1
exercism fetch haskell rail-fence-cipher

Rail Fence Cipher

Implement encoding and decoding for the rail fence cipher.

The Rail Fence cipher is a form of transposition cipher that gets its name from the way in which it's encoded. It was already used by the ancient Greeks.

In the Rail Fence cipher, the message is written downwards on successive "rails" of an imaginary fence, then moving up when we get to the bottom (like a zig-zag). Finally the message is then read off in rows.

For example, using three "rails" and the message "WE ARE DISCOVERED FLEE AT ONCE", the cipherer writes out:

1
2
3
W . . . E . . . C . . . R . . . L . . . T . . . E
. E . R . D . S . O . E . E . F . E . A . O . C .
. . A . . . I . . . V . . . D . . . E . . . N . .

Then reads off:

1
WECRLTEERDSOEEFEAOCAIVDEN

To decrypt a message you take the zig-zag shape and fill the ciphertext along the rows.

1
2
3
? . . . ? . . . ? . . . ? . . . ? . . . ? . . . ?
. ? . ? . ? . ? . ? . ? . ? . ? . ? . ? . ? . ? .
. . ? . . . ? . . . ? . . . ? . . . ? . . . ? . .

The first row has seven spots that can be filled with "WECRLTE".

1
2
3
W . . . E . . . C . . . R . . . L . . . T . . . E
. ? . ? . ? . ? . ? . ? . ? . ? . ? . ? . ? . ? .
. . ? . . . ? . . . ? . . . ? . . . ? . . . ? . .

Now the 2nd row takes "ERDSOEEFEAOC".

1
2
3
W . . . E . . . C . . . R . . . L . . . T . . . E
. E . R . D . S . O . E . E . F . E . A . O . C .
. . ? . . . ? . . . ? . . . ? . . . ? . . . ? . .

Leaving "AIVDEN" for the last row.

1
2
3
W . . . E . . . C . . . R . . . L . . . T . . . E
. E . R . D . S . O . E . E . F . E . A . O . C .
. . A . . . I . . . V . . . D . . . E . . . N . .

If you now read along the zig-zag shape you can read the original message.

Getting Started

For installation and learning resources, refer to the exercism help page.

Running the tests

To run the test suite, execute the following command:

1
stack test

If you get an error message like this...

1
No .cabal file found in directory

You are probably running an old stack version and need to upgrade it.

Otherwise, if you get an error message like this...

1
2
No compiler found, expected minor version match with...
Try running "stack setup" to install the correct GHC...

Just do as it says and it will download and install the correct compiler version:

1
stack setup

Running GHCi

If you want to play with your solution in GHCi, just run the command:

1
stack ghci

Feedback, Issues, Pull Requests

The exercism/haskell repository on GitHub is the home for all of the Haskell exercises.

If you have feedback about an exercise, or want to help implementing a new one, head over there and create an issue. We'll do our best to help you!

Source

Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transposition_cipher#Rail_Fence_cipher

Submitting Incomplete Solutions

It's possible to submit an incomplete solution so you can see how others have completed the exercise.