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What is String – Definition & Meaning

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In Data Structures and Algorithms (DSA), a String can also be defined as a sequence of characters, stored in contiguous memory locations, terminated by a special character called the null character ‘\0’. 



Characteristics of String:

In the context of Data Structures and Algorithms, strings have the following properties:

  • Ordered: Strings are ordered sequences of characters, where each character has a unique position in the string.
  • Indexable: Strings can be indexed, meaning that individual characters within a string can be accessed using a numerical index.
  • Comparable: Strings can be compared to each other to determine their relative order or equality.

Applications of String:

Strings are widely used in computer science and have many applications in various fields, some of which are:

  • Text Processing: Strings are used to represent and manipulate text data, such as in text editors, word processors, and other applications that deal with text.
  • Pattern Matching: Strings can be searched for patterns, such as regular expressions or specific sub-strings, to extract or process data in a specific way.
  • Data Compression: Strings can be compressed to reduce the amount of storage required to store them. String compression algorithms, such as Huffman coding and run-length encoding, are commonly used in data compression applications.

To learn about more applications, refer to this article.

Advantages of String: 

  • Widely Supported: Strings are a fundamental data type in most programming languages, making them widely available and well-supported.
  • Efficient Manipulation: Many algorithms and data structures have been developed to efficiently manipulate strings, such as string matching algorithms, string compression algorithms, and data structures like tries and suffix arrays.
  • Ability to Model Real-World Data: Strings are often used to model real-world data, such as names, addresses, and other forms of text data, making them a useful tool in many applications.
  • Text Mining and Natural Language Processing: Strings are used as input to algorithms for text mining and natural language processing, such as sentiment analysis and named entity recognition.

To learn about more advantages refer to this article.

Disadvantages of String:

  • Encoding Issues: Strings can be represented in different encodings, such as UTF-8 or UTF-16, which can cause compatibility issues when processing strings from different sources.
  • Immutable: Strings are often implemented as immutable data structures, meaning that once a string has been created, it cannot be modified. This can lead to additional overhead when manipulating strings, as new strings must be created for every modification.
  • Slow Concatenation: Concatenating strings can be slow, as it requires creating a new string and copying all of the characters from the original strings into the new string.

To learn more about the disadvantages, refer to this article.

What else can you see?

  1. Introduction to Strings – Data Structure and Algorithm Tutorials
  2. Applications, Advantages and Disadvantages of String
  3. Storage for Strings in C

Last Updated : 19 Jan, 2024
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