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Introduction to Strings – Data Structure and Algorithm Tutorials

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  • Last Updated : 14 Sep, 2022
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What is String?

Strings are considered a data type in general and are typically represented as arrays of bytes (or words) that store a sequence of characters. Strings are defined as an array of characters. The difference between a character array and a string is the string is terminated with a special character ‘\0’

Complete Guide to String interview preparation

Complete Guide to String interview preparation

Below are some examples of strings:

“geeks” , “for”, “geeks”, “GeeksforGeeks”, “Geeks for Geeks”, “123Geeks”, “@123 Geeks”

How String is represented in Memory?

In C, a string can be referred to either using a character pointer or as a character array. When strings are declared as character arrays, they are stored like other types of arrays in C. For example, if str[] is an auto variable then the string is stored in the stack segment, if it’s a global or static variable then stored in the data segment, etc.

Representation of String

Representation of String

How to Declare Strings in various languages?

Below is the representation of strings in various languages:

C




// C program to illustrate strings
#include <stdio.h>
  
int main()
{
    // declare and initialize string
    char str[] = "Geeks";
  
    // print string
    printf("%s", str);
  
    return 0;
}


C++




// C++ program to demonstrate String
// using Standard String representation
  
#include <iostream>
#include <string>
using namespace std;
  
int main()
{
  
    // Declare and initialize the string
    string str1 = "Welcome to GeeksforGeeks!";
  
    // Initialization by raw string
    string str2("A Computer Science Portal");
  
    // Print string
    cout << str1 << endl << str2;
  
    return 0;
}


Java




// Java code to illustrate String
import java.io.*;
import java.lang.*;
  
class Test {
    public static void main(String[] args)
    {
        // Declare String without using new operator
        String s = "GeeksforGeeks";
  
        // Prints the String.
        System.out.println("String s = " + s);
  
        // Declare String using new operator
        String s1 = new String("GeeksforGeeks");
  
        // Prints the String.
        System.out.println("String s1 = " + s1);
    }
}


Python




# Python Program for
# Creation of String
  
# Creating a String
# with single Quotes
String1 = 'Welcome to the Geeks World'
print("String with the use of Single Quotes: ")
print(String1)
  
# Creating a String
# with double Quotes
String1 = "I'm a Geek"
print("\nString with the use of Double Quotes: ")
print(String1)
  
# Creating a String
# with triple Quotes
String1 = '''I'm a Geek and I live in a world of "Geeks"'''
print("\nString with the use of Triple Quotes: ")
print(String1)
  
# Creating String with triple
# Quotes allows multiple lines
String1 = '''Geeks
            For
            Life'''
print("\nCreating a multiline String: ")
print(String1)


PHP




<?php
  
// single-quote strings
  
$site = 'Welcome to GeeksforGeeks';
  
echo $site;
  
?>


Javascript




<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
  
<head>
    <title>
        JavaScript Strings
    </title>
</head>
  
<body>
      
    <h1>GeeksforGeeks</h1>
      
    <h2>JavaScript Strings</h2>
      
    <p id="GFG"></p>
  
  
      
    <!-- Script to store string in variable -->
    <script>
      
        // String written inside quotes
        var x = "Welcome to GeeksforGeeks!";
        document.getElementById("GFG").innerHTML = x;
    </script>
</body>
  
</html>


C#




// Include namespace system
using System;
  
public class Test
{
    public static void Main(String[] args)
    {
        // Declare String without using new operator
        var s = "GeeksforGeeks";
        // Prints the String.
        Console.WriteLine("String s = " + s);
        // Declare String using new operator
        var s1 = new  String("GeeksforGeeks");
        // Prints the String.
        Console.WriteLine("String s1 = " + s1);
    }
}


Output

Geeks

General Operations performed on String:

Here we are providing you with some must-know concepts of string:

1. Concatenation of Strings

The process of combining more than one string together is known as Concatenation. String Concatenation is the technique of combining two strings. 

