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Thread: Cannot figure out this bug for the life of me!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Beans
    73

    Cannot figure out this bug for the life of me!

    Hi guys. I have a question with a program I'm writing for a class. Its supposed to take two words and figure out what the biggest prefix is. Ie if you input "wall" and "wallet" it's supposed to spit out "wall".

    It works great for small words but for some reason as soon as i get bigger than 4 letters it gives me some of the right answer but then messes up the last letter and adds on some unique characters to the matching parts.

    Should be a straightforward program but I cant find my bug.

    Here's the program :
    Code:
      1 #include <stdio.h>
      2 #include <string.h>
    
      6 int
      7 main()
      8 {
      9         char w1[256], w2[256], prefix[256];
     10         int i = 0, j = 0;
     11         printf("Enter two words: ");
     12         scanf("%s %s", w1, w2);
     13         if(w1[0] != w2[0])
     14         {
     15                 printf("%s and %s have no common prefix.\n", w1, w2);
     16         return 0;
     17         }
     18         while((w1[i] != '\0')&&(w2[i] != '\0'))
     19         {
     20                 if(w1[i] == w2[i] && !(strlen(prefix) >= strlen(w1)) && !(strlen(prefix) >= strlen(w2)))
     21                 {
     22                         prefix[j] = w1[i];
     23                         j++;
     24                         i++;
     25                 }//If the characters are equal, store the character in prefix.
     26                 else if(w1[i] != w2[i])
     27                 {
     28                         break;
     29                 }//If they are not equal, quit loop.
     30                 else 
     31                 {
     32                         break;
     33                 }//If something else happened, quit loop.
     34         }
     35         printf("The longest common prefix of %s and %s is %s\n", w1, w2, prefix);
     36         return 0;
     37 }
    Here are some outputs:

    Code:
    [drmcb@pc30 ~/Homework7]$ ./prefix.out
    Enter two words: aaaa aa
    The longest common prefix of aaaa and aa is aa
    [drmcb@pc30 ~/Homework7]$ ./prefix.out
    Enter two words: aaaaaaaa aaaaa
    The longest common prefix of aaaaaaaa and aaaaa is aaaas��F
    I'm probabaly doing something really dumb but ive been messing with this for like 2 hours now and am tired of looking at it. If its quick to see what i did wrong please let me know. If not, don't worry about it. I'll just work on it again later.

    Thank you!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Poland
    Beans
    4,301
    Distro
    Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx

    Re: Cannot figure out this bug for the life of me!

    if you see crap after the proper result, that means unterminated string. There is a \0 missing somewhere that should finalize the value of prefix. Just set prefix[j+1] to \0 so you have properly terminated string at all times.

    Btw stop using strlen everywhere, just get w1 and w2 length once, pick the lower one and it's your upper bound of i.
    Last edited by Vaphell; March 13th, 2014 at 07:20 AM.
    if your question is answered, mark the thread as [SOLVED]. Thx.
    To post code or command output, use [code] tags.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Bordeaux, France
    Beans
    11,297
    Distro
    Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    Re: Cannot figure out this bug for the life of me!

    In addition to what Vaphell said, two don'ts to keep in mind:

    1. Don't use scanf().
    2. Don't write comments which just paraphrase the code. Code should be commented if and only if its meaning is not already obvious.
    「明後日の夕方には帰ってるからね。」


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Beans
    20
    Distro
    Xubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    Re: Cannot figure out this bug for the life of me!

    youre overcomplicating it.

    try doing something like this (pseudocode):

    HTML Code:
    INPUT: str1, str2
    
    if (length(str1) < length(str2)) 
         swap(str1,str2)                 //make str2 the shorter string to save time later
    
    len = length(str2)
    while (len > 0)
    {
             if (substring(str2,0,len) == substring(str1,0,len))
             {
                      longest_prefix = substring(str1,0,len)
                      break out of loop
             }
             len = len-1
    }
    
    if (length(longest_prefix) > 0)
              OUTPUT: longest prefix is longest_prefix
    else
              OUTPUT: no common prefix

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Beans
    20
    Distro
    Xubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

    Re: Cannot figure out this bug for the life of me!

    look into the strstr() function as well

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Beans
    73

    Re: Cannot figure out this bug for the life of me!

    Awesome. Adding the "prefix[j+1] = ' \0';" worked like a charm! Thank you guys so much for helping me out!

    Also thanks for the suggestions on making my coding habits better.

    Thanks again guys. I really appreciate it!

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