Code for Christmas

Here is an example of coding a Christmas tree (written in support of a post in The Telegraph) written by Thomas Shadwell, a member of Young Rewired State..

Being intentionally festive and creating a very simple digital output, the challenge is to create a Christmas tree with a countdown to Christmas. The output here is not exactly app-worthy but what you can see is how maths interacts with logic. (For the purposes of this post the image shown is for 21 days before Christmas, but the code will work for any date):

The code shown includes lines that are prefixed by a hash ‘#’ character. These are not actually read by the computer, and serve only for the programmer to understand what each line does, and as such they are very important for other programmers to understand the program!

#For writing the number of days until christmas we need to have the 'date' and 'datetime' functions from the datetime library.
from datetime import datetime, date

#Draws a christmas tree!

#Width of tree in letters, we will use this later.
width = 50

#The text that makes up the space around the tree-
# (to use later). The text is what is inside the quotes,
# a single space.
spaceText = " "

#The text that makes up the leaves
leavesText = "v"

#Alternate leaves text, to give the tree some texture.
leavesText2 = "V"

#Text for the trunk
trunkText = "#"

#Do this for each number from zero to width.
for number in range(0, width):

    #How many leaves should the tree have at this branch?
        # 'leaves' now contains the current value of 'number'.
        leaves = number

        #How much space does that leave?
        # The space on each side of the tree is just the space
        # not taken up by the leaves.
        # 'space' is now contains the width of our tree minus the
        # current number of leaves on this branch.
        space = width - leaves

        #The space is not all on one side of the tree, though, it's eaven on both sides!
        # space now contains half the value it did before.
        # the 'int' function chops off the decimal part- we can't have a half or a quarter of a letter!
        space = int(space / 2)

        #We should decide what our leaf should look like. Here, every even numbered -every other- branch is v instead of V,
        # and the first ever leaf is a star.
        if number == 1:
                #Store what the leaf should look like in thisLeaf.
                thisLeaf = "*"
        #If the number was not one, the program reads this; elif stands for "else, if".
        # check to see if the number is even. '%' is like '/', divide, but instead it gives us the remainder,
        # if it divide by 2 with no remainder, it must be an even number
        elif number % 2 == 0:
                #We store our choice in thisLeaf
                thisLeaf = leavesText
        #If it did not divide evenly by two (if it was an odd number), the computer does the procedure in 'else'.
                thisLeaf = leavesText2

        #Here we make the text that looks like this branch of the tree
        # we 'add' the text together, as well as 'multiplying' to get a certian number
        # of our text; "A" * 3 would become AAA.
        branch = (space * spaceText) + (leaves * thisLeaf)

        #'Type' out this branch of the tree, using the function print,
        # which tells the program to display the text it is sent.

#Write the trunk of the tree
# the trunk of the tree should be about one sixth of its width.
# again, we chop off the decimal.
trunkWidth = int(width / 6)

trunk = trunkText * trunkWidth

#How much space?
# we need the trunk in the center, so the space should be half the width of the tree
# minus half the width of the trunk.
spaceText = " " * int( (width/2) - (trunkWidth/2) )

#How tall should the trunk be?
# about one-tenth of the tree's height.
trunkHeight = int(width / 10)

#From zero to trunkHeight-
for number in range(0, trunkHeight):
        #Type out the trunk!
        print(spaceText + trunk)

#Calculate in the number of days until christmas-
# it's the date of christmas minus the date of now.
untilChristmas = date(2012, 12, 25) -

#The str function converts our number of days to text, so we can
# add it to the rest of the text.
christmasText = "There are " + str(untilChristmas.days) + " days until christmas!"

#Here I make textSpace (empty) just in case we want to try to center the text using space
textSpace = ""

#We would like this text to be centered if we have an especially big tree
# I use the len() function, which tells me the length of my text in letters.
if width > len(christmasText):

        #To center the text, we push it to the side by half the width of the tree
        # minus half the width of the text as we did with the trunk.
        textSpace = " " * int( (width/2) - (len(christmasText)/2) )

#Type out the message
print(textSpace + christmasText)

4 responses

  1. Pingback: Learning to code: do I need to be good at maths? | Web Guru Tips

  2. Pingback: Learning to code: do I need to be good at maths? | Social Web Guru Tips

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