# Python Yields are Fun!

While you can optimize the heck out of your Python code with
`generators`

and `generator expressions`

I'm more interested in goofing
around and solving classic programming questions with the `yield`

statement.

**note:** For this article, since it's easier to explain things as they
happen, I'll be including a lot of inline comments.

Let's start with a simple function that returns a sequence of some of my favorite values:

```
# yielding.py
def pydanny_selected_numbers():
# If you multiple 9 by any other number you can easily play with
# numbers to get back to 9.
# Ex: 2 * 9 = 18. 1 + 8 = 9
# Ex: 15 * 9 = 135. 1 + 3 + 5 = 9
# See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_root
yield 9
# A pretty prime.
yield 31
# What's 6 * 7?
yield 42
# The string representation of my first date with Audrey Roy
yield "2010/02/20"
```

**note:** When a function uses the `yield`

keyword it's now called a
**generator**.

Let's do a test drive in the REPL:

```
>>> from yielding import pydanny_selected_numbers # import ye aulde code
>>> pydanny_selected_numbers() # create the iterator object
<generator object pydanny_selected_numbers at 0x1038a03c0>
>>> for i in pydanny_selected_numbers(): # iterate through the iterator
... print(i)
...
9
31
42
"2010/02/20"
>>> iterator = pydanny_selected_numbers() # create the iterator object
>>> for i in iterator: # iterate through the iterator object
... print(i)
...
9
31
42
"2010/02/20"
```

Of course, if you know anything about generator expressions, you know I could do this more tersely with the following:

```
>>> iterator = (x for x in [9, 31, 42, "2010/02/20"])
>>> for i in iterator:
... print(i)
...
9
31
42
"2010/02/20"
```

While that is more terse, it doesn't give us the amount of control we get by defining our own generator function. For example, what if I want to present the Fibonacci sequence in a loop rather than with recursion?

```
# fun.py
def fibonacci(max):
result = 0
base = 1
while result <= max:
# This yield statement is where the execution leaves the function.
yield result
# This is where the execution comes back into the function. This is
# just whitespace, but that it came back while preserving the state
# of the function is pretty awesome.
# Fibonacci code to increase the number according to
# https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fibonacci_number
n = result + base
result = base
base = n
if __name__ == "__main__":
for x in fibonacci(144):
print(x)
```

Let's try this out in the REPL:

```
>>> from fun import fibonacci
>>> fibonacci(10)
<generator object fibonacci at 0x10d49e460>
>>> for x in fibonacci(10):
... print(x)
0
1
1
2
3
5
8
>>> iterator = fibonacci(5)
>>> iterator
<generator object fibonacci at 0x10d63c550>
>>> iterator.next()
0
>>> iterator.next()
1
```

What's nice about this is so much more than fibonacci logic in a
generator function. Instead, imagine instead of a lightweight
calculation I had done something performance intensive. By using
generator expressions I can readily control the execution calls with the
iterator object's `next()`

method, saving processor cycles.

Very nifty.

# Summary

I admit it. Like many Python developers, I find using tools like yields and generators to optimize the heck out of performance intensive things a lot of fun.

If you are like me and like this sort of stuff, I recommend the following resources:

- Matt Harrison's Treading on Python Volume 2: Intermediate Python
- Jeff Knupp's Improve Your Python: 'yield' and Generators Explained

In the next article I'll demonstrate how to use the `yield`

statement
to create context managers.

**Update**: Nicholas Tollervey pointed me
at wikipedia's Digital root article, so I added it to the comments of
the first code sample.

**Update**: Oddthinking pointed out that I forgot a print statement. In
the REPL it's not really needed, but if this is translated to a script
then it's necessary.

Tags: python