Example of Python Generator Function.

One of the great features of Python is Generator Functions.  Generator functions allow you to convert any function to a generator function by simply including the yield keyword somewhere in the function body.  When a generator function is called, the response is a generator object, which can be iterated over among other things.

To boil this down to basics, generator functions allow you the programmer to create a function which yields one value at a time (and pauses until the next value is requested) until you decide it is done.  This opens endless possibilities for converting sequences, creating sequences, filtering, and more.

The following example is a generator function which will take a simple list or iterator and return pairs of (element, previous_element).  This is a great use for generators and the yield statement.

Generator Function:

def lineandlast(listish, first=True, last=True):
    iterator = iter(listish)
    lastline = next(iterator)

    if first:
      yield lastline, None

    for line in iterator:
        yield line, lastline
        lastline = line

    if last:
        yield None, lastline

Example:

for line, last in lineandlast([1,2,3,4,5]):
    print(line, last)

Output:

1 None
2 1
3 2
4 3
5 4
None 5

Notes:
There are two keyword arguments, first and last, which can be used to control the output of the first and last items on the output example above.

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