If you want to reuse code, you can use a function.

This prevents you from writing the same thing over and over again.

A function has a unique distinct name in the program. Once you call a function it will execute one or more lines of codes, which we will call a code block.

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Function example

For example, we could have the Pythagoras function.

In case your math is a little rusty,  a^2 + b^2 = c^2. Thus, c = sqrt( a^2 + b^2). In code we could write that as:

import math

def pythagoras(a,b):
    value = math.sqrt(a *a + b*b)


We call the function with parameters a=3 and b =3 on the last line.  A function can be called several times with varying parameters. There is no limit to the number of function calls.

Note: The def keyword tells Python we define a function.  Always use four spaces to indent the code block, using another number of spaces will throw a syntax error.

Return value

It is also possible to store the output of a function in a variable.  To do so, we use the keyword return.

import math

def pythagoras(a,b):
    value = math.sqrt(a*a + b*b)
    return value

result = pythagoras(3,3)

The function pythagoras is called with a=3 and b=3. The program execution continues in the function pythagoras. The output of math.sqrt(a*a + b*b) is stored in the function variable value. This is returned and the output is stored in the variable result. Finally, we print variable result to the screen.

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6 Replies to “Functions”

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