A linked list is called so because each of items in the list is a part of a structure, which is linked to the structure containing the next item. This type of list is called a linked list since it can be considered as a list whose order is given by links from one item to the next.
Each item has a node consisting two fields one containing the variable and another consisting of address of the next item(i.e., pointer to the next item) in the list. A linked list is therefore a collection of structures ordered by logical links that are stored as the part of data.
Consider the following example to illustrator the concept of linking. Suppose we define a structure as follows
struct linked_list *next;
struct Linked_list node1,node2;
this statement creates space for nodes each containing 2 empty fields
The next pointer of node1 can be made to point to the node 2 by the same statement.
This statement stores the address of node 2 into the field node1.next and this establishes a link between node1 and node2 similarly we can combine the process to create a special pointer value called null that can be stored in the next field of the last node
Advantages of Linked List:
A linked list is a dynamic data structure and therefore the size of the linked list can grow or shrink in size during execution of the program. A linked list does not require any extra space therefore it does not waste extra memory. It provides flexibility in rearranging the items efficiently.
The limitation of linked list is that it consumes extra space when compared to a array since each node must also contain the address of the next item in the list to search for a single item in a linked list is cumbersome and time consuming.
Types of linked list:
There are different kinds of linked lists they are
Linear singly linked list
Circular singly linked list
Two way or doubly linked list
Circular doubly linked list.
Applications of linked lists:
Linked lists concepts are useful to model many different abstract data types such as queues stacks and trees. If we restrict the process of insertions to one end of the list and deletions to the other end then
we have a mode of a queue that is we can insert an item at the rear end and remove an item at the front end obeying the discipline first in first out. If we restrict the insertions and deletions to occur only at one end of list the beginning then the model is called stacks. Stacks are all inherently one-dimensional. A tree represents a two dimension linked list. Trees are frequently encounters in every day life one example are organization chart and the other is sports tournament chart.