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6.7 Iteration Statements

Iteration statements are used to specify the logic of a loop. Java has three varieties of iteration statement: while, do, and for.

[Graphic: Figure from the text]

References The do Statement; The for Statement; The while Statement

The while Statement

A while statement evaluates a Boolean expression. If the expression is true, a given statement is repeatedly executed for as long as the expression continues to evaluate to true.

[Graphic: Figure from the text]

In Java, the expression in parentheses must produce a boolean value. This is different from C/C++, which allows any type of expression.

If the expression in parentheses evaluates to true, the statement contained in the while statement is executed and the expression in parentheses is evaluated again. This process continues until the expression evaluates to false.

If the expression in parentheses evaluates to false, the statement following the while statement is the next statement to be executed. The expression in parentheses is evaluated before the contained statement is executed, so it is possible for the contained statement not to be executed even once.

Here is an example of a while statement:

while ( (c = in.read()) >= 0) {
    out.write(c);
}

References Boolean Type; Expression 4; Statement 6

The do Statement

A do statement executes a given statement and then evaluates a Boolean expression. If the expression evaluates to true, the statement is executed repeatedly as long as the expression continues to evaluate to true:

[Graphic: Figure from the text]

In Java, the expression in parentheses must produce a boolean value. This is unlike C/C++, which allows any type of expression.

The statement contained in the do statement is executed and then the expression in parentheses is evaluated. If the expression evaluates to true, the process is repeated.

If the expression evaluates to false, the statement following the do statement is the next statement to be executed. Because the expression is evaluated after the contained statement is executed, the statement is always executed at least once.

Here's an example of a do statement:

do {
    c = in.read();
    out.write(c);
} while (c != ';');

References Boolean Type; Expression 4; Statement 6

The for Statement

A for statement is a more structured form of a while statement. A for statement performs an initialization step and then evaluates a Boolean expression. If the expression evaluates to true, a given statement is executed and an increment expression is evaluated repeatedly as long as the expression continues to evaluate to true:

[Graphic: Figure from the text]

[Graphic: Figure from the text]

[Graphic: Figure from the text]

Here is an example of a for statement:

for (i = 0; i < a.length; i++) {
    a[i] = i;
}

The initialization part of the for statement is executed first. If the initialization part contains nothing, no initialization is performed. The expression that follows must produce a boolean value. Before the body of the for statement is executed, the expression is evaluated. If the expression portion of the for statement is omitted, the default expression true is used. If the expression evaluates to true, the body of the for statement is executed and then the increment portion of the for statement is evaluated. Finally, the expression is evaluated again to determine if there should be another iteration. This process continues until the expression evaluates to false, at which point the statement following the for statement is the next statement to be executed. The for statement in the above example can be rewritten as a while statement as follows:

i = 0;
while (i < a.length) {
    a[i] = i;
    i++;
}

One difference between comparable for and while loops is that a continue statement in the body of a for statement causes the increment portion of the statement to be evaluated. However, this may not be the case in a comparable while statement.

Here's a new version of our for example:

for (i = 0; i < a.length; i++) {
    a[i] = i;
    continue;
}

The added continue statement at the end of the for loop does not change the behavior of the loop. In particular, i++ is still evaluated after each iteration through the body of the loop. Now let's add a continue statement at the equivalent place in our while example:

i = 0;
while (i < a.length) {
    a[i] = i;
    continue;
    i++;
}

The continue statement in this while loop prevents the statement i++ from being executed. The continue statement would have to be moved after the increment operation to match the logic of the for statement.

If the expression portion of a for statement is omitted, the default expression true is supplied. Take, for example, the following for statement:

for ( FileInputStream in = new FileInputStream(fname);;) {
    c = in.read();
    if (c < 0)
        return;
    System.out.print((char)c);
}

This example uses a local variable declaration in the initialization portion of the for statement. Local variable declarations in a for statement are subject to the same restrictions as local variable declarations in a block. In particular, a for statement cannot declare a local variable with the same name as a local variable or formal parameter that is defined in an enclosing block.

The above for statement is equivalent to the following while statement:

{
    FileInputStream in = new FileInputStream(fname);
    while (true) {
        c = in.read();
        if (c < 0)
            return;
        System.out.print((char)c);
    }
}

The enclosing block in the above example is provided to limit the scope of the local variable in to just the while statement.

The initialization portion of a for statement can also be empty. The following statement is a legal way of specifying an infinite loop:

for (;;) {...}

This is equivalent to the following while statement:

while (true) {...}

Unlike C/C++, there is no comma operator in Java. However, commas are explicitly allowed in the initialization portion of a for statement. For example, a for initialization can consist of multiple expressions separated by commas:

i=2, j=5, k=44

When the initialization portion of a for statement contains local variable declarations, commas are also allowed because the syntax for declarations allows multiple variables, separated by commas, to be declared in one declaration. For example:

int i=2, j=5, k=44

References Boolean Type; Expression 4; Statement 6; Local Variables; TopLevelExpression 6.4; The continue Statement; The while Statement


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