For Loop in different programming languages

rattanakchea profile image Rattanak Chea Updated on ・3 min read

Programming often involves working on redundant tasks. The for loops help shorten the code and reduce tedious tasks. But the way for is used can be different for different languages. This post aims to provide some for loop examples for Java, Javascript and PHP working on String, Array, and Object.

Loop a String


String str = "hello";
for (int i=0; i < str.length(); i++){
//another less optimal solution is to convert the str into an char array
//using str.toCharArray();
//see loop an Array section in Java below

length() and charAt(index) are methods of String object class.


var str = "hello";
for (var i=0; i < str.length; i++){

In JavaScript, we can declare string in two ways:

var str1 = 'primitive';  //datatype is primitive: string
var str2 = new String('string object');  //string as object

Since primitive has no methods and property, str1 was autoboxed to wrapper class String (as in s2). Then str1 becomes a String object with length as property and charAt as its method, and so on.


It is not as simple as Java, and JavasScript looping a string. One way is to convert the string to an array, then we can loop that array. Another way to use helper method, substr() to get each character of the string.

//method 1: use for loop
for($i=0; $i < count($array); $i++){
    echo $array[$i];

//method 2: convert a string to an array first, then we can loop the array
//use str_split() function to split a string by character
$str = "hello";
$array = str_split($str);  //split by character into an array
foreach($array as $value){
    echo $value;

Loop an Array


int[] nums = new int[5];
for (int i=0; i < nums.length; i++){
    nums[i] = i; }
    System.out.print(Arrays.toString(nums)); //[0, 1, 2, 3, 4]
    //or use for (:) as for each loop
for(int i : nums){
    System.out.print(i);  //01234
//you may compare for(:) loop with foreach loop in PHP and other language.

Note: An array is a container object with a fixed size. The length of an array is established when the array is created. Array has a length property instead of length method in Object. In fact, length is a public final field of Array.
Read more here Chapter 10. Arrays (http://docs.oracle.com/javase/specs/jls/se7/html/jls-10.html#jls-10.7)


var nums = ["hi", "hello", "you"];
//sequential loop
for (var i=0; i < nums.length; i++){
    console.log(num[i]));   //hihelloyou

Note: javascript has another loop for-in which is commonly used in Javascript object loop.

var obj = {  "a": 1,  "b": 2,  "c": 3};
for (var prop in obj) { 
  if (obj.hasOwnProperty(prop)) {
// or if (Object.prototype.hasOwnProperty.call(obj,prop)) for safety..
     alert("prop: " + prop + " value: " + obj[prop])  }

Read more: Loop through array in JavaScript (http://stackoverflow.com/questions/3010840/loop-through-array-in-javascript)

Loop an Object


In Java, to loop an array of objects, we can use sequential loop or iterator or for (:) loop ##

ArrayList<String> list = new ArrayList<String>();
Iterator<String> itr = list.iterator();
    //do something with itr.next();
    //for example itr.remove();
//using foreach loop
for( String s : list){
    //do something with s
    // s is local String variable
    //modify s does not modify the list


In PHP, loop an object use foreach loop like in array.

foreach ($objects as $obj){
    echo $obj->property;
//or below
foreach ($obj as $key => $value) {
    echo "$key => $value\n";

What is the difference between string literals and String objects in JavaScript? (http://stackoverflow.com/questions/17256182/what-is-the-difference-between-string-literals-and-string-objects-in-javascript)

str_split - Manual (http://us.php.net/str_split)
Arrays (The Java™ Tutorials > Learning the Java Language > Language Basics) (https://docs.oracle.com/javase/tutorial/java/nutsandbolts/arrays.html)

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Love the apples-to-apples comparison.

Here's Ruby:

for num in 0..max_num do
   puts "The number is #{num}"

But in practice, nobody uses for loops.

Here's a while:

while num < max_num  do
   puts("The number is #{num}" )
   num +=1

But nobody uses those either.

People are way more likely to do

(0..max_num).each do |num|
   puts "The number is is #{num}"

Or using a collection of objects, like an array or an ActiveRecord collection.

pizza_toppings.each do |topping|
   puts "The topping is #{topping.name}"

Thank you for adding Ruby syntax. This post was written a few year ago when I found myself always scrambling to write loop when working with different programming languages. Nowadays, a functional programming approach is preferable. I love Python and Ruby for their clean syntax.


Do you mind if I include your Ruby code into the post? I will put credit where it belongs.


