Get the difference between two strings without using arrays

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I have two strings $A and $B sorted by integers. The implemented function must output {A - B} and {B - A} and the code must be WITHOUT ARRAYS. Any ideas?

Input:

$A = "1 2 3 8 9"; 
$B = "2 5 9 10 12 14";

Output:

{A - B} = "1 3 8"; 
{B - A} = "5 10 12 14";
$A = "1 2 3 8 9"; 
$B = "2 5 9 10 12 14";

//Build regular expression pattern from $A
$pattern = "/\b".str_replace(" ", "\b|\b", $A)."\b/";

//Remove matched numbers within word boundaries
$result = preg_replace($pattern, "", $B);

//Remove any unwanted whitespace
$result = trim(preg_replace("!\s+!", " ", $result));

echo "{B - A} = " . $result;

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You can use substring in a loop (and use the ASCII code) for each char to determine if they are equal or not and write them to an other string if they are not the same. If your digit is larger than 1 char you have to make the substring looking for the next space.

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Here's a looping version using strspn and substr to extract numbers from the strings and substr_replace to remove them when necessary:

$a = "1 2 3 8 9"; 
$b = "2 5 9 10 12 14";

$a_offset = 0;
$b_offset = 0;
while ($a_offset < strlen($a) && $b_offset < strlen($b)) {
    $a_length = strspn($a, '0123456789', $a_offset);
    $a_num = substr($a, $a_offset, $a_length);
    $b_length = strspn($b, '0123456789', $b_offset);
    $b_num = substr($b, $b_offset, $b_length);
    if ($a_num < $b_num) {
        // keep the a value
        $a_offset = $a_offset + $a_length + 1;
    }
    elseif ($b_num < $a_num) {
        // keep the b value
        $b_offset = $b_offset + $b_length + 1;
    }
    else {
        // values the same, remove them both
        $a = substr_replace($a, '', $a_offset, $a_length + 1);
        $b = substr_replace($b, '', $b_offset, $b_length + 1);
    }
}
echo "a - b = $a\nb - a = $b";

Output:

a - b = 1 3 8 
b - a = 5 10 12 14

Demo on 3v4l.org

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Comments
  • You have to show us some of your code effort, so that we can correct that. Otherwise it seems that you asked us to do code for you.
  • You can use explode. array_diff(explode(" ", $A), eplode(" ", $B));
  • @TrueTiem: OP not want to use array
  • @devpro actually it's not array, still string. Only converting to array while using array_diff
  • code must be WITHOUT ARRAYS @TrueTiem
  • @eoitos I'm glad I could help! Please don't forget to accept my answer by clicking the checkmark to the left of it, if it solved your problem.
  • I thought that I could use the explode function
  • @eoitos the return value of explode is of what type …?
  • There are many different ways as mentioned in the comments and I also recommend use explode, but this function transforms a string into an array by your selected char. Your question was for an answere without arrays.
  • Exactly! Without array... Is no easy, I spend 3 days and i've not the solution