Data Structures and Algorithms with Object-Oriented Design Patterns in C#
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The simplest of all the containers is a stack . A stack is a container which provides exactly one method, Push, for putting objects into the container; and one method, Pop, for taking objects out of the container. Figure gif illustrates the basic idea.

Figure: Basic stack operations.

Objects which are stored in a stack are kept in a pile. The last item put into the stack is a the top. When an item is pushed into a stack, it is placed at the top of the pile. When an item popped, it is always the top item which is removed. Since it is always the last item to be put into the stack that is the first item to be removed, a stack is a last-in, first-out  or LIFO  data structure.

In addition to the Push and Pop operations, the typical stack implementation also has a property called Top that provides a get accessor that returns the item at the top of the stack without removing it from the stack.

Program gif defines the Stack interface. The Stack interface extends the Container interface defined in Program gif. Hence, it comprises all of the methods inherited from Container plus the three methods Top, Push, and Pop.

Program: Stack interface.

When implementing a data structure, the first issue to be addressed is which foundational data structure(s) to use. Often, the choice is between an array-based implementation and a linked-list implementation. The next two sections present an array-based implementation of stacks followed by a linked-list implementation.

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Bruno Copyright © 2001 by Bruno R. Preiss, P.Eng. All rights reserved.