2.6. Control Structures

while (a > b) { a--; }

Will decrement a repeatedly, checking before each iteration that a is greater than b.

do { a--; } while (a > b);

Will decrement a repeatedly, checking after each iteration that a is greater than b.

for (int a = 0; a < 10; a++) { stdout.printf("%d\n", a); }

Will initialize a to 0, then print a repeatedly until a is no longer less than 10, incrementing a after each iteration.

foreach (int a in int_array) { stdout.printf("%d\n", a); }

Will print out each integer in an array, or another iterable collection. The meaning of “iterable” will be described later.

All of the four preceding types of loop may be controlled with the keywords break and continue. A break instruction will cause the loop to immediately terminate, while continue will jump straight to the test part of the iteration.

if (a > 0) { stdout.printf("a is greater than 0\n"); }
else if (a < 0) { stdout.printf("a is less than 0\n"); }
else { stdout.printf("a is equal to 0\n"); }

Executes a particular piece of code based on a set of conditions. The first condition to match decides which code will execute, if a is greater than 0 it will not be tested whether it is less than 0. Any number of else if blocks is allowed, and zero or one else blocks.

switch (a) {
case 1:
case 2:
case 3:
    stdout.printf("two or three\n");

A switch statement runs exactly one or zero sections of code based on the value passed to it. In Vala there is no fall through between cases, except for empty cases. In order to ensure this, each non-empty case must end with a break, return or throw statement. It is possible to use switch statements with strings.

A note for C programmers: conditions must always evaluate to a Boolean value. This means that if you want to check a variable for null or 0 you must do this explicitly: if (object != null) { } or if (number != 0) { }.