271. Encode and Decode Strings

Design an algorithm to encode a list of strings to a string. The encoded string is then sent over the network and is decoded back to the original list of strings.

Machine 1 (sender) has the function:

string encode(vector<string> strs) {
  // ... your code
  return encoded_string;
Machine 2 (receiver) has the function:
vector<string> decode(string s) {
  //... your code
  return strs;

So Machine 1 does:

string encoded_string = encode(strs);

and Machine 2 does:

vector<string> strs2 = decode(encoded_string);

strs2 in Machine 2 should be the same as strs in Machine 1.

Implement the encode and decode methods.


  • The string may contain any possible characters out of 256 valid ascii characters. Your algorithm should be generalized enough to work on any possible characters.
  • Do not use class member/global/static variables to store states. Your encode and decode algorithms should be stateless.
  • Do not rely on any library method such as eval or serialize methods. You should implement your own encode/decode algorithm.