# Which approach is preferable string parsing?

I want to find total word count in string. I have two methods as mentioned below.

public static int Wordcount(string strName)
{
bool wordfound;
int ctr = 0;

for (int i = 0; i < strName.Length; )
{
wordfound = false;

while ((i < strName.Length) && (strName[i] == ' '))
i++;

while ((i < strName.Length) && (strName[i] != ' '))
{
if (!wordfound)
{
ctr++;
wordfound = true;
}
i++;
}
}

return ctr;
}


public static int Wordcount1(string strName)
{
string temp = null;
int ctr = 0;

for (int i = 0; i < strName.Length; i++)
{
if (strName[i] != ' ')
{
if (temp == null)
ctr++;

temp += strName[i];
}
else if (strName[i] == ' ')
temp = null;
}

return ctr;
}


Can anyone please comment on better approach w.r.t. logic, performance and memory utilization?

• Did you write those? What do you think? Commented Mar 13, 2014 at 12:31
• If you care about performance and memory, why don't you measure them yourself? Commented Mar 13, 2014 at 13:37

Let's analyze each approach:

public static int Wordcount1(string strName)
{
string temp = null;
int ctr = 0;

for (int i = 0; i < strName.Length; i++)
{
if (strName[i] != ' ')
{
if (temp == null)
ctr++;

temp += strName[i];
}
else if (strName[i] == ' ')
temp = null;
}

return ctr;
}


You are using temp string only as boolean flag (whether its null or not). So, you don't need to store current word in this variable. Actually temp += strName[i] creates many strings in memory, because strings are immutable. So, its performance and memory consuming. Remove it.

Also you don't need second if. If char is not white space, then it is white space. There is no third option. And improve naming - don't use prefixes for variable names.

public static int Wordcount(string text)
{
bool wordFound = false
int count = 0;

for (int i = 0; i < text.Length; i++)
{
if (text[i] != ' ' && !wordFound)
{
wordFound = true;
count++
continue;
}

if (wordFound)
wordFound = false;
}

return count;
}


Another approach:

public static int GetWordsCount(string strName)
{
bool wordfound;
int ctr = 0;

for (int i = 0; i < strName.Length; )
{
wordfound = false;

while ((i < strName.Length) && (strName[i] == ' '))
i++;

while ((i < strName.Length) && (strName[i] != ' '))
{
if (!wordfound)
{
ctr++;
wordfound = true;
}
i++;
}
}

return ctr;
}


For me its a little harder to understand, because you are incrementing loop variable in loop body on some conditions inside other loops. But you are not creating strings here as you do in your second approach. So it's definitely better in terms of performance and memory usage, than you original second approach.

In second approach you can eliminate usage of boolean flag, and condition check in second while loop. Also with some comments this code becomes easier to understand:

public static int GetWordsCount(string text)
{
int count = 0;

for (int i = 0; i < text.Length; )
{
// process to next word
while ((i < text.Length) && (text[i] == ' '))
i++;

if (i < text.Length)
count++;

// loop till the word end
while ((i < text.Length) && (text[i] != ' '))
i++;
}

return count;
}


But of course its better to use already existing functionality:

return text.Split(new[] { ' ' }, StringSplitOptions.RemoveEmptyEntries).Length;


Its not that fast, and it creates array of words which uses memory. But it's easy to understand for other developers. So, instead of doing premature optimization, I'd go with this approach and modified it only in case of performance problems.

• The term “white space” usually means any of the space characters (including '\t' and '\n'), not just the single space character ' ' (or '\x20'). Commented Mar 13, 2014 at 13:42
• @svick agree, it's better to use something like Char.IsWhiteSpace. Also there is punctuation symbols which also should be considered as word boundaries. E.g. if somebody wrote hello,world Commented Mar 13, 2014 at 13:45