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Learning Java, 4th Edition

Cover of Learning Java, 4th Edition by Daniel Leuck... Published by O'Reilly Media, Inc.
  1. Learning Java
  2. Preface
    1. Who Should Read This Book
    2. New Developments
      1. New in This Edition (Java 6 and 7)
    3. Using This Book
    4. Online Resources
    5. Conventions Used in This Book
    6. Using Code Examples
    7. Safari® Books Online
    8. How to Contact Us
    9. Acknowledgments
  3. 1. A Modern Language
    1. Enter Java
      1. Java’s Origins
      2. Growing Up
    2. A Virtual Machine
    3. Java Compared with Other Languages
    4. Safety of Design
      1. Simplify, Simplify, Simplify...
      2. Type Safety and Method Binding
      3. Incremental Development
      4. Dynamic Memory Management
      5. Error Handling
      6. Threads
      7. Scalability
    5. Safety of Implementation
      1. The Verifier
      2. Class Loaders
      3. Security Managers
    6. Application and User-Level Security
    7. A Java Road Map
      1. The Past: Java 1.0–Java 1.6
      2. The Present: Java 7
      3. The Future
      4. Availability
  4. 2. A First Application
    1. Java Tools and Environment
    2. Configuring Eclipse and Creating a Project
      1. Importing the Learning Java Examples
    3. HelloJava
      1. Classes
      2. The main() Method
      3. Classes and Objects
      4. Variables and Class Types
      5. HelloComponent
      6. Inheritance
      7. The JComponent Class
      8. Relationships and Finger Pointing
      9. Package and Imports
      10. The paintComponent() Method
    4. HelloJava2: The Sequel
      1. Instance Variables
      2. Constructors
      3. Events
      4. The repaint() Method
      5. Interfaces
    5. HelloJava3: The Button Strikes!
      1. Method Overloading
      2. Components
      3. Containers
      4. Layout
      5. Subclassing and Subtypes
      6. More Events and Interfaces
      7. Color Commentary
      8. Static Members
      9. Arrays
      10. Our Color Methods
    6. HelloJava4: Netscape’s Revenge
      1. Threads
      2. The Thread Class
      3. The Runnable Interface
      4. Starting the Thread
      5. Running Code in the Thread
      6. Exceptions
      7. Synchronization
  5. 3. Tools of the Trade
    1. JDK Environment
    2. The Java VM
    3. Running Java Applications
      1. System Properties
    4. The Classpath
      1. javap
    5. The Java Compiler
    6. JAR Files
      1. File Compression
      2. The jar Utility
      3. The pack200 Utility
    7. Policy Files
      1. The Default Security Manager
      2. The policytool Utility
      3. Using a Policy File with the Default Security Manager
  6. 4. The Java Language
    1. Text Encoding
      1. Javadoc Comments
    3. Types
      1. Primitive Types
      2. Reference Types
      3. A Word About Strings
    4. Statements and Expressions
      1. Statements
      2. Expressions
    5. Exceptions
      1. Exceptions and Error Classes
      2. Exception Handling
      3. Bubbling Up
      4. Stack Traces
      5. Checked and Unchecked Exceptions
      6. Throwing Exceptions
      7. try Creep
      8. The finally Clause
      9. Try with Resources
      10. Performance Issues
    6. Assertions
      1. Enabling and Disabling Assertions
      2. Using Assertions
    7. Arrays
      1. Array Types
      2. Array Creation and Initialization
      3. Using Arrays
      4. Anonymous Arrays
      5. Multidimensional Arrays
      6. Inside Arrays
  7. 5. Objects in Java
    1. Classes
      1. Accessing Fields and Methods
      2. Static Members
    2. Methods
      1. Local Variables
      2. Shadowing
      3. Static Methods
      4. Initializing Local Variables
      5. Argument Passing and References
      6. Wrappers for Primitive Types
      7. Autoboxing and Unboxing of Primitives
      8. Variable-Length Argument Lists
      9. Method Overloading
    3. Object Creation
      1. Constructors
      2. Working with Overloaded Constructors
      3. Static and Nonstatic Initializer Blocks
    4. Object Destruction
      1. Garbage Collection
      2. Finalization
      3. Weak and Soft References
    5. Enumerations
      1. Enum Values
      2. Customizing Enumerations
  8. 6. Relationships Among Classes
    1. Subclassing and Inheritance
