Javascript Trees

A tree data structure is very similar to a linked list. Where linked lists linear (meaning we have each node in the collection pointing to a next node in a fixed sequence), a tree data structure is non-linear. This means we can have each node potentially pointing to one or more nodes. Think of a trees as a way to order things hierarchically. Example are, graphical representations of data (like an organizational charts), files in a file system or even sorted collections of data. When working with trees, order of the elements is not important (if it is, you can store your collection in a linked list, stack, queue, etc). Lets take a look at an example of an organizational chart ( a type of tree structure showing hierarchical data ). Read More

Hashing

In the last post we talked about Maps. We learned that Maps can be referred to as dictionaries, associative arrays, etc. Sometimes you will also hear Maps or Sets being referred to as a Hash ( You will hear  the likes of HashMaps or HashSets ). These types of key/value pair collections, are “Hash-bashed Data Structures”. What is hashing? In my very first post on data structures, i mentioned that Linked Lists are faster at adding data quicker to a collection, than it is at retrieving. Hashing is a way of storing data that makes retrieval and access extremely fast (Runtime complexity of O(1) for both retrieval, access, and deletion operations). Our collection is stored in a data structure known as a hash-table. This table is what makes data retrieval and storage so fast. When we looked at Maps in the last post (or even linked lists), anytime we wanted to find data, we had to traverse the whole collection in order to find it. Given a key, we would enumerate the whole thing for its value. Therefore it would take a long time we had a huge collection. Hash tables can be used to solve this problem. When using hash tables we can find data in the shortest amount of time because we already know which position in the table the value is stored. Like an array, we can retrieve the value at position 4 instantly. But as we said in the previous post, writing a statement like state[4] does not convey meaning (number index based structure, what if we don’t know its location?). When we tried to solve this problem with maps, we looked at how to write data structures so we could retrieve them using syntax that looked more like this state[‘NY’]. The only disadvantage here is we still would have to enumerate the entire object to get its value (though the syntax was nicer). Hashing employs a technique using something called a hash function. Given a key, it is passed to a function, and a value is returned right away (the key is hashed into a value). That value is used as an array index(in the hash table to retrieve values). The value of the index can be retrieved instantly because of its array nature. Read More

WordPress VPS. Permalink’s 404 error

I recently moved my blog off Godaddy because i was having a whole bunch of issues when writing posts. I believe Godaddy sets a block on how many times you can publish. Perhaps their servers takes a hit from all the publishers writing content. If they are like me they save every 2 minutes! What happens is that after a few saves on your post, you begin to get server internal errors(504 Gateway Timeout Error). Go daddy claims it was my ISP but reading complaints on other forums i found out that many bloggers had this issue. So it wasn’t an ISP issue. I took action right away. I decided to host my own WordPress (and boy was it a nightmare). Found a VPS solution and installed WordPress from a backup i have made when i was using Godaddy. The only problem i had was my posts now had urls that were not so friendly. Updating permalinks to use the postname format wasn’t working. I would get a 404 error. I decided to document the steps i took to resolve this issue. Hope it works for you (worth a try if you have having similar issues). If you are using a VPS and want to install or reinstall WordPress, here are some steps that might help you. I will talk about reinstallation as well at the end of the post. I assume you are comfortable with the CLI (of course if you are using a VPS solution, that is the only way). Read More

Maps (Dictionaries) & Sets

As we journey down the lane of data structures, you may or may not have noticed a pattern for how we access data. Since the underlying data storage we have used have been arrays, we have had to rely heavily on using numeric type indexing to retrieve values. Even though in stacks and queues we were only interested items at the top or front, indirectly we were still using some sort of indexing to get those item values. Also when we did traversals in our data structure, it was based on indexing. While this has served us well, sometimes you want to put more meaning into how you retrieve values. Asking for items[0], doesn’t really give a clear definition of what is being asked for. In this and the next post, we will be talking about accessing data based on meaningful keys/names. Think of a real world dictionary for example. Every word in a dictionary has a meaning. You can think of a word as a key, and the meaning as a value. So in essence you are using one unique word to look up a meaning. A key mapped to a value ( key/value pairs). Notice that dictionaries do not have duplicate keys. If you need the meaning for a word, for e.g engineer, you will not find the key twice. You may however find multiple meanings under that key word. Lets think of another scenario where you might want to use a dictionary. What if you wanted a data structure where you could find a state name based on abbreviation? Like NY (key) for New York (value), or CA for California. We are not using an index here. We might access it like this instead state[“NY”]. We are using a unique identifier to refer to a particular state. This is when we use the dictionary data structure. Dictionaries are also referred to as maps, and may be the preferred word to use depending on the programming language. Dictionaries, associative arrays, maps, … they all mean the same thing! We will be referring to them as maps from now on.
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Javascript Queues

