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building a binary search tree

ervinloh asked
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2008-02-01
does anyone knows how to build a binary seach tree using visual basic? any sample codes or tutorials are appreciated.

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May i ask why u are trying to build a binary search tree? If it is to increase search speeds by being able to do a binary search, then all you need to do is to sort that data, and then u can binary search it.

If so let me know  and i'll whip up the code for doing a binary search.


Top Expert 2014
A crude approximation would require an array whose size is a power of 2.  In the following example, your starting location is (0).

Dim strBinTree(-16 To 16) As String
Dim intLowerLimit as Integer
Dim intUpperLimit as Integer
Dim boolFound as Boolean
intLowerLimit = LBound(strBinTree)
intUpperLimit = UBound(strBinTree)
intSearch = 0
  Select Case strSearch
    Case < strBinTree(intSearch)
      intUpperLimit = intSearch - 1
    Case < strBinTree(intSearch)
      intLowerLimit = intSearch + 1
    Case = strBinTree(intSearch)
      boolFound = True
      Exit Do
  End Select

Loop Until boolFound Or (intUpperLimit - intLowerLimit <=1)
If boolFound Then
  'process found condition
  'process not found condition
End If
Ok here is the code i whipped up, with comments just to guide u thru it.
As Previously Mentioned, the data u r searching needs to be sorted for the binary searh to work.
So as an example i have used a list type control with sorted = true
The general idea is this: you keep slicing your data up into sub trees depending on whether the middle value is greater or lesser (alphabetically).
If the searchstring is alphabetically greater than the middle then you know that you need to search the right half of the original tree.
So then you end up with another set of 2 subtrees below the original right tree
etc, and u keep doing this until the searchstring is found.

You do not need a list to the power of 2 items.

The above code as the author suggests is crude.

Private Function BinarySearch(SearchString As String, SearchControl As Control) As Integer

Dim intLeftPointer As Integer
Dim intRightPointer As Integer
Dim intMiddle As Integer
Dim intResult As Integer
Dim blFound As Boolean

On Error Resume Next

intLeftPointer = 0
intRightPointer = SearchControl.ListCount - 1

Do While blFound = False
  intMiddle = (intLeftPointer + intRightPointer) \ 2
  intResult = StrComp(SearchString, SearchControl.List(intMiddle), vbTextCompare)
  If intResult = 0 Then
    BinarySearch = Middle
    blFound = True
    If intResult = 1 then
       intLeftPointer = intMiddle + 1
       intRightPointer= intMiddle - 1
    End If
  End If

End Function


Top Expert 2014

I appologize for omitting the calculation of the next intSearch value (= (intUpperLimit - intUpperLimit) \2) in the loop.  If you tried it, it would always check the same item in the array, never terminating (oops).

Also, the second "Case < strBinTree(intSearch)" should actually be "Case > strBinTree(intSearch)".  I forgot to edit the line after my copy/paste.

Although it is not necessary to have a power of 2 for the upper and lower bounds of the array, it is easier to visualize for most programmers.  Also, you get better performance from a balanced tree than an unbalanced tree.

I should warn you that cybermoonlight's code (as shown) will not stop looping if the search string is not in the array.
oops thanks for pointing that out..so instead of
do while blfound = false
change it 2:
do while blFound = False OR i >= searchcontrol.listCount -1
i = i +1

And excuse me, but a balanced tree will not give improved performance !!!
sorry once again. that was
do while blFound=False And i<= searchControl.listcount - 1

I must have been tired

Top Expert 2014

I still don't think the Do While construct will terminate properly, since the intLeftPointer and intRightPointer values are approaching each other, not listcount-1.

It will terminate after listcount-1 iterations, but the problem is supposed to be a binary, not a "linear" search.
i'm really not on the ball today am i!!
you are correct, the search is of course binary..but becasue of the loop, when the whole tree has been searched it will continue until listcount- 1..very bad indeed.
instead you would check for blfound= fasle or i<= log2Listcount-1

Sorry once again
ok once more..
i wish EE had a way to edit comments!

right so
this is how you would initiate the loop

Do while blFound = False And i <= sqr(SearchControl.ListCount) + 1
i = i + 1

There you have it, finally a perfect sample of a binary search.

Mike McCrackenSenior Consultant
Most Valuable Expert 2011
Top Expert 2013

great..EE is really annoying me ! :(


hello everbody!

it seemed that you guys are giving me a binary search function. i need to build a binary search tree and not binary search.

the reason for building a binary search tree is not for increasing the speed of searching. this binary search tree contains special nodes that will be used by a graph for processing. we have an priority engine over here. we'll need to build a tree so that we knows which are the priorities that we are going to process during run time.
Top Expert 2014

check out a binary tree class download

or a balanced binary tree class download

or a self-balancing AVL Tree Container Class

If you want to develop your own binary tree object that you can see, use the treeview control (Windows Common Controls component).  Under the root, add a left child and a right child.  You would then add left and right children as needed.  You could use the .Child and .FirstSibling and .LastSibling to traverse the tree.  It would also be available for user editing.
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