Else clause on Python while statement


Question

I've noticed the following code is legal in Python. My question is why? Is there a specific reason?

n = 5
while n != 0:
    print n
    n -= 1
else:
    print "what the..."
1
279
6/27/2016 2:13:30 AM

The else clause is only executed when your while condition becomes false. If you break out of the loop, or if an exception is raised, it won't be executed.

One way to think about it is as an if/else construct with respect to the condition:

if condition:
    handle_true()
else:
    handle_false()

is analogous to the looping construct:

while condition:
    handle_true()
else:
    # condition is false now, handle and go on with the rest of the program
    handle_false()

An example might be along the lines of:

while value < threshold:
    if not process_acceptable_value(value):
        # something went wrong, exit the loop; don't pass go, don't collect 200
        break
    value = update(value)
else:
    # value >= threshold; pass go, collect 200
    handle_threshold_reached()
342
7/21/2010 7:48:12 AM

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