Check if string follows order of characters defined by a pattern or not | Set 2

Given an input string and a pattern, check if characters in the input string follows the same order as determined by characters present in the pattern. Assume there won’t be any duplicate characters in the pattern.

Another solution to the same problem is posted here.


Input: string = "engineers rock", pattern = "er";
Output: true
All 'e' in the input string are before all 'r'.

Input: string = "engineers rock", pattern = "egr";
Output: false
There are two 'e' after 'g' in the input string.

Input: string = "engineers rock", pattern = "gsr";
Output: false
There are one 'r' before 's' in the input string.

The idea here is to reduce the given string to the pattern given. For characters given in the pattern, we only keep the corresponding characters in the string. In the new string, we delete continuous repeated characters. The modified string should then be equal to the pattern given. Lastly, we compare modified string to the pattern given and return true of false accordingly.


str = "bfbaeadeacc", pat[] = "bac"

1) Remove extra characters from str (characters
  that are not present in pat[]
str = "bbaaacc"   [f, e and d are removed]

3) Removed consecutive repeating occurrences of 
str = "bac"   

4) Since str is same as pat[], we return true

Below is Java implementation of above steps.





// Java program to check if characters of a string follow
// pattern defined by given pattern.
import java.util.*;
public class OrderOfCharactersForPattern
    public static boolean followsPattern(String str, String pattern)
        // Insert all characters of pattern in a hash set,
        Set<Character> patternSet = neHashSet<>();
        for (int i=0; i<pattern.length(); i++)
        // Build modified string (string with characters only from
        // pattern are taken)
        StringBuilder modifiedString = new StringBuilder(str);
        for (int i=str.length()-1; i>=0; i--)
            if (!patternSet.contains(modifiedString.charAt(i)))
        // Remove more than one consecutive occurrences of pattern
        // characters from modified string.
        for (int i=modifiedString.length()-1; i>0; i--)
            if (modifiedString.charAt(i) == modifiedString.charAt(i-1))
        // After above modifications, the length of modified string
        // must be same as pattern length
        if (pattern.length() != modifiedString.length())
            return false;
        // And pattern characters must also be same as modified string
        // characters
        for (int i=0; i<pattern.length(); i++)
            if (pattern.charAt(i) != modifiedString.charAt(i))
                return false;
        return true;
    // Driver program
    int main()
        String str = "engineers rock";
        String pattern = "er";
        System.out.println("Expected: true, Actual: " +
                           followsPattern(str, pattern));
        str = "engineers rock";
        pattern = "egr";
        System.out.println("Expected: false, Actual: " +
                          followsPattern(str, pattern));
        str = "engineers rock";
        pattern = "gsr";
        System.out.println("Expected: false, Actual: " +
                           followsPattern(str, pattern));
        str = "engineers rock";
        pattern = "eger";
        System.out.println("Expected: true, Actual: " +
                           followsPattern(str, pattern));
        return 0;



Expected: true, Actual: true
Expected: false, Actual: false
Expected: false, Actual: false
Expected: true, Actual: true

Time Complexity: Time complexity of above implementations is actually O(mn + n^2) as we use deleteCharAt() to remove characters. We can optimize above solution to work in linear time. Instead of using deleteCharAr(), we can create an empty string and add only required characters to it.

StringBuilder is used to operate on input string. This is because StringBuilder is mutable, while String is immutable object. To create a new string takes O(n) space, so extra space is O(n).

We have discussed two more approaches to solve this problem.
Check if string follows order of characters defined by a pattern or not | Set 1
Check if string follows order of characters defined by a pattern or not | Set 3

This article is contributed by Lalit Ramesh Sirsikar. If you like GeeksforGeeks and would like to contribute, you can also write an article using or mail your article to See your article appearing on the GeeksforGeeks main page and help other Geeks.

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