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Shortest Path Algorithm (Part 1)

This is the first part of a study on how shortest path algorithms work. This study is divided into three parts.

    1. Draw an empty board
    1. Add obstacles randomly
    1. Implement the shortest path algorithm

The division intends to make it easier to understand and visualize the algorithm.

1 - Dependencies

Before we start writing code, we need to install the python library Pillow.

pip install Pillow

2 - Imports

To draw the board, we need to import Image and ImageDraw classes from the Pillow library.

In [3]:
from PIL import Image, ImageDraw

PIL is short for Python Image Library

3 - Classes

Now that we have our dependencies installed, let's start defining the Node class.

The Node class will hold each position of the board.

In [62]:
class Node:
    Each node on the board
    # size of each node
    def __init__(self, x, y, fill='#FFFFFF', outline='#000000'):
        # define node position
        self.x = x
        self.y = y

        # define node colors
        self.fill = fill
        self.outline = outline
    def draw(self, base):
        # define the start of the image
        left = self.x * self.SIZE
        top = self.y * self.SIZE
        # define the end of the image
        right = left + self.SIZE
        bottom = top + self.SIZE
        # shape
        shape = [(left, top), (right, bottom)]

        node = ImageDraw.Draw(base)   
        node.rectangle(shape, fill=self.fill, outline=self.outline) 

Inside the draw method, we use the ImageDraw class to create the image of the node.

The most important part is the first parameter of the rectangle method. This parameter is responsible for the positions of the pixels that the class will use to draw our node.

The shape is an array with two positions. In the first position, we define where is the top/left edge of the rectangle and in the second, the bottom/right edge.

With these definitions, the method will draw:

  • One vertical line from the left/top edge to the relative left/bottom edge;
  • One vertical line from the right/bottom edge to the relative right/top edge;
  • One horizontal line from the left/top edge to the relative right/top edge;
  • One horizontal line from the right/bottom edge to the relative left/bottom edge.

In the end we have a rectangle.

Now we need to create the Board class, to hold the matrix of Nodes and draw the final image.

In [72]:
class Board:
    Matrix of Nodes
    def __init__(self, rows, cols):
        # size of the board
        self.rows = rows
        self.cols = cols
    def create(self):
        # start empty board
        self.board = [None] * self.rows

        for row in range(0, self.rows):
            self.board[row] = [None] * self.cols
            for col in range(0, self.cols):
                self.board[row][col] = Node(col, row)
    def draw(self):
        w = self.cols * 30
        h = self.rows * 30
        # define base image
        img = Image.new("RGB", (w, h), (173, 173, 173))

        for row in range(0, self.rows):
            for col in range(0, self.cols):
        # draw final image

4 - Drawing

With the classes defined, now everything we need to do is create an instance of the Board class with the number of rows and cols the board has.

In [73]:
board = Board(9, 9)

Then, we just need to call the methods create and draw.

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