RogerBW's Blog

The Weekly Challenge 239: Same and Consistent 22 October 2023

I’ve been doing the Weekly Challenges. The latest involved joining strings and matching characters. (Note that this ends today.)

Task 1: Same String

You are given two arrays of strings.

Write a script to find out if the word created by concatenating the array elements is the same.

Pretty straightforward in almost any language, even PostScript with my extensions.

/samestring {
    () strjoin exch
    () strjoin
} bind def

More conventionally in Ruby:

def samestring(a, b)
  return a.join("") == b.join("")

Task 2: Consistent Strings

You are given an array of strings and allowed string having distinct characters.

A string is consistent if all characters in the string appear in the string allowed.

Write a script to return the number of consistent strings in the given array.

The obvious algorithm is to test one character at a time, and bail out if any of them isn't in the verification input. But most of the languages I use have some kind of short-cut for this: Rust, Ruby, Raku and Perl (via List::Utils) each have an all method on an interable plus a test function which returns a boolean, and I'd already written one for PostScript. Scala calls its all and any forall and exists, and JavaScript calls them every and some, but they work basically the same way. (Except Raku's. And Lua doesn't really like the idea of iterables at all.)

This use of an all function is not necessarily any more efficient than writing out, as I often have for these things, something along the lines of:

for n in items {
  if !test(n) {
    return false
return true

but it does mean that this kind of general-purpose workhorse code is moved away into a different place from the important and task-specific part, leaving the latter easier to comprehend.

So all the languages except Lua and Raku get something like this Rust:

fn consistentstrings(a: Vec<&str>, v: &str) -> u32 {
    let vs = v.chars().collect::<HashSet<char>>();
    a.iter().filter(|s| s.chars().unique().all(|c| vs.contains(&c))).count()
        as u32

"For each string in a, count it if each unique character in that string exists in vs; return the total count."

Raku's all uses a junction structure which needs a somewhat different approach. Where in most languages I'm doing something like

characters.all(|char| test(char))

Raku prefers


or in full

sub consistentstrings(@a, $v) {
    my $vs = $v.comb.Set;
    return @a.grep({$vs{$_.comb.Set.keys.all}:exists}).elems;

It's interestingly expressive, though I think it's pretty much unique to this language.

Full code on github.

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