# Recursive reverse function

Write a recursive version of the function reverse(s), which reverses the string s in place.

Here is my solution:

void reverse(char a[], int i, int j) {
char tmp;

if(i >= j) {
return;
}

reverse(a, i + 1, j - 1);
tmp = a[i];
a[i] = a[j];
a[j] = tmp;
}


This exercise is right after the presentation of the quicksort algorithm.

This is the signature of the quicksort function presented in the book:

void qsort(int v[], int left, int right)


This is why I added 2 new parameters to the functions - to narrow the size of the array.

There are 2 base cases:

1. When i == j, so n is even
2. When i > j, so n is odd

n represents the number of characters in string s.

It looks ok to me.

As a few comments in a random order:

• I guess I don't have to tell you that writing a non-recursive function for this is quite straightforward.
• You could give tmp its final value as you define it : char tmp = a[i];.
• You could make it a tail call recursion by doing reverse(a, i+1, j-1) at the end.
• It might be a good option to define a function reverse taking only the array and the length as an argument and calling the one you've just posted here. If you were to use this function in a C++ program, you could do this with a single function definition if you use default parameter (i is 0 by default). The main drawback is that you have to give the parameter a somewhat awkward order.
• C functions can't have default parameters as in C++. You could have variadic functions, but that would be nasty. Jan 24, 2014 at 7:47
• Indeed, updated my answer. Jan 24, 2014 at 9:24

Just to add my 2 cents on top of the comments of @Josay: in C you can make your function an helper function to a wrapper with a more convenient interface.

For instance you can think of passing only the \0 terminated string to the interface:

static void reverse_helper(char * str, size_t ii, size_t jj) {
// Exchange characters
char tmp = str[ii];
str[ii]  = str[jj];
str[jj]  = tmp;
// Check next move
ii++;
jj--;
if( ii >= jj) {
return;
}
reverse_helper(str,ii,jj);
}

// Requires a '\0' terminated string
void reverse(char * str) {
size_t str_length = 0;
while( str[str_length] != '\0') {
str_length++;
}
if (str_length == 0) return;
reverse_helper(str,0,str_length-1);
}


Apart from this minor detail, your function looks completely fine to me.