Concatenation of Strings

Concatenation of Strings

There are two ways to concatenate two strings:

a) String concatenation without using any inbuilt methods:

Below is the algorithm for the Concatenation of two strings:

Algorithm: CONCATENATE (STR1, STR2, STR3)

1. LEN1 = LENGTH(STR1).
2. LEN2 = LENGTH(STR2).
3. SET I = 0.
4. Repeat Steps 5 and 6 while I < LEN1-1:
5.     STR3[I] = STR1[I].
6.     SET I = I+1.
7. SET J = 0.
8. Repeat Steps 9 to 11 while I < (LEN1 + LEN2 - 2):
9.     STR3[I] = STR2[J].
10.    J = J+1.
11.    I = I+1.
12.Exit.

b) String concatenation using inbuilt methods:

2. Find in String

A very basic operation performed on Strings is to find something in the given whole string. Now, this can be to find a given character in a string, or to find a complete string in another string.

Find in String

Find in String

a) Find a character in string:

Given a string and a character, your task is to find the first position of the character in the string. These types of problems are very competitive programming where you need to locate the position of the character in a string.

b) Find a substring in another string:

Consider there to be a string of length N and a substring of length M. Then run a nested loop, where the outer loop runs from 0 to (N-M) and the inner loop from 0 to M. For every index check if the sub-string traversed by the inner loop is the given sub-string or not. 

An efficient solution is to use a O(n) searching algorithm like KMP algorithm, Z algorithm, etc.

Language implementations: 

3. Replace in String

Many times, it is very important to make corrections in strings. Replacing a character, word or phrase in a String is another very common operation performed on Strings.

The simplest approach to solve the given problem is to traverse the string S and when any string S1 is found as a substring in the string S then replace it by S2. Follow the steps below to solve this problem:

  • Initialize a string ans to store the resultant string after replacing all the occurrences of the substring S1 to S2 in the string S.
  • Iterate over the characters of the string S using variable i and perform the following steps:
    • If the prefix substring of the string S is equal to S1 from the index i, then add the string S2 in the string ans.
    • Otherwise, add the current character to the string ans.
  • After completing the above steps, print the string ans as the result.

4. Finding the Length of String

One of the most general operations on String is to find the length/size of a given string. Length is defined as the number of characters in a string is called the length of that string.

Finding the Length of String

Finding the Length of String

There are two ways to concatenate two strings:

a) Length of string without using any inbuilt methods: 

Below is the algorithm for finding the length of two strings:

1. SET LEN = 0 AND I = 0.
2. Repeat Steps 3 to 4 while STRING[I] is not NULL:
3. LEN = LEN + 1.
4. SET I = I + 1.
5. Exit.

b) Length of string using inbuilt methods:

5. Trim a String

Spaces or special characters are very common in Strings. So it is important to know how to trim such characters in String.

Below is a Simple Solution 

1) Iterate through all characters of given string, do following
   a) If current character is a space, then move all subsequent characters one position back and decrease length of the result string.

The time complexity of the above solution is O(n2).

A Better Solution can solve it in O(n) time. The idea is to keep track of count of non-space character seen so far. 

1) Initialize ‘count’ = 0 (Count of non-space character seen so far)
2) Iterate through all characters of given string, do following
     a) If current character is non-space, then put this character at index ‘count’ and increment ‘count’
3) Finally, put ‘\0’ at index ‘count’

6. Reverse and Rotation of a String

Reverse operation is interchanging the position of characters of a string such that the first becomes the last, the second becomes the second last, and so on.

a) Rotations of a String:

Rotation of a String

Rotation of a String

Consider a string “geeks”, now all possible rotations for this will be:

  • geeks
  • eeksg
  • eksge
  • ksgee
  • sgeek

b) Reverse a String:

The reversing of a string is nothing but simply substituting the last element of a string to the 1st position of the string.

Reverse a String

7. Subsequence of a String

A subsequence is a sequence that can be derived from another sequence by removing zero or more elements, without changing the order of the remaining elements.

More generally, we can say that for a sequence of size n, we can have (2n-1) non-empty sub-sequences in total.

For example, Consider the string “geeks”, there are 15 sub-sequences. 
They are:

g, e, e, k, s,
ge, ge, gk, gs, ee, ek, es, ek, es, ks,
gee, gek, ges, gek, ges, gks, eek, ees, eks, eks,
geek, gees, eeks,
geeks

Subsequence

8. Substring of a String

A substring is a contiguous part of a string, i.e., a string inside another string.

In general, for a string of size n, there are n*(n+1)/2 non-empty substrings.

