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Palindromes in C#

, 28 Aug 2008
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Algorithim for calculating if a string is a palindrome.


This code calculates if a string is a palindrome, and was inspired by the Channel9 video by Gary Daniels and Evan Goldring - Mock whiteboard problem.


There are two main approaches to calculating palindromes: byte symmetry, or on the basis of words. Byte symmetry checks to see if a string is a mirror image of itself "helloolleh", whilst the other approach handles white spaces "Was it Eliot's toilet I saw?"

Using the code

I've not inluded the code as an attachment, rather as inline text that can be used directly.

static bool isPalindrome(string subject)
  const int STEP_FORWARD = 1;
  const int BEFORE_START = -1;
  const int CHAR_AT_A_TIME = 1;
  const int COMPARE_EQUALS = 0;

  // assume its not a palindrome
  bool result = false;

  // how to compare
  CompareInfo ci = CultureInfo.CurrentCulture.CompareInfo;
  CompareOptions co =
    CompareOptions.IgnoreCase |
    CompareOptions.IgnoreKanaType |
    CompareOptions.IgnoreNonSpace |
    CompareOptions.IgnoreSymbols |
    CompareOptions.IgnoreWidth; |

  // null strings are not palindromes
  if (subject != null)
    int AFTER_END = subject.Length;

    // single letter words are palindromes
    result = (AFTER_END == 1 && IsPalindromeChar(subject[0]));

    // start the comparison points at valid characters
    int startOffset = GetNextValidCharacter(subject, BEFORE_START, 
                                         STEP_FORWARD, AFTER_END);
    int endOffset = GetNextValidCharacter(subject, AFTER_END, 
                                STEP_BACKWARD, BEFORE_START);

    while (startOffset < endOffset)
      result = ci.Compare(subject, startOffset, CHAR_AT_A_TIME, 
               subject, endOffset, CHAR_AT_A_TIME, co) == COMPARE_EQUALS;
      if (!result)

      // move the comparison points towards each other
      startOffset = GetNextValidCharacter(subject, startOffset, 
                                      STEP_FORWARD, endOffset);
      endOffset = GetNextValidCharacter(subject, endOffset, 
                               STEP_BACKWARD, startOffset);

  return result;

static int GetNextValidCharacter(string subject, int offset, 
                                 int step, int bound)
  if (offset != bound)
    offset += step;

  while (offset != bound && !IsPalindromeChar(subject[offset]))
    offset += step;

  return offset;

static bool IsPalindromeChar(char c)
  return char.IsLetter(c) || char.IsDigit(c);

Points of interest

Reading the Wikipedia entry on palindromes shows that there are more than just alphabetical palindromes, so it is worth checking with your users before assuming that this code is what they mean by a palindrome.

On my blog, I've also included the byte symmetry code approach.


  • Aug/2008 - First version.


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

Philip Fitzsimons
United Kingdom United Kingdom
still alive, just.
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Comments and Discussions

GeneralSimplified for C# PinmemberZamirF3-Feb-11 9:32 
Questionon the basis of words? PinmemberPIEBALDconsult29-Aug-08 11:42 
AnswerRe: on the basis of words? PinmemberPhilip Fitzsimons30-Aug-08 0:29 
GeneralAnother approach PinmemberRavi Bhavnani28-Aug-08 9:26 
GeneralRe: Another approach PinmemberPIEBALDconsult28-Aug-08 9:46 
GeneralRe: Another approach PinmemberRavi Bhavnani28-Aug-08 9:48 
GeneralRe: Another approach PinmemberPIEBALDconsult28-Aug-08 10:26 
GeneralRe: Another approach PinmemberRavi Bhavnani28-Aug-08 10:30 
GeneralRe: Another approach PinmemberPIEBALDconsult28-Aug-08 10:46 
GeneralRe: Another approach PinmemberRavi Bhavnani28-Aug-08 10:49 
GeneralRe: Another approach PinmemberPhilip Fitzsimons28-Aug-08 23:48 
GeneralRe: Another approach PinmemberRavi Bhavnani29-Aug-08 3:45 
GeneralRe: Another approach PinmemberJared Mcguire29-Aug-08 9:21 
GeneralRe: Another approach PinmemberPIEBALDconsult29-Aug-08 11:19 
GeneralOh goody PinmemberPIEBALDconsult28-Aug-08 6:35 
GeneralRe: Oh goody PinmemberPhilip Fitzsimons28-Aug-08 23:43 
GeneralRe: Oh goody PinmemberPIEBALDconsult29-Aug-08 4:22 
GeneralRe: Oh goody PinmemberPhilip Fitzsimons29-Aug-08 5:12 
GeneralRe: Oh goody [modified] PinmemberPIEBALDconsult29-Aug-08 10:28 
GeneralRe: Oh goody PinmemberPhilip Fitzsimons30-Aug-08 0:27 
GeneralRe: Oh goody PinmemberPIEBALDconsult30-Aug-08 7:58 

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