What Is an Example of a Stack Data Structure?


Larry Thompson

A stack data structure is a fundamental concept in computer science and is widely used in various applications. It follows the Last-In-First-Out (LIFO) principle, where the last element inserted is the first one to be removed. In this article, we will explore a classic example of a stack data structure.

Example of a Stack Data Structure:
One common example that illustrates the stack data structure is the Undo feature found in many software applications. Consider a text editor where you can perform multiple actions like typing, deleting, or formatting text. Each action you perform is stored on a stack.

How the Stack Works:
Every time you make an action, such as typing a character or deleting a word, it gets pushed onto the top of the stack. This means it becomes the most recent action performed. The previous actions are still stored but are now below this new action on the stack.

Undoing Actions:
When you want to undo an action, such as removing a character or undoing formatting changes, the most recent action on top of the stack gets popped off and reversed. This effectively undoes your last action.

Example Scenario:
Let’s say you type “Hello” and then delete it. The stack will look like this:

  • Delete
  • Type: “Hello”

If you decide to undo your deletion by pressing the Undo button, the “Delete” action will be popped off from the top of the stack and reversed:

  • Type: “Hello”

Now your previous action has been undone, and “Hello” reappears in your document.

Multiple Undo Operations:
The beauty of using a stack for storing actions is that it allows for multiple levels of undo. Each time you perform a new action, it gets pushed onto the stack, making it the most recent action. This means you can undo multiple actions by simply popping them off the stack one by one.

Redo Functionality:
In addition to undoing actions, the stack data structure also enables redo functionality. When you undo an action and then decide that you want to reapply it, the undone action can be pushed back onto the stack.

Stacks are a powerful and versatile data structure used in many real-world scenarios. The example of an Undo feature in a text editor showcases their practical application. By understanding how stacks work and leveraging their LIFO behavior, developers can implement features like undo/redo functionality efficiently.

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