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While loop

“While” loops are used to repeatedly execute some code while a certain condition evaluates to true. The most commonly used form of this loop is:

while(<continue condition>) {

The code fragment below tests if a shape is contained in a given group either directly or in any of its subgroups. The function getGroup() of Shape class returns the group, which is the immediate container of the shape. For a top-level shape (a shape that is not contained in any group) it returns null. In this loop we start with the immediate container of the shape and move one level up in each iteration until we either find the group or reach the top level:

ShapeGroup container = shape.getGroup(); // start with the immediate container of shape
  while( container != null ) { // if container exists
    if( container == group ) // test if it equals the group we are looking for
    return true; // if yes, the shape is contained in the group
    container = container.getGroup(); // otherwise move one level up
  return false; // if we are here, the shape is definitely not contained in the group

The condition in the first form of “while” loop is tested before each iteration; if it initially is false, nothing will be executed. There is also a second form of while loop — do … while:

do {
} while( <continue condition> );

The difference between do ... while loop and while loop is that do … while evaluates its condition after the iteration, therefore the loop body is executed at least once. This makes sense, for example, if the condition depends on the variables prepared during the iteration.

Consider the following example. The local area map is a square 1000 by 1000 pixels. The city bounds on the map are marked with a closed polyline citybounds. We need to find a random point within the city bounds. As long as the form of the polyline can be arbitrary we will use Monte Carlo method: we will be generating random points in the entire area until a point happens to be inside the city. The do … while loop can be naturally used here:

// declare two variables
  double x;
  double y;
  do {
    // pick a random point within the entire area
    x = uniform( 0, 1000 );
    y = uniform( 0, 1000 );
  } while( ! citybounds.contains( x, y ) ); // if the point is not inside the bounds, try again
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