Discussion

Frequency analysis is important for decrypting secret messages. In a simple substitution cipher, the frequency characteristics of the original letters are still part of the encrypted message, so one could apply frequency analysis to try and decrypt the message. The 6 most frequently occurring letters in the English language are shown in the following table along with their relative frequencies. See image.

Problem

Write a class named letter_frequencies that represents the frequency of letters for a given string of an unspecified length.

A text file containing words, delimited by whitespace (spaces and newlines).

Output

A formatted, vertical star (*) plot of the frequencies of the letters used in the file in the order from most frequent to less frequent. Here is a portion of a typical plot for the top 4 letters of the alphabet for some string. Your plot must show all 26 letters. See image.

An annotated display of the original string using operator <<.

Minimum requirements

  • A class named letter_frequencies with at least the following members.
    • A constructor that takes std::string representing the string that was read from the file.
    • Overriden value semantics.
    • Overriden destructor.
    • A constant member that gets the frequency of its character argument. It should have a declaration as follows. size_type get_ltr_freq(const char) const;
    • An overloaded operator << that displays the letter frequencies as follows. The example is for the first 3 characters on each line. The operator should display 13 characters per line with a column width of 4 and left justification. Use two newlines between each major line.
    • A darray of letter/frequency pairs.
  • A struct named ltr_freq_pair that has has two members only—a char and a size_type to represent a character and its frequency.
  • A global function that plots the letter frequencies. Here is the declaration. void plot_letter_frequencies(const letter_frequencies&); Notice that you will have to sort your dynamic array based on frequency, and that the output is formatted. See below for a sorting algorithm.

Driver requirements

  • Present a greeting to the user (global function) which pauses and asks for a keypress and ENTER to continue.
  • Read the text file from the command line in argv[1].
  • Instantiate the letter_frequencies class and compute the letter frequencies.
  • Output the instance using operator << with an annotation.
  • Produce a vertical star plot of the letter frequencies with the global function and an annotation.
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