Sunday, 31 July 2011

PHP - While Loop

PHP - While Loop

Repetitive tasks are always a burden to us. Deleting spam email, sealing 50 envelopes, and going to work are all examples of tasks that are repeated. The nice thing about programming is that you can avoid such repetitive tasks with a little bit of extra thinking. Most often these repetitive tasks are conquered in the loop.

The idea of a loop is to do something over and over again until the task
has been completed. Before we show a real example of when you might need one,
let's go over the structure of the PHP while loop.

Simple While Loop Example

The function of the while loop is to do a task over and over as long
as the specified conditional statement is true. This logical check is the same
as the one that appears in a PHP if statement to determine if it is true or false.
Here is the basic structure of a PHP while loop:

Pseudo PHP Code:

while ( conditional statement is true){
 //do this code;
This isn't valid PHP code, but it displays how the while loop is structured.
Here is the break down of how a while loop functions when your script is executing:

  1. The conditional statement is checked. If it is true, then (2) occurs. If it is false, then (4) occurs.
  2. The code within the while loop is executed.
  3. The process starts again at (1). Effectively "looping" back.
  4. If the conditional statement is false, then the code within is not executed and there is no more looping. The code following
    the while loop is then executed like normal.

A Real While Loop Example

Imagine that you are running an art supply store. You would
like to print out the price chart for number of brushes and total cost.
You sell brushes at a flat rate, but would like to display how much
different quantities would cost. This will save your customers from having to
do the mental math themselves.
You know that a while loop would be perfect for this repetitive and boring task.
Here is how to go about doing it.

Pseudo PHP Code:

$brush_price = 5; 
$counter = 10;

echo "<table border=\"1\" align=\"center\">";
echo "<tr><th>Quantity</th>";
echo "<th>Price</th></tr>";
while ( $counter <= 100 ) {
 echo "<tr><td>";
 echo $counter;
 echo "</td><td>";
 echo $brush_price * $counter;
 echo "</td></tr>";
 $counter = $counter + 10;
echo "</table>";



Pretty neat, huh? The loop created a new table row and its respective entries
for each quantity, until our counter variable grew past the size of 100. When it
grew past 100 our conditional statement failed and the loop stopped being used. Let's review
what is going on.
  1. We first made a $brush_price and $counter variable and
    set them equal to our desired values.
  2. The table was set up with the beginning table tag and the table headers.
  3. The while loop conditional statement was checked, and $counter (10) was indeed
    smaller or equal to 100.
  4. The code inside the while loop was executed, creating a new table row for the price
    of 10 brushes.
  5. We then added 10 to $counter to bring the value to 20.
  6. The loop started over again at step 3, until $counter grew larger than 100.
  7. After the loop had completed, we ended the table.

You may have noticed that we placed slashes
infront the quotations in the first echo statement. You have to place slashes
before quotations if you do not want the quotation to act as the end of the echo statement.
This is called escaping a character and it is discussed in our PHP Strings lesson.

With proper use of loops you can complete large tasks
with great ease.

No comments:

Post a Comment