Bob Sanders Bob Sanders - 27 days ago 24
Java Question

Reversing a String with Recursion in Java

Here is some Java code to reverse a string recursively.

Could someone provide an explanation of how it works?

public static String reverse(String str) {
if ((null == str) || (str.length() <= 1)) {
return str;
}
return reverse(str.substring(1)) + str.charAt(0);
}


I'm not understanding how this can possibly work.

Answer

The function takes the first character of a String - str.charAt(0) - puts it at the end and then calls itself - reverse() - on the remainder - str.substring(1), adding these two things together to get its result - reverse(str.substring(1)) + str.charAt(0)

When the passed in String is one character or less and so there will be no remainder left - when str.length() <= 1) - it stops calling itself recursively and just returns the String passed in.

So it runs as follows:

reverse("Hello")
(reverse("ello")) + "H"
((reverse("llo")) + "e") + "H"
(((reverse("lo")) + "l") + "e") + "H"
((((reverse("o")) + "l") + "l") + "e") + "H"
(((("o") + "l") + "l") + "e") + "H"
"olleH"