Questions tagged [strings]

A "string" is a sequence of characters typically representing a unit of human-readable text. Questions on this topic deal with processing strings in programs, and how various languages and environments define and manipulate strings.

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82 votes
11 answers

Why is String immutable in Java?

I couldn't understand the reason of it. I always use String class like other developers, but when I modify the value of it, new instance of String created. What might be the reason of immutability ...
  • 1,712
63 votes
3 answers

Etymology of "String"

So it's obvious that a string of things is a sequence of things, and so a sequence of characters/bytes/etc. might as well be called a string. But who first called them strings? And when? And in what ...
  • 1,000
10 votes
1 answer

Match two strings but allow for a degree of error

How can I match two strings, but at the same time allow for X number of characters to be incorrect in the match. The number of errors should be a controllable variable. While X number of characters ...
11 votes
6 answers

Is it inefficient to concatenate strings one at a time?

I recall back from my days of programming in C that when two strings are joined, the OS must allocate memory for the joined string, then the program can copy all the string text over to the new area ...
  • 591
2 votes
3 answers

At which point using string-based enums can become a real problem?

This is a direct follower to this question. An answer given to that questions says (my understanding), that nowadays using string-based enums instead of integers isn't a much problem, because hosting ...
  • 2,266
81 votes
12 answers

SQL: empty string vs NULL value

I know this subject is a bit controversial and there are a lot of various articles/opinions floating around the internet. Unfortunatelly, most of them assume the person doesn't know what the ...
  • 2,254
39 votes
2 answers

Why store flags/enums in a database as strings instead of integers?

I've been browsing SQL dumps of some famous CMSes, including Drupal 7, Wordpress (some quite very old version), and some custom application based on Python. All of these dumps contained data with ...
  • 2,266
23 votes
5 answers

Why are strings so slow?

Ever since my very first programming class in high school, I've been hearing that string operations are slower — i.e. more costly — than the mythical "average operation." Why makes them so ...
  • 4,105
12 votes
4 answers

How defensive should we be?

We've been running Pex over some code, and it has been showing some good things (well bad things, but showing them before it gets to production!). However, one of the nice things about Pex is that it ...
  • 3,816
16 votes
7 answers

Should functions of a C library always expect a string's length?

I'm currently working on a library written in C. Many functions of this library expect a string as char* or const char* in their arguments. I started out with those functions always expecting the ...
14 votes
2 answers

When should I use StringBuilder or StringBuffer?

In a production web application, my fellow programmers used StringBuffer everywhere. Now I am taking care of application development and corrections. After reading StringBuilder and StringBuffer I ...
1 vote
3 answers

Why should I use lookup tables at all?

This question confirmed, what I was already aware of -- instead of directly storing strings in table, I should rather use integers or enums and join them with lookup table, to get, as a result, string,...
  • 2,266
1 vote
2 answers

Why doesn't Ruby have implicit conversion of Fixnum into String?

Ruby normally makes things easy. However, it doesn't allow implicitely converting a number to a string: 2.0.0p247 :010 > "a"+1 TypeError: no implicit conversion of Fixnum into String Why is this ...
  • 438
6 votes
4 answers

Is "use "abc".equals(myString) instead of myString.equals("abc") to avoid null pointer exception" already problematic in terms of business logic?

I heard numerous times that when comparing Strings in Java, to avoid null pointer exception, we should use "abc".equals(myString) instead of myString.equals("abc"), but my question is, is this idea ...
  • 5,715
2 votes
1 answer

Data Structure for "Intuitive" Text Matching

I've noticed that text editors and such have a more-than-prefix/suffix-based pattern matching algorithm going on behind the scenes. And StackOverflow's tag matching algorithm does more than just ...
  • 2,412
2 votes
3 answers

Why do most language's definition of substring allow substring("abc", 3) => ""

I've seen most languages have it be the case for their substring method that using the length of a given string in the method as the start index will give you an empty string. It is most definitely ...
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