Medium Difficulty
Zigzag Conversion



Zigzag Conversion

Link to algo

To solve the problem of converting a string into a zigzag pattern with a given number of rows, we can use an array of strings to represent each row in the pattern. We iterate through the input string character by character, assigning each character to the appropriate row in a zigzag pattern. Finally, we concatenate the rows to form the converted string.

Here's an implementation of the algorithm:

function convert(s, numRows) {
  if (numRows === 1) {
    return s; // Edge case where numRows is 1, return the input string as is
  const rows = new Array(Math.min(s.length, numRows)).fill(""); // Array to store rows
  let currentRow = 0; // Pointer to the current row
  let goingDown = false; // Flag to indicate the direction of movement
  for (let i = 0; i < s.length; i++) {
    rows[currentRow] += s[i]; // Assign the character to the current row
    if (currentRow === 0 || currentRow === numRows - 1) {
      goingDown = !goingDown; // Change direction at the first and last row
    currentRow += goingDown ? 1 : -1; // Move to the next row based on the direction
  return rows.join(""); // Concatenate the rows to form the converted string

In this solution, we handle the edge case where numRows is 1. In that case, we return the input string s as is since there is no zigzag pattern to form.

We initialize the rows array with a length equal to the minimum of s.length and numRows. Each element in the rows array represents a row in the zigzag pattern.

We also initialize currentRow to 0, which represents the current row we're assigning characters to, and goingDown to false, indicating the initial direction of movement.

We then iterate through the characters of s and assign each character to the current row in the zigzag pattern. We update goingDown whenever we reach the first or last row to change the direction of movement. We move to the next row by incrementing currentRow if goingDown is true or decrementing it if goingDown is false.

Finally, we join the elements of the rows array using an empty string as the separator to form the converted string.

Here's an example usage of the convert function:

console.log(convert("PAYPALISHIRING", 3)); // Output: "PAHNAPLSIIGYIR"
console.log(convert("PAYPALISHIRING", 4)); // Output: "PINALSIGYAHRPI"
console.log(convert("A", 1)); // Output: "A"

The time complexity of this algorithm is O(n), where n is the length of the input string s. We iterate through each character of s once.

The space complexity is O(n) as well. We create an array of rows with a length proportional to the input string length, and the concatenated converted string will also have the same length.