br3w5 br3w5 - 1 month ago 9
Python Question

Printing lists recursively in Python without mutating a list

For a homework question I want to print items from a list incrementing each item by one. I want to do this using recursion (ideally without mutating a list).

NB: I understand that recursion is not a standard solution in Python or any other language (I don't intend to use it in any real world Python implementations) but this is part the recursion section of a CS course.

I think this problem could be solved far more simply and in a more Pythonic way by using a simple

loop (I haven't learnt list comprehensions yet):

def iter_increment(p):
for n in p:
print n + 1

print iter_increment([1,2,3,4])

To solve this recursively I've created a copy of the list:

def rec_increment(p):
if len(p) == 0:
r = list(p)
print r.pop(0) + 1
return rec_increment(r)

print rec_increment([1,2,3,4])

My question is, can the code be simplified or improved by not mutating the copy of the list while still using recursion?

Answer Source
def rec_increment(p):
    if len(p) == 0:
        return ""                    #If you return an empty string, you don't get the "None" printing at the end.
        #r = list(p)                 This is not necessary now.
        print p[0]+1                 #r.pop(0) + 1   Rather than pop, just index.
        return rec_increment(p[1:])  # Only recurse on the 2nd-nth part of the list

print rec_increment([1,2,3,4])       # Note that you don't need to both "print" in the function *and* print the result of the function - you can pick which you want to do.