In the previous chapter, we learned about the Stack data structure. We will be talking about javascript queues in this post. The difference between a stack and a queue is the way items are added and removed. While items in a stack are LIFO collections, items in a queue are FIFO (First In First Out). A queue returns items in the same order it way added. The first to get in, is the first out! Lets see how this relates to the real world. Think of a grocery store or the bank cashier for example. The people who join the line, checkout out in the order they got in. If you are in line first, you get served first. If you are last in line, you are served last. Anyone who enters the bank goes to the back of the line (in queue). The same applies when you tell a printer to print a document. The items to print are queued, and are printed on a first come first serve bases. In software development, queues are used in multi threading and concurrency situations, where tasks that are waiting to be processed, are executed in an order of FIFO.   Read More

Javascript Stacks

In previous posts we learned what data structures are and their importance when engineering software applications. In this post, we will learn a new data structure called a Stack, and find out what benefits it gives us when storing and organizing data. What is a stack? Well, the meaning is in the idea of the word. Think of a stack of books or papers in a bookstore, or a stack of dirty plates in kitchen. The idea is we have a container (our stack) in which things (data) are stacked on top of another. We are trying to organize data in a stacking order, hence the name. When we add an item, it is added to the top of the stack. And when we remove, we also remove from the top. So think of javascript stacks as a collection in which data is added or removed in a Last In First Out (LIFO) out manner. Lets take a look at a simple diagram.  Read More

How AEM Works!

Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) is massive. There’s a lot of confusion when most developers and content editors come to this proprietary content management system. There are new terminology, processes and tools that one must understand. It can be overwhelming. Though it is impossible to write everything about AEM architecture in a single post, I wanted to write a post detailing some fundamentals for developers, but could still be read by anyone already working in AEM (using a language everyone can understand). So this is not a deep dive type of post. Understanding how AEM works will help you as a developer or author have a better insight into issues you may be having. My aim in the post is to give you the BIG picture. This is AEM architecture fundamentals.

AEM is a cloud based client-server system for building enterprise grade websites and applications. A copy of AEM running on a server is what you would normally hear of being referred to as an instance. The installation of AEM usually involve two instances running on separate machines on a production site. These is the author and the publish instances. Most of you know what the author instance is. This where you edit content. By editing content, i mean this is where you create, upload and management content on your website. Pretty much any website administration is done on the author instance (the name make sense since you are actually authoring content). Typically a content editor logs into AEM, edits or creates a page and either put their work in some kind of workflow for it to be approved, or perhaps they just publish the page when that content is ready (which goes live right away). What happens in the background, most of us don’t know. Here is where i want to shed a little light on because i feel knowing it gives you better insight into issues that might come up. Read More

Circular Linked List

In the previous post on singly and doubly linked lists, recall that the collections last nodes next pointers were always NULL. This is because they had nothing to point to. But what if this is not what we wanted? What if when we get to the last node, we wanted to point the next pointer back to the head node, like a photo gallery application (when we get to the last picture, the next picture should be the first). This is where circular linked lists come from (they allow us to rotate through our collection). This means that circular linked lists have no end. One must be careful if they are going to iterate through the collection, or you could end up in an infinite loop.

So in a circular linked list, there are no nodes with a NULL pointer. For eg, in a case where there is only one node (the head node), the next pointer points back to the itself. Remember in previous posts that i said when a collection is empty and you add a new node, their next and previous pointers are NULL? Well in this type of linked list, they point back to itself, well until we change its pointers.

What about the previous node of the head? Remember it was NULL in previous posts? There is another type of linked list called doubly circular linked list (i know, the names are getting ridiculous). In a doubly circular linked list, the previous pointer of the head points to the tail node. Lets look at a diagram. Read More

Doubly Linked List

In the previous post, we talked about what data structures are. We learned that a linked list is a type of data structure, and we learned why they were important. We particularly looked at singly linked lists as a type of linked list, and we saw some of its usage and operations. Even though singly linked lists have their use in the real world, chances are you will find doubly linked lists easier to implement, more practical and have more real world use. One issue you might have noticed with singly linked lists is that it only has a reference to the next node (or next pointer). This makes it harder to find what the previous node is. We had to write some pretty length code just to find the previous node. The doubly linked list is a type of linked list that has a next and previous properties on the node (pointers), making it very easy to enumerate the node collections in any direction (forwards or backwards). This means we can navigate in both directions. Let us start from the top. Imagine you have a node collection with one node ( like we did from the previous post) Read More

Singly Linked List

This is going to be the first post in a series called “javascript data structures and algorithms”. I plan to cover most of the algorithms found in computer science classes, using javascript as a language of choice. This is no easy feat to take on, but it is a goal i have set. It may take a while to complete as i have a full time job, but i will do my best. I do not consider myself an expert on the subject matter, so kindly advise if you ever think something can be coded in a much more efficient manner. The only reason i write this post, like all other posts, is to get a better understanding of the subject matter. We start our journey with linked lists, particularly javascript singly linked list. Read More