For example, Consider the string “geeks”, There are 15 non-empty substrings.
The subarrays are:

g, ge, gee, geek, geeks,
e, ee, eek, eeks,
e, ek, eks,
k, ks, 
ks

Substring

9. Binary String

A Binary String is a special kind of string made up of only two types of characters, such as 0 and 1.
For Example:  

Input: str = "01010101010"
Output: Yes, it is a Binary String

Input: str = "geeks101"
Output: No, it is not a Binary String

10. Palindrome String

A string is said to be a palindrome if the reverse of the string is the same as the string. 
For example,

“abba” is a palindrome, but “abbc” is not a palindrome.

Palindrome String

11. Lexicographic Patterns

Lexicographical pattern is the pattern based on the ASCII value or can be said in dictionary order. We consider the lexicographic order of characters as their order of ASCII value. Hence the lexicographical order of characters will be 

‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’, …, ‘Y’, ‘Z’, ‘a’, ‘b’, ‘c’, …, ‘y’, ‘z’.

12. Pattern Searching

Pattern searching is searching a given pattern in the string. It is an advanced topic of string. The Pattern Searching algorithms are sometimes also referred to as String Searching Algorithms and are considered as a part of the String algorithms. These algorithms are useful in the case of searching a string within another string.

Pattern Searching

Pattern Searching

Top Ttheoretical Interview Questions

S.no Question Answer
1 What are different ways to create String Object? View
2 Can we compare String using the == operator? What is the risk? View
3 How to replace a substring with ( from a string ? View
4 What is the difference between String and StringBuffer in java? View
5 How do I convert a string version of a number in an arbitrary base to an integer? View
6 How do you compare two Strings in Java? View
7 What is String in Data Structures?   View
8 What is the difference between Strings vs. Char arrays?   View
9 What is a null-terminated String?   View
10  Reverse a String using Stack View
11 Difference between String, StringBuffer and StringBuilder? View
12 Why String is immutable or final in Java View
13 What Is the String Constant Pool? View
14 Remove Invalid Parentheses View
15 What is the use of the substring() method? View
16 Expian how can I remove the trailing spaces from a String View
17 Explain how can I pad a string to known length View
18 Explain how can you tell whether two string are the same View
19 How to check if the String is empty? View
20 Can we use a string in the switch case in java? View
21 How string concatenation using the + operator works in Java? View
22 What are the different string methods in Java? View
23 What do you mean by StringJoiner? View
24 How to convert string representation of list to a list? View
26 How do I tokenize a string in C++? View
27 Print all permutations of the String ? View
28 How do you reverse a given string in place?  View
29 How to convert a byte array to String? View
30 How to calculate total number of vowels in String? View
31 Write a program to convert a string in lowercase View
32 Write a program to convert a string in uppercase. View
33 Write a C++ program to find the length of the string. View
34 In what way should two whether they are anagrams?strings be compared to determine  View
35 Write a java program to tOGGLE each word in string? View
36 How to convert String to Date in java? View
37 Java Program to reverse a given String with preserving the position of space View
38 Multiply Large Numbers represented as Strings View
39 String “indexOf” Method View

Top 50 interview coding question

Easy Problems on String

S.no Question Practice
1 Reverse words in a given string Link
2 Longest Common Prefix Link
3 Roman Number to Integer Link
4 Integer to Roman Link
5 Closest Strings Link
6 Divisible by 7 Link
7 Encrypt the String – II Link
8 Equal point in a string of brackets Link
9 Isomorphic Strings Link
10 Check if two strings are k-anagrams or not Link
11 Panagram Checking Link
12 Check if string is rotated by two places Link

 

Medium Problems on String

S.no Question Practice
1 Minimum Deletions Link
2 Number of Distinct Subsequences Link
3 Implement Atoi Link
4 Validate an IP address Link
5 License Key Formatting Link
6 Find largest word in dictionary Link
7 Equal 0,1, and 2 Link
8 Find and replace in String Link
9 Add Binary Strings Link
10 Sum of two large numbers Link
11 Multiply two strings Link
12 Look and say Pattern Link
13 Minimum times A has to be repeated to make B a Substring Link
14 Excel Sheet – I Link
15 Form a Palindrome Link
16 Find the N-th character Link
17 Next higher palindromic numbers using the same set of digits Link
18 Length of longest prefix suffix Link
19 Longest K unique characters substring Link
20 Smallest window in a string containing all characters Link
21 Longest Palindromic Subsequence Link
22 Longest substring without repeating characters Link
23 Substrings of length k with k-1 distinct elements Link
24 Count number of substrings Link
25 Interleaved Strings Link
26 Print Anagrams together Link
27 Rank the permutation Link
28 A Special Keyboard Link

