No need to look further when you’re trying to dig deeper into something. Reviewing the basics can be (or should be) repeated. So, among 69 Python built-in functions, I will focus on 4 of them associated with looping. Namely, range, map, filter, and zip. To make this review process more engaging, I have assumed the role of a translator sitting between a human and a computer.



:raising_hand: Write down ten multiples of 7, starting from 7.

list(range(7, 70, 7))
>> [7, 14, 21, 28, 35, 42, 49, 56, 63]

Here, range function accepts 3 parameters, start, stop, and step. Start is inclusive, Stop is exclusive. The function returns an iterator object. To output the actual value, the object needs to be wrapped in a list.


:raising_hand: The previous example can be generalized to include multiples from 2 to 9, simulating a multiplication table.

Let’s say your little cousin is studying the multiples of 6.

for i in map(lambda x, y: (x, y, x*y), repeat(6), range(10)):
		print('{:d} * {:d} = {:d}'.format(*i))

6 * 0 = 0
6 * 1 = 6
6 * 2 = 12
6 * 3 = 18
6 * 4 = 24
6 * 5 = 30
6 * 6 = 36
6 * 7 = 42
6 * 8 = 48
6 * 9 = 54

Here, map function accepts three parameters: a lambda function as an object, followed by two iterables: repeat 6 for x value, and a sequence from 0 to 9 for y value. The placeholder d is used for signed integer decimal, since we’re dealing with integers.


:raising_hand: Imagine a dictionary of people and the number of ___, you fill in the blank. You want to only “filter” people with the item.

people = {'Mary': 2, 'Pete': 1, 'Frank': 0, 'Julie': 0}

A filter function returns a boolean value. It will evaluate the input (the value of each person) and return True if it’s greater than 0, and False if it’s 0.

def has_something(pair):
		return bool(pair[1])

The following loop will return those who meet the condition, specified by the has_something function.

for person, something in filter(has_something, people.items()):


Note that the iterable is people.items(), not just the dictionary people in order to access both key and value.


:raising_hand: I’d like to make sure that you eat a different fruit for each day.

zip() function consumes an iterable and outputs an iterator in Python 3. It can consume more than one iterable. There are a few use cases for this zip function, but let’s play around with a fruity example first.

fruits = ['apple', 'orange', 'banana', 'strawberry', 'cherry']
days = ['Monday', 'Tuesday', 'Wednesday', 'Thursday', 'Friday']

for d, f, in zip(days, fruits):
		print(f'{d}: {f}')

Monday: apple
Tuesday: orange
Wednesday: banana
Thursday: strawberry
Friday: cherry

Or we can go from backwards too. If we start with a list of tuples like this:

weekly_fruits = [('Monday', 'apple'),
 ('Tuesday', 'orange'),
 ('Wednesday', 'banana'),
 ('Thursday', 'strawberry'),
 ('Friday', 'cherry')]

And you’d like to separate each pair into independent lists, then you can unzip it with the unpacking operator *.

days, fruits = zip(*weekly_fruits)

>> ('Monday', 'Tuesday', 'Wednesday', 'Thursday', 'Friday')
>> ('apple', 'orange', 'banana', 'strawberry', 'cherry')

Another use case for zip function is constructing a dictionary. Let’s say keys and values are given as separate lists.

keys = ['name', 'dob', 'likes', 'dislikes', 'quotes']
values = ['Sonia', '1995-03-03', 'Coffee', 'Cauliflower', 'No need to look further']

Then you can zip with and wrap it with a dictionary.

user_dict = dict(zip(keys, values))

>> {'name': 'Sonia',
 'dob': '1995-03-03',
 'likes': 'Coffee',
 'dislikes': 'Cauliflower',
 'quotes': 'No need to look further'}

Granted this approach isn’t aligned with OOP, but at least the keys list is reusable and you can zip it with a new user value quickly!