What Is String and Its Types in Data Structure?

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Scott Campbell

In data structure, a string is a sequence of characters. It is one of the most commonly used data types in programming. Strings are used to store and manipulate textual data, such as names, addresses, and messages.

Types of Strings

There are several types of strings that you should be familiar with:

1. Null-terminated String

A null-terminated string, also known as a C-style string, is a string of characters terminated by a null character (‘\0’). The null character represents the end of the string. For example:


char name[] = "John Doe";

The length of the null-terminated string is determined by counting all the characters before the null character.

2. Fixed-length String

A fixed-length string has a predetermined length and can store a specific number of characters. The length is usually defined when declaring the string variable. For example:


char address[50];

The maximum number of characters that can be stored in this string is 50.

3. Variable-length String

A variable-length string, also known as a dynamic string, can change its size dynamically during runtime. This allows for flexible storage based on the actual length of the content. In many programming languages, such as Python or JavaScript, strings are automatically handled as variable-length strings.

Operations on Strings

Strings support various operations that allow you to manipulate and work with them effectively:

  • Concatenation: Combining two or more strings to create a new string. For example, “Hello” + “World” results in “HelloWorld”.
  • Comparison: Comparing two strings to determine if they are equal or which one comes first in lexicographic order.
  • Substring: Extracting a portion of a string. For example, getting the substring “lo” from the string “Hello”.
  • Length: Finding the length of a string, i.e., the number of characters it contains.

String Manipulation and Functions

In most programming languages, there are built-in functions and libraries specifically designed for string manipulation. These functions provide a wide range of operations such as searching for a specific character or pattern within a string, replacing parts of a string, and converting strings to uppercase or lowercase.

Here are some commonly used functions for string manipulation:

  • strlen(): Returns the length of a null-terminated string.
  • strcpy(): Copies one null-terminated string to another.
  • strcat(): Concatenates two null-terminated strings.
  • strcmp(): Compares two null-terminated strings lexicographically.

Note that these functions may vary depending on the programming language you are using. It’s important to consult the documentation or references specific to your chosen programming language for accurate information on available string manipulation functions.

In Conclusion

A string is an essential data structure used to store and manipulate textual data. It comes in different types, such as null-terminated, fixed-length, and variable-length strings. By understanding the types and operations on strings, you can effectively work with textual data in your programs.

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