Thursday, October 3, 2013

5.3: A Generic Search Iterator

We can encapsulate the core strategy of the previous example in a code structure that we can then reuse to create iterators such as the IntPartition iterator. The idea is to extract the code that revolves around the agenda and the iteration. To use this very generic iteration, we need to supply a function that will generate new items for the agenda from the current item.

type ChildrenFunc func(interface{}) []interface{}

type depthfirst struct {
    children ChildrenFunc
    agenda   []interface{}
    node     interface{}
    err      error

The iterator consists of the agenda, the current value in the node item, and a function to generate new items.

func Dfs(root interface{}, children ChildrenFunc) i.Forward {
    dfs := depthfirst{children: children}
    dfs.agenda = append(dfs.agenda, root)
    return &dfs

To create the iterator we set the agenda to the root item, call Next() to generate the first value and return.

func (dfs *depthfirst) AtEnd() bool {
    return len(dfs.agenda) == 0

func (dfs *depthfirst) Value() interface{} {
    if dfs.AtEnd() {
        dfs.err = fmt.Errorf("Next: Beyond end")
        return nil
    return dfs.node

node is the current value of the iteration and the iteration is over once the agenda is empty.

func (dfs *depthfirst) Next() error {
    if dfs.AtEnd() {
        dfs.err = fmt.Errorf("Next: Beyond end")
        return dfs.err
    dfs.node, dfs.agenda = dfs.agenda[0], dfs.agenda[1:len(dfs.agenda)]
    dfs.agenda = append(dfs.agenda, dfs.children(dfs.node)...)
    return nil

The iteration should be familiar. Pop the head of the agenda and call the function we received to generate the next batch of items from the current item and append them to the agenda.

The IntPartition iterator is now a short piece of code that focuses on solving only the problem of partitioning an integer; all the iteration bookkeeping is gone. The only new thing here is, rather than adding items to the agenda for further iteration, we create a temporary slice and add our generated nodes to it. This slice is the list of children we return to the Dfs iterator.

func IntPartition(n int) i.Forward {
    return Dfs([]int{n}, func(node interface{}) []interface{} {
        items, _ := node.([]int)
        largest, rest := items[0], items[1:len(items)]
        min, max := 1, largest/2
        if len(rest) > 0 {
            min = rest[0]
        next := make([]interface{}, 0)
        for r := igen.Range(min, max+1); !r.AtEnd(); r.Next() {
            next = append(next, (append([]int{largest - r.Int(), r.Int()}, rest...)))
        return next

Now its 15 lines of code rather than 50 lines of code. Yeah for iterator building blocks.

Get the source at GitHub. The Dfs iterator is also available in the iterator library.