# EricRicketts's solution

## to Rail Fence Cipher in the Ruby Track

Published at Oct 19 2019 · 0 comments
Instructions
Test suite
Solution

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:

``````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 . .
``````

``````WECRLTEERDSOEEFEAOCAIVDEN
``````

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

``````? . . . ? . . . ? . . . ? . . . ? . . . ? . . . ?
. ? . ? . ? . ? . ? . ? . ? . ? . ? . ? . ? . ? .
. . ? . . . ? . . . ? . . . ? . . . ? . . . ? . .
``````

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

``````W . . . E . . . C . . . R . . . L . . . T . . . E
. ? . ? . ? . ? . ? . ? . ? . ? . ? . ? . ? . ? .
. . ? . . . ? . . . ? . . . ? . . . ? . . . ? . .
``````

Now the 2nd row takes "ERDSOEEFEAOC".

``````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.

``````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.

For installation and learning resources, refer to the Ruby resources page.

For running the tests provided, you will need the Minitest gem. Open a terminal window and run the following command to install minitest:

``````gem install minitest
``````

If you would like color output, you can `require 'minitest/pride'` in the test file, or note the alternative instruction, below, for running the test file.

Run the tests from the exercise directory using the following command:

``````ruby rail_fence_cipher_test.rb
``````

To include color from the command line:

``````ruby -r minitest/pride rail_fence_cipher_test.rb
``````

## Submitting Incomplete Solutions

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

### rail_fence_cipher_test.rb

``````require 'minitest/autorun'
require_relative 'rail_fence_cipher'

class RailFenceCipherTest < Minitest::Test
def test_encode_with_empty_string
assert_equal '', RailFenceCipher.encode('', 4)
end

def test_encode_with_one_rail
skip
assert_equal 'One rail, only one rail',
RailFenceCipher.encode('One rail, only one rail', 1)
end

def test_encode_with_two_rails
skip
assert_equal 'XXXXXXXXXOOOOOOOOO',
RailFenceCipher.encode('XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO', 2)
end

def test_encode_with_three_rails
skip
assert_equal 'WECRLTEERDSOEEFEAOCAIVDEN',
RailFenceCipher.encode('WEAREDISCOVEREDFLEEATONCE', 3)
end

def test_encode_with_ending_in_the_middle
skip
assert_equal 'ESXIEECSR', RailFenceCipher.encode('EXERCISES', 4)
end

def test_encode_with_less_letters_than_rails
skip
assert_equal 'More rails than letters',
RailFenceCipher.encode('More rails than letters', 24)
end

def test_decode_with_empty_string
skip
assert_equal '', RailFenceCipher.decode('', 4)
end

def test_decode_with_one_rail
skip
assert_equal 'ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOP',
RailFenceCipher.decode('ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOP', 1)
end

def test_decode_with_two_rails
skip
assert_equal 'XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO',
RailFenceCipher.decode('XXXXXXXXXOOOOOOOOO', 2)
end

def test_decode_with_three_rails
skip
assert_equal 'THEDEVILISINTHEDETAILS',
RailFenceCipher.decode('TEITELHDVLSNHDTISEIIEA', 3)
end
end``````
``````class RailFenceCipher

def self.decode(str, num_rails)
arr = Array.new(num_rails) { Array.new }
char_ary = str.chars

idx_array = gen_index_array(num_rails, char_ary)

grouped_indices = idx_array.group_by(&:itself).values.flatten
indices_and_chars = grouped_indices.zip(char_ary)

indices_and_chars.each { |idx, char| arr[idx].push(char) }
idx_array.inject('') { |str, idx| str << arr[idx].shift }
end

def self.encode(str, num_rails)
arr = Array.new(num_rails) { Array.new }

indices_and_chars = gen_index_array(num_rails, str.chars).zip(str.chars)

indices_and_chars.each { |idx, char| arr[idx].push(char) }
arr.flatten.join
end

class << self
private

# method generates a pattern and expands the pattern to match the number
# of characters in the provided string.  Example, a fence with three rails
# would have the pattern [0, 1, 2, 1] and would be repeated to match the
# size of the provided string.
def gen_index_array(num_rails, chars)
idx_pattern = ((0..num_rails-1).to_a + (-(num_rails-2)...0).map(&:-@))

num_chars = chars.length
pattern_length = idx_pattern.length

idx_pattern * (num_chars / pattern_length) + \
idx_pattern.slice(0, num_chars % pattern_length)
end
end
end``````