# what is lexicographically smallest string with code examples

Every programming language has a unique way of comparing strings character by character, and the lexicographically smallest string is a concept relevant to many programming problems. In simple terms, a lexicographically smallest string is the smallest string that can be formed by comparing its characters with all other strings in a given set of strings. In this article, we will discuss the concept in more detail with code examples.

Lexicographic Order:

When we compare the string characters in a sequence and find the appropriate successor alphabet, we are following the lexicographic order of the string. ASCII or Unicode values are usually used to compare the characters. The lexicographic order of strings is important in sorting, searching, and comparing text data in a database.

Example:

Let us consider an example of four strings: ball, cat, dog, and apple. We need to find the lexicographically smallest string from these.

The first character in these strings, ordered from smallest to largest alphabetically, is 'a.' When comparing the second character of these strings, we see that 'ball' is the smallest since it has two 'l's in it, whereas the other words have only one. Therefore, the lexicographically smallest string from these four words is "ball".

How to Find the Lexicographically Smallest String?

To find the lexicographically smallest string among a set of strings, we can use the following algorithm:

Step 1: Compare the first character of all strings in the set.

Step 2: Select the smallest character among all the first characters.

Step 3: If there are multiple occurrences of the smallest first character, compare the second character of these strings.

Step 4: Repeat step 2 and step 3 until we reach the end of the strings or until there is only one string remaining.

Code Examples:

1. Python:

We can use the built-in min() function to find the lexicographically smallest string from a list of strings in Python. This function takes an iterable (list, tuple, or set) of strings and returns the smallest string based on the lexicographic order.

Example:

```lst = ['apple', 'ball', 'cat', 'dog']
lexi_smallest = min(lst)
print(lexi_smallest)   # Output: 'apple'
```
1. Java:

We can use the compareTo() method provided by Java to compare two strings lexicographically.

Example:

```String arr[] = {"apple", "ball", "cat", "dog"};
String lexi_smallest = arr[0];
for (int i=1; i<arr.length; i++) {
if (arr[i].compareTo(lexi_smallest) < 0) {
lexi_smallest = arr[i];
}
}
System.out.println(lexi_smallest);   // Output: 'apple'
```
1. C++:

The standard string class offers the operator<() function, which can be used to compare two strings lexicographically.

Example:

```#include <iostream>
#include <string>
using namespace std;

int main() {
string arr[] = {"apple", "ball", "cat", "dog"};
string lexi_smallest = arr[0];
for (int i=1; i<4; i++) {
if (arr[i] < lexi_smallest) {
lexi_smallest = arr[i];
}
}
cout << lexi_smallest;    // Output: 'apple'
return 0;
}
```

Conclusion:

In summary, the lexicographically smallest string is the smallest string among a set of strings according to the lexicographic order. The algorithmic approach to find the lexicographically smallest string discussed in this article is widely applicable in many programming problems. We have also provided code examples in Python, Java, and C++.

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## Popular questions

Here are five questions along with their answers related to the concept of the lexicographically smallest string:

1. What is the lexicographically smallest string?
Answer: The lexicographically smallest string is the smallest string that can be formed by comparing its characters with all other strings in a given set of strings.

2. How do we find the lexicographically smallest string?
Answer: We can find the lexicographically smallest string by comparing the first character of all strings in a set, selecting the smallest character among them, and then comparing the second character of all the strings that have the smallest first character. We repeat this process until we reach the end of the strings or until there is only one string remaining.

3. Can you give an example of the lexicographically smallest string?
Answer: Sure. Let's take an example of four strings: ball, cat, dog, and apple. The lexicographically smallest string from these four strings is "ball".

4. How can we find the lexicographically smallest string using Python code?
Answer: We can use the built-in min() function in Python to find the lexicographically smallest string from a list of strings. Here's an example:

```lst = ['apple', 'ball', 'cat', 'dog']
lexi_smallest = min(lst)
print(lexi_smallest)   # Output: 'apple'
```
1. What is the importance of the lexicographically smallest string concept in programming?
Answer: The lexicographically smallest string is an essential concept in programming as it helps solve problems related to string comparison, sorting, and searching. It is also used in problems that require finding the minimum or maximum value in a set of strings. In addition, it is useful in various domains, such as data analytics, natural language processing, and cryptography.

### Tag

"Lexisort"

##### Surarchith Midhunakula
My passion for coding started with my very first program in Java. The feeling of manipulating code to produce a desired output ignited a deep love for using software to solve practical problems. For me, software engineering is like solving a puzzle, and I am fully engaged in the process. As a Senior Software Engineer at PayPal, I am dedicated to soaking up as much knowledge and experience as possible in order to perfect my craft. I am constantly seeking to improve my skills and to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies in the field. I have experience working with a diverse range of programming languages, including Ruby on Rails, Java, Python, Spark, Scala, Javascript, and Typescript. Despite my broad experience, I know there is always more to learn, more problems to solve, and more to build. I am eagerly looking forward to the next challenge and am committed to using my skills to create impactful solutions.
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