I'm a little rusty in Java, but I'm using it to get ready for interviews. Here's the problem description from HackerRank:

Problem Statement

Suppose you have a string \$S\$ which has length \$N\$ and is indexed from \$0\$ to \$N−1\$. String \$R\$ is the reverse of the string \$S\$. The string \$S\$ is funny if the condition \$|S_i−S_{i−1}|=|R_i−R_{i−1}|\$ is true for every \$i\$ from 1 to \$N−1\$.

(Note: Given a string str, stri denotes the ascii value of the ith character (0-indexed) of str. |x| denotes the absolute value of an integer x)

Input Format

First line of the input will contain an integer T. T testcases follow. Each of the next T lines contains one string S.


  • \$1 \le T \le 10\$
  • \$2 \le\$ length of S \$\le 10000\$

Output Format

For each string, print Funny or Not Funny in separate lines.

This passing solution took me about 20 minutes, so that might be a bit long given the difficulty of the problem. I'm open to critiques on my speed too.

import java.io.*;
import java.util.*;
import java.text.*;
import java.math.*;
import java.util.regex.*;

public class Solution {
    private static boolean isFunny (String s)
        String rev = reverse(s);
        boolean stillEq = true;
        for (int i = 2; i < s.length() && stillEq; ++i)
            int comp = (int)s.charAt(i) - (int)s.charAt(i-1);
            int comp2 = (int)rev.charAt(i) - (int)rev.charAt(i-1);
            stillEq = Math.abs(comp) == Math.abs(comp2);

        if (stillEq)
            return true;
            return false;

    private static String reverse (String s)
        if (s.length() > 0)
            return s.charAt(s.length()-1) + reverse(s.substring(0, s.length()-1));
            return "";

    public static void main(String[] args) {
        Scanner sc = new Scanner(System.in);
        int tests = sc.nextInt();
        for (int i = 0; i < tests; ++i)
            String out = isFunny(sc.next()) ? "Funny" : "Not Funny";
            System.out.println( out );
  • 1
    Welcome to CodeReview, ironicaldiction. I hope you get some fine answers. – Legato Sep 24 '15 at 3:14
  • 1
    Wouldn't it be easier to just keep two counters and not actually reverse the string? Seems a bit unnecessary to physically reverse when you can easily compute the math involved. – corsiKa Sep 24 '15 at 7:01
  • 1
    Please do not edit your question to include changes you made due to answers. If you wish to indicate what changes you made, you should post a self-answer citing the answers you used to make your changes, or a new question if you still want improvements on your (new) code. – 202_accepted Sep 25 '15 at 18:16
up vote 12 down vote accepted
  • Bug

    The main loop starts at i = 2. That is, s.charAt(1) - s.charAt(0) is never attended to. Suspicious, isn't it?

  • Naming

    A name comp (and comp2) presumes that it carries some information about comparison. It obviously doesn't. diff and rdiff sound better.

  • Algorithm

    Reversal of the string just wastes time. You may work the same string from both directions simultaneously:

    for (int i = 1; i < s.length(); ++i) {
        diff = s.charAt(i) - s.charAt(i - 1);
        rdiff = s.charAt(s.length() - 1 - i) - s.charAt(s.length() - 1 - (i-1));
  • Returning the comparison result is an anti-pattern.

    return stillEq;

    achieves the same result as

    if (stillEq)
        return true;
        return false;

    in a much cleaner way.

  • If you insist on reversing a string, better come up with an iterative method. Java cannot eliminate tail recursion.

What jumps out at me is:

private static String reverse (String s)
    if (s.length() > 0)
        return s.charAt(s.length()-1) + reverse(s.substring(0, s.length()-1));
        return "";

This has two problems:

  1. it's recursive - Java doesn't handle tail optimisation and recursion is slow
  2. It makes a rather large number of copies - String.substring copies the underlying String
  3. it's very long

I would suggest:

private static String reverse (final String s) {
    return new StringBuilder(s).reverse().toString();

I would also suggest that you always use brackets for your if...else statements. It's generally accepted common practice and with good reason - the few lines that you save by not doing so lead to some very insidious bugs.

On an algorithmic note: why reverse the String at all? Use one loop and read the String both forwards and backwards simultaneously.

For further improvement, walk through a comparison manually:

s = abcdef    
rs = fedcba

Leads to 5 distinct tests:

  1. |b - a| == |e - f|
  2. |c - b| == |d - e|
  3. |d - c| == |c - d|
  4. |e - d| == |b - c|
  5. |f - e| == |a - b|

What do you notice about the pairs 1. <-> 5. and 2. <-> 4.? There is a simpler solution to this problem than brute force...

In addition to the other answers.

  • Let your IDE format your code instead of doing it by hand. This will avoid inconsistencies in spacing.
  • Use an early return instead of the stillEq variable. This will make your program faster.
  • Since the task talks about reading lines, you should use Scanner.nextLine instead of Scanner.next.
  • Write i++ instead of ++i. While they are completely equivalent to the compiler, the former style is much more common. (Using the latter style tells the informed reader that you come from a C++ background and you don't trust the compiler to generate efficient code no matter how you write it.)

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