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Fluent Python by Luciano Ramalho

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Chapter 16. Coroutines

If Python books are any guide, [coroutines are] the most poorly documented, obscure, and apparently useless feature of Python.

David Beazley Python author

We find two main senses for the verb “to yield” in dictionaries: to produce or to give way. Both senses apply in Python when we use the yield keyword in a generator. A line such as yield item produces a value that is received by the caller of next(…), and it also gives way, suspending the execution of the generator so that the caller may proceed until it’s ready to consume another value by invoking next() again. The caller pulls values from the generator.

A coroutine is syntactically like a generator: just a function with the yield keyword in its body. However, in a coroutine, yield usually appears on the right side of an expression (e.g., datum = yield), and it may or may not produce a value—if there is no expression after the yield keyword, the generator yields None. The coroutine may receive data from the caller, which uses .send(datum) instead of next(…) to feed the coroutine. Usually, the caller pushes values into the coroutine.

It is even possible that no data goes in or out through the yield keyword. Regardless of the flow of data, yield is a control flow device that can be used to implement cooperative multitasking: each coroutine yields control to a central scheduler so that other coroutines can be activated.

When you start thinking of yield primarily in terms of control flow, you have the mindset ...

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