Introduction to Functions

An Introduction to Python Functions and Data Analysis with Pandas An Introduction to Python Functions

An Introduction to Python Functions


Functions are one of the most fundamental aspects of programming in Python. A function is a self-contained module of code that accomplishes a specific task. Functions are reusable and can significantly improve the modularity and efficiency of your code. Let's break down the major aspects of function design in Python.

1. Function Declaration

The first part of creating a function is the declaration. Here's what a basic function declaration looks like in Python:

    
    def function_name():
        # code here
    
    

The keyword def tells Python that you're defining a function. This is followed by the function name and a pair of parentheses. The code for the function goes after the colon, indented under the function name.

2. Parameters and Arguments

Functions can take inputs, known as parameters, which are specified in the parentheses during the function declaration. When you call a function, you provide values for these parameters, known as arguments. Here's an example:

    
    def greet(name):
        print(f'Hello, {name}!')
    greet('Alice')
    
    

In this example, 'name' is the parameter and 'Alice' is the argument.

3. Return Values

Functions can produce output, known as a return value. You specify the return value with the keyword return. After a function hits a return statement, it immediately exits and sends back the return value. Here's an example:

    
    def add(x, y):
        return x + y
    result = add(3, 4)
    print(result)  # prints: 7
    
    

4. Docstrings

Docstrings, short for documentation strings, are used to document what your function does. They're surrounded by triple quotes and are placed right after the function declaration. Here's an example:

    
    def add(x, y):
        """
        Adds two numbers together.
        Parameters:
            x (int or float): The first number.
            y (int or float): The second number.
        Returns:
            The sum of x and y.
        """
        return x + y
    
    

That's a basic introduction to Python functions. Remember, the best way to get better at writing functions is to practice! Write functions for different tasks, experiment with different types of input and output, and don't forget to document your functions with docstrings.

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