VB.NET Remove Duplicate CharsThis VB.NET example function removes the duplicate characters in a string with nested for-loops. It tracks encountered characters.
Duplicate chars. Often a string contains many characters, and some of these are duplicates. And sometimes we want to remove the duplicated data.
With a special method,
we can remove duplicate characters, leaving only the first ones that appear. Many methods can be used, but a simple method with nested loops may suffice.Loop Over String
Consider this RemoveDuplicateChars method. We have a Function that receives (and returns) a String. We create 2 character arrays as the method begins.Char Array
Table: This stores each character as we encounter it. We can see if a character has been encountered by scanning this table.
Result: We build up our string in a Char array. We convert it to a string at the end of the method.
Loops: We loop over the argument string. We see if the character has been encountered before by scanning the table.
Finally: When we are on a new Char we have not seen before, we add it to our result string and to the "encountered" table.
VB.NET program that removes duplicate characters
Function RemoveDuplicateChars(ByVal value As String) As String
' This table stores characters we have encountered.
Dim table(value.Length) As Char
Dim tableLength As Integer = 0
' This is our result.
Dim result(value.Length) As Char
Dim resultLength As Integer = 0
For i As Integer = 0 To value.Length - 1
Dim current As Char = value(i)
Dim exists As Boolean = False
' Loop over all characters in the table of encountered chars.
For y As Integer = 0 To tableLength - 1
' See if we have already encountered this character.
If current = table(y) Then
' End the loop.
exists = True
y = tableLength
' If we have not encountered the character, add it.
If exists = False Then
' Add character to the table of encountered characters.
table(tableLength) = current
tableLength += 1
' Add character to our result string.
result(resultLength) = current
resultLength += 1
' Return the unique character string.
Return New String(result, 0, resultLength)
' Test the method we wrote.
Dim test As String = "having a good day"
Dim result As String = RemoveDuplicateChars(test)
test = "areopagitica"
result = RemoveDuplicateChars(test)
The algorithm is not as fast on all strings as possible. But it can handle long strings because it only needs to check up to 128 ASCII characters for duplicates.
Note: If your strings are not ASCII then this will not apply and the algorithm may be slower.
Tip: Consider a 1000 character string. If we loop over it to check for duplicates each time, we could have a slow operation.
But: With the "encountered" table, we would have a limit of 128 ASCII characters, making the operation faster.
A review. This duplicate-char removal algorithm is not optimal for all strings. And a specialized method would work better for many programs.
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