resolved that I would never do it under any circumstance.

You can use the slice operator mylist[::3] to skip across to every third item in your list.

mylist = [i for i in range(100)]
for i in mylist[::3]:
  print(i),

Other points about my example relate to new syntax in python 3.0.

  • I use a list comprehension to define mylist because it works in Python 3.0 (see below)
  • print is a function in python 3.0

Python 3.0 range() now behaves like xrange() used to behave, except it works with values of arbitrary size. The latter no longer exists.