Verify Preorder Serialization of a Binary Tree

One way to serialize a binary tree is to use pre-order traversal. When we encounter a non-null node, we record the node’s value. If it is a null node, we record using a sentinel value such as #.

Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 8.18.34 PM.png

For example, the above binary tree can be serialized to the string "9,3,4,#,#,1,#,#,2,#,6,#,#", where # represents a null node.


public class Solution {
    public boolean isValidSerialization(String preorder) {
        String[] nodes = preorder.split (",");
        int diff = 1;
        for (String node:nodes) {
            if (diff < 0) {
                return false;
            if (!node.equals("#")) {
                diff += 2;
        return diff == 0;

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