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Discussion on: Types of Loops

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tmr232 profile image
Tamir Bahar Author

I agree. Those operations have better names and are part of larger use-cases or patterns.
The problem with those better names is that for beginners, they mean nothing. If you go to a beginner, who never ever coded before, and tell them to "reduce" an array, they will just stare at you wide-eyed.

The C++ <algorithm> header is also a great source for such operations. But again - too advanced.

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louy2 profile image
Yufan Lou

Personally my favorite source of names is Haskell. In the case of loops you can get them from Data.List.

The abstract names like "map", "fold" and "scan" are definitely too advanced for newcomers. But the more specialized ones like "reverse", "take", "drop", "filter", "splitAt", "concat", "sum", etc. are self-explanatory. I really wish I've learned about these names earlier, and so far these names are pretty general across languages I've dabbed into.

I prefer "fold" to "reduce" because I don't know what "reduce" wants to convey. "Fold" very vividly conveys that the operation folds the whole list into something else interesting, part by part.

I've also introduced the Java documentation early and showed my students and schoolmates how to explore it by searching and reading list of methods. It doesn't take much for them to start exploring themselves.