- LIFO and FIFO are two types of data structures commonly used in programming. LIFO, which stands for ‘last in, first out,’ is defined as a data structure in which the newest element added to the stack is processed first.
- On the other hand, FIFO, which stands for ‘first in, first out,’ is defined as a data structure wherein the first element added to the queue is processed first.
- This article covers the differences between FIFO and LIFO in programming.
FIFO and LIFO: An Overview
FIFO and LIFO are two types of data structures commonly used in programming.
LIFO vs. FIFO in Programming
LIFO stands for ‘last in, first out’ and uses a stack data structure. In a LIFO data structure, the newest element added to the stack is processed first. On the other hand, FIFO stands for ‘first in, first out’ and uses a queue data structure. In a FIFO data structure, the first element added to the queue is processed first.
What Is FIFO?
The first in, first out data structure is commonly used in programming as a method of managing and manipulating data elements in a computing system. As the name suggests, FIFO prioritizes processes that are ‘first in,’ meaning it will first address the element that entered the system before any other.
FIFO leverages a queue-type data structure wherein the oldest element stays at the front, awaiting preferential processing. Think of FIFO as ‘first come, first served’ for programming elements, like a checkout queue at the supermarket where the first person in line is served first.
The queue-type data structure used by FIFO is a simple and intuitive method of handling data and is used in many applications. It is apt for use cases where processing a large number of requests is required since it allows for these requests to be processed in the order they were received and avoids workflow disruptions. As the oldest request is processed first, FIFO is said to be a ‘fair’ method for data processing.
In FIFO, elements are added to the end of the queue using the ‘enqueue’ operation, and the first element is removed for processing using the ‘dequeue’ operation. Enqueuing and dequeuing in FIFO can be visualized as a conveyor belt where items are added at one end and taken from the opposite end.
A significant advantage of using FIFO is its simplicity. It is a straightforward and easy-to-understand data structure used in many programming languages. Another advantage of FIFO is its suitability for applications where data items need to be processed in a strict order. For instance, in a printer queue, you would want to process the print requests in the order they were received. FIFO ensures that the oldest print request is processed first.
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What Is LIFO?
The last in, first out data processing method is also commonly used in programming. In this method, the system processes the most recent, or