Just for fun, I decided to try my hand at implementing a Rot13 program, which is a simple problem which takes
a string as its input and encodes it by moving each letter 13 characters forward or backward.
For example, since there are 26 letters in the alphabet, we can assign indices to each letter starting at
and ending at
'z'. The Rot13 program would switch (or rotate) the character
'n' since it has the index
Giving this program the string input
'apple' would (hopefully) return
To that end, the following is the first pass I made at implementing the program:
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In this solution, I created a class
Translator that defines constant
ALPHABET string representing the alphabet and
an instance method
#translate that takes in a string, splits it into an array of its characters, translates each character
using a private method
#translate_char, and then returns a string composed of those translated characters.
#translate_char method checks the capitalization of the character, checks the index of the character against
ALPHABET constant, and then rotates that character by returning the appropriate character in
ALPHABET at that given index minus 13.
All in all, this got the job done.
However, I later discovered Ruby’s
String#tr method, which allows you to replace characters in a string. It is similar to
#gsub method, but while
#gsub can match complex patterns with complex results,
#tr can only replace fixed characters.
In any case, you can call
'hello'.tr('el', 'ip') to get the result
hippo since it will replace every
It turns out that the above implementation can be greatly simplified by the following:
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Spaces and punctuation are preserved since it only checks the string for those characters and replaces them accordingly, ignoring all else. I also realized at this point that my original solution would not have accounted for punctuation or special characters and would have stripped them out in the result.
String#tr method, I was able to simplify my ~30 line class down to 5 lines in a more idiomatic (and more effective!)