in reply to
Re^2: Improve My FaceBook Scramble Solver
in thread Improve My FaceBook Scramble Solver
I'm puzzled by your comment that DFS iteratively is ugly. The only difference between a DFS and BFS written iteratively is whether you push/shift to @work or push/pop. In fact now that I read more carefully you actually did a DFS, not a BFS, and I'm embarrassed to have not noticed it. (I got it wrong because I was skimming the first time, and I only write the iterative form for a BFS.)
I'd also recommend that you put some work pushing past your recursion block. Recursion is a very useful tool, and you're shortchanging yourself by not having it in your toolbox. It is a different mode of thinking, but it isn't particularly hard. However you'll need to force yourself to find opportunities to try it until it kind of "clicks". After it clicks, then you'll have a new tool in your toolbox. :-)
To write a recursive function I follow the following steps:
- Write a function name that says it will solve the problem that I want solved.
- Write the main recursive step where I somehow reduce the problem to a simpler problem.
- Think through all of the possible "simplest problems" that I could run into and write code for those cases. At this stage I'll add dispatch logic if I need to.
- Test my solution. Oversights are easy, and so it is worth testing when the code is fresh in my mind and fixes are easiest to make.
About the rest, I well understand reusing snippets you have lying around. For quick one-off programs that is a good approach. But if the one-off starts to become regularly used or to grow, then be aggressive on making it maintainable. The benefits of being maintainable tend to be so lopsided that it becomes a reflex for good programmers. But still there is an appropriate balance to maintain, and I think you're maintaining it.