Go for it. And no need to credit if it effects the reading in any way. 🙂


There's a few other ways to iterate in JavaScript:


const array = [1,2,3];
for (const num of array) {


const array = [1,2,3];
array.forEach(num => {
// or

Functional programming - map

const array = [1,2,3];

Note: forEach(console.log) will print the item, index and the array - developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/W...

Array#forEach((item, index, array) => { /*...*/ })

There is no need to use breckets in lambda:

const array = [1,2,3];
array.forEach(num => console.log(num));

Here's one for Go:

myStr := "My string"

for i := 0; i < len(myStr); i++ {
  fmt.Printf("%c", myStr[i])

You can also use a while loop:

for _, char := range myStr {
  fmt.Printf("%c", char)

Note how a "while loop" is basically the same as a for loop.


Another Go alternative is combining range and indexing:

myStr := "My string"

for i := range myStr {

Or in rust

let my_str = "Hello World!";    
for c in my_str.chars() { 

In Python, this:

for num in range(max_num):
    print "The number is {}".format(num)

or this:

print '\n'.join(["The number is {}".format(num) for num in range(max_num)])

Your PHP string foreach example seems wrong - PHP strings can be referenced like an array. The following works on PHP, for example.

$str = "hello";
for($i = 0; $i < strlen($str); $i++){
    echo $str[$i];

I did include that too, but it was down. Now i moved it to the top. Thanks man.


Nice post! When working with JavaScript/TypeScript, I usually go for the forEach array method, which is pretty convenient for usage with functions:

const fruit = ['apple', 'banana', 'orange'];

// apple
// banana
// orange

If using a library like lodash, you can also iterate over objects (though iteration order is not guaranteed):

const funcs = {
  square: x => x ** 2,
  abs: x => Math.abs(x),
  reciprocal: x => 1 / x

_.forEach(funcs, (fn, fnName) => {
  console.log(`${fnName}(-2) = ${fn(-2)}`);
// square(-2) = 4
// abs(-2) = 2
// reciprocal(-2) = -0.5

Let's be fair with Java. The language has seen quite a few enhancements since Java 8 release, 3 years ago, and very recently on Java 9, both on API and syntax. Now using the new stuff...

Loop a string:

String str = "hello";
str.chars() // Produces a stream of integers... yeah, that's odd
    .mapToObj(i -> (char) i) // Now we have a stream of chars

Loop a collection:

List<String> list = List.of("a", "b");

Here's the ways to loop a string and an array in C# with a for loop, they're pretty much the same as any other language.

    string str = "hello";
    for (int i = 0; i < str.Length; i++){

    int[] nums = new int[5];
    for (int i = 0; i < nums.length; i++){
        nums[i] = i;

However, C# really likes iterators, so those tasks are most commonly done with a foreach loop.

    string str = "hello";
    foreach (char c in str){

    foreach (int num in Enumerable.Range(0, 5)){

    // Borrowing from Ben Halpern's example for looping over a collection
    foreach (var topping in pizzaToppings){
        Console.WriteLine("The topping is {0}", topping.Name);

Then resharper tells you that you can replace that with one line of linq... if my experience is anything to go by 😀


Swift 2, 3, 4:

// 1
for index in 0..<9 {

// 2
(0..<9).forEach { index in

// 3
let arr = ["foo", "bar"]
for (index, value) in arr.enumerated() {
    print("index: \(index), value: \(value)")

I never learn/write Swift. Look interesting. Thanks for sharing.


Very nice, but it's missing my favorite, C++!

std::string str = "hello";
for (int i=0; i < str.length(); ++i)
    std::cout << str[i] << std::endl;

Note I'm using the prefix increment in my for loop, for pedantic (and habitual) performance reasons. (In reality, your compiler usually optimizes this itself.)

Given more time later, I'll come back and add the other two.


I built a website ago just to keep how different programming languages approach concepts in their different ways.

Like the Fibonacci in 6 languages: code.khophi.co/codes/-KL7i0Vj9WSsh...



I checked it out. That's a good idea. Keep it up.


Java 9 IntStream has a new static method:

iterate​(int seed, IntPredicate hasNext, IntUnaryOperator next)

IntStream.iterate(0, i -> i < 10, i -> i + 1)

is equivalent to the following for-i loop, but more in a functional style

for(int i = 0; i < 10; i++) {

Here's in Smalltalk:

'Hello' do: [:each | Transcript show: each ]

this works for collections, strings, and objects all the same :D


Awesome. One size fits all. :-)


The wonders of dynamically typed languages 😊


PHP code doesn't have syntax highlighting though 😀


I guess it is not support here yet. That's not fair for PHP. :-)


I'm not quite sure why that is. Definitely looking into it.