In the case of enterprise data management, data structures have special means of storing and organizing data in the databases to perform enterprise applications’ operations on stored data more effectively. Data structures have a diverse and wider scope of usage across different sectors. As we can see now, data structures are used in all kinds of programs and software systems that we develop. Most importantly, data structures come as the fundamentals of any computer application.
When it comes to software engineering, data structures come as s key topic. So, every developer or IT person dealing with the databases should have a basic knowledge of the data structures. This article will briefly explain the most common data structures each programmer and DBAs must be aware of.
The array is a standard structure which contains data of fixed size, which holds items of the same type. It is an array of various integers and stays as an array of floating numbers and arrays of strings and, above all, an array of arrays. Arrays get indexed, which means it is possible to random access the same. There are various types of array operations as below.
- Traverse: Traverse operations go through the array elements and print the same.
- Search: It will search for a specific element in the given array, and you can search such elements by the index or value of the same.
- Update: Help update the value of existing elements at the given index.
Putting components to an array and removing elements from the given array cannot be done right away as the arrays have fixed sizes. If you have to insert a specific element into an array, you have to create a new array with increased size and then copy the existing elements into that along with adding the new element. This same principle applies to the deletion of an element from the given array.
Application of arrays
Arrays are used as the building blocks to create data structures as array lists, hash tables, heaps, vectors, and matrices. These are used to sort different algorithms like insertion sort, bubble sort, quick sort, merge sort, etc.
Linked lists are sequential structures that consist of a sequence of entries in a linear order by linking to one another. So, you need to access the data sequentially as random access cannot be done. Linked lists may provide a very flexible and simple representation of the dynamic data sets. Let us explore some of the fundamentals of linked lists.
- Elements in the linked lists are called nodes.
- Each of these nodes consists of a key and a pointer to its success node, which is known as next.
- The ‘head’ attribute points to the very first element of linked lists.
- ‘Tail’ is the term used to refer to the last element of a linked list.
Different types of linked lists are:
- Single link list – Traversal of the listed items can be executed in only forward direction.
- Double link list — Traversal can be made backward and forward.
- Circular link lists — The linked lists where the ‘head’ pointer points to the tail, and the next pointer points to the head like a loop.
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Different operations of linked list
Search operation – to help find the first element in a linked list with a key in a given list through a linear search.
Insert- Insert is the key to a linked list. Insertion can be done differently as an insertion at the list beginning, insert the middle, or insert at the end of the list.
Delete: To remove element X from the given linked list. One cannot simply delete a node in a single step. Here, deletion can be done in different ways as deletion from the beginning of the list, the middle of the list, and the end of the list.
A stack is a last-in-first-out model, in which the element placed at last can be accessed first. This is a structure found most commonly in different programming languages. This structure is called a stack as it resembles a stack of plates in the real world. Let us further discuss two standard operations of the stack.
- Push: it is the insertion of an element to the top of a given stack.
- Pop: Deletion of the topmost element in the given stack and then return it.
Along with the above, some add-on functions are provided by a stack to check the overall status. Let us discuss a few of the standard functions as below.
- Peek: It will return the topmost element in a stack.
- Empty: checks if the given stack is empty.
- Full: checks if the given stack is full.
- The stack is used for expression evaluation like the shunting-yard algorithm to parse to evaluate the mathematical expressions.
- For implementing the function calls in case of recursion programming.
In reverse to the stack model, a standard queue is a First-In-First-Out (FIFO) model, where the element placed at first will be accessed at first. This is also very commonly found in many programming languages. This structure is called a queue as it resembles the real-world queues people tend to form at various places. The two basic operations of a queue are:
- Enqueue: this will help inset an element to the back end of a queue.
- Dequeue: to delete an element from the very beginning of the queue.
Applications of the queues
- A queue is used to manage multithreading threads.
- It is also used to implement queuing systems effectively.
Now you know the very basic data structures to start with. Apart from the above, it would help if you also explored hash tables, trees, heaps, graphs, etc. to have a comprehensive understanding of the data structures.