 

Hard Problems on String

S.no Question Practice
1 Restrictive Candy Crush Link
2 Edit Distance Link
3 Search Pattern (KMP-Algorithm) Link
4 Search Pattern (Rabin-Karp Algorithm) Link
5 Search Pattern (Z-algorithm) Link
6 Shortest Common Supersequence Link
7 Number of words with K maximum distinct vowels Link
8 Longest substring to form a Palindrome Link
9 Longest Valid Parenthesis Link
10 Distinct Palindromic Substrings Link

Advantages of using String:

  • Strings provide us very helpful string algorithms for solving very complex problems with less time complexity.
  • String provides us a string library to create string objects which will allow strings to be dynamically allocated and also boundary issues are handled inside class library.
  • String helps as a base for many data structures such as tries, suffix trees, suffix arrays, ternary search trees, and much more.
  • String provides us various inbuilt functions under string library such as sort(), substr(i, j), compare(), push_back() and many more.
  • In C language strings can have compile-time allocation and determination of size. This makes them more efficient, faster run-time at the time of using them.
  • In C++ we do not need to predefine the size of a string.

Disadvantages of String:

  • Strings are generally slow in performing operations like input, output.
  • In JAVA strings are  immutable they cannot be modified or changed
  • In JAVA you cannot extend string class which means overriding methods in string class is not possible.
  • C strings are fixed in size and are not dynamic.

Application of String:

  • Information Retrieval: String applications help us to retrieve information from unknown data sources( large datasets used as input) along with the help of string matching/retrieval module helps us to retrieve important information.
  • Encoding/Decoding(Cipher Text Generation): Strings can be used for encoding and decoding for the safe transfer of data from sender to receiver to make sure no one in the way of transmission gets to read your data as they could perform both active and passive attacks. The text you transfer as a message gets ciphered at the sender’s end and decoded at the receiver’s end.
  • Plagiarism Checker: Strings can be used to find Plagiarism in codes, and contents in a very little amount of time using string matching algorithms. Using this the computer could easily tell us the percentage of code, and text written by any two users matches by how much percent.
  • Improved Filters For The Approximate Suffix-Prefix Overlap Problem: Strings and its algorithms applications help us to provide improved Filters for the Approximate Suffix-Prefix Overlap Problem. The approximate suffix-prefix overlap problem is to find all pairs of strings from a given set such that a prefix of one string is similar to a suffix of the other.

Real-Time Application of String:

  • Search Engines: Strings can be used in many search engine techniques. Most of the data are available on the internet in the form of textual data. Due to huge amount of uncategorized text data, it becomes really difficult to search a particular content. Web search engines organize the data and categorize the data string matching algorithms.
  • Intrusion Detection System: Strings can be used in intrusion detection systems. Packets that contain intrusion-related keywords are found by applying string matching algorithms.
  • Bioinformatics: Strings can be used in the field of Bioinformatics( DNA sequencing). String matching module can be used to solve issues or problems regarding genetic sequences and to find the patterns in DNA.
  • Spam Detection: Strings can be used to serve as a spam detection system as the concept of string matching algorithm will be applied here. Spam (unwanted emails) could cause great financial loss. All the spam filters use the concept of string matching to identify and discard the spam.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) on String

1. Is string a linear data structure?

Yes, string is a linear data structure.

2. Where are strings used?

It is used to store the sequence of characters.

3. Is string a data type?

A string is generally considered a data type and is often implemented as an array data structure of bytes (or words) that stores a sequence of elements, typically characters, using some character encoding.

4. Why is text called string?

Text are also called string because it consists of sequence of characters like string.

5. What are characters in a string?

Each digit in a string is a character and character is a single visual object used to represent text, numbers, or symbols.

Conclusion

After the discussion, we concluded that Strings are a simple method to store some textual information and Strings are an array of characters that terminate with a null character ‘\0’. The difference between a character array and a string is that, unlike the character array, the string ends with a null character. Apart from this we have also discussed Top theoretical interview questions as well as Top 50 interview coding question on string which will help you to tackle interview problems.

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