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Hi guys and girls,

 

A recruiter asked me to do this coding challenge and was wondering if you had a more elegant solution or your thoughts on it.

 

EXERCISE FOR DEVELOPER CANDIDATES: Unit Number Sorting Exercise

 

We often deal with unit number / resident name data. These two pieces of information are used by our users to identify a lease. Many of our screens and reports show a list of leases.

 

The task is to sort lease data read from a file and to print the sorted data to STDOUT. The data looks as follows (sample also attached):

 

#50 - Smith

#8 - Johnson

#100 - Sanders

#1B - Adams

#1A - Kessenich

 

Each line contains a unit number and a resident name. The data should be sorted by unit number.

 

Develop a solution in PHP and one other language of your choice that reads the data from a file and prints the data (sorted by unit number) to STDOUT. The printed strings should not be modified from how they appear in the input file.

 

Here is my solution:

<?php
define('br','<br />');

// open the file
$fp = fopen('input.txt','rb+');

if (false === $fp)
{
    die ('failed to open file');
}

$numbers = array();
$letters = array();

// read the file line by line
while (($line = fgets($fp, 1024)) !== false)
{
    // split the string by unit number and name
    $str = explode(' - ',$line);

    // separate unit numbers from units with letters
    if (preg_match('/[a-zA-Z]/', $str[0]))
    {
       $letters[$str[0]] = $str[1];
    }
    else 
    {
        $numbers[$str[0]] = $str[1];
    }
}   

if ( ! feof($fp))
{
    die ('error reading file');
}

fclose($fp);

// sort each array
ksort($numbers,SORT_STRING);
ksort($letters,SORT_STRING);

// merge arrays with unit letters appearing first
$output = array_merge($letters, $numbers);

// output data
foreach ($output as $key => $value)
{
    echo $key . ' - ' . $value . br;
}


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A simpler solution would be to read the file content into an array using file, sort the data using usort and then print it using a simple loop.

 

The compare function for usort would handle extracting the unit number from the strings and compare them to sort the data.

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or

$data = file('hansford.txt',FILE_IGNORE_NEW_LINES);
natsort($data);
foreach ($data as $line) {
    echo "$line<br>";
}

gives

#1A - Kessenich
#1B - Adams
#8 - Johnson
#50 - Smith
#100 - Sanders
  • Like 1

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