      1. Shadowed Variables
      2. Overriding Methods
      3. Special References: this and super
      4. Casting
      5. Using Superclass Constructors
      6. Full Disclosure: Constructors and Initialization
      7. Abstract Methods and Classes
    2. Interfaces
      1. Interfaces as Callbacks
      2. Interface Variables
      3. Subinterfaces
    3. Packages and Compilation Units
      1. Compilation Units
      2. Package Names
      3. Class Visibility
      4. Importing Classes
    4. Visibility of Variables and Methods
      1. Basic Access Modifiers
      2. Subclasses and Visibility
      3. Interfaces and Visibility
    5. Arrays and the Class Hierarchy
      1. ArrayStoreException
    6. Inner Classes
      1. Inner Classes as Adapters
      2. Inner Classes Within Methods
  9. 7. Working with Objects and Classes
    1. The Object Class
      1. Equality and Equivalence
      2. Hashcodes
      3. Cloning Objects
    2. The Class Class
    3. Reflection
      1. Modifiers and Security
      2. Accessing Fields
      3. Accessing Methods
      4. Accessing Constructors
      5. What About Arrays?
      6. Accessing Generic Type Information
      7. Accessing Annotation Data
      8. Dynamic Interface Adapters
      9. What Is Reflection Good For?
    4. Annotations
      1. Using Annotations
      2. Standard Annotations
      3. The apt Tool
  10. 8. Generics
    1. Containers: Building a Better Mousetrap
      1. Can Containers Be Fixed?
    2. Enter Generics
      1. Talking About Types
    3. “There Is No Spoon”
      1. Erasure
      2. Raw Types
    4. Parameterized Type Relationships
      1. Why Isn’t a List<Date> a List<Object>?
    5. Casts
    6. Writing Generic Classes
      1. The Type Variable
      2. Subclassing Generics
      3. Exceptions and Generics
      4. Parameter Type Limitations
    7. Bounds
      1. Erasure and Bounds (Working with Legacy Code)
    8. Wildcards
      1. A Supertype of All Instantiations
      2. Bounded Wildcards
      3. Thinking Outside the Container
      4. Lower Bounds
      5. Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic
      6. <?>, <Object>, and the Raw Type
      7. Wildcard Type Relationships
    9. Generic Methods
      1. Generic Methods Introduced
      2. Type Inference from Arguments
      3. Type Inference from Assignment Context
      4. Explicit Type Invocation
      5. Wildcard Capture
      6. Wildcard Types Versus Generic Methods
    10. Arrays of Parameterized Types
      1. Using Array Types
      2. What Good Are Arrays of Generic Types?
      3. Wildcards in Array Types
    11. Case Study: The Enum Class
    12. Case Study: The sort() Method
    13. Conclusion
  11. 9. Threads
    1. Introducing Threads
      1. The Thread Class and the Runnable Interface
      2. Controlling Threads
      3. Death of a Thread
    2. Threading an Applet
      1. Issues Lurking
    3. Synchronization
      1. Serializing Access to Methods
      2. Accessing class and instance Variables from Multiple Threads
      3. The wait() and notify() Methods
      4. Passing Messages
      5. ThreadLocal Objects
    4. Scheduling and Priority
      1. Thread State
      2. Time-Slicing
      3. Priorities
      4. Yielding
    5. Thread Groups
      1. Working with ThreadGroups
      2. Uncaught Exceptions
    6. Thread Performance
      1. The Cost of Synchronization
      2. Thread Resource Consumption
    7. Concurrency Utilities
      1. Executors
      2. Locks
      3. Synchronization Constructs
      4. Atomic Operations
    8. Conclusion
  12. 10. Working with Text
    1. Text-Related APIs
    2. Strings
      1. Constructing Strings
      2. Strings from Things
      3. Comparing Strings
      4. Searching
      5. Editing
      6. String Method Summary
      7. StringBuilder and StringBuffer
    3. Internationalization
      1. The java.util.Locale Class
      2. Resource Bundles
    4. Parsing and Formatting Text
      1. Parsing Primitive Numbers
      2. Tokenizing Text
    5. Printf-Style Formatting
      1. Formatter
      2. The Format String
      3. String Conversions
      4. Primitive and Numeric Conversions
      5. Flags
      6. Miscellaneous
    6. Formatting with the java.text Package
      1. MessageFormat
    7. Regular Expressions
      1. Regex Notation
      2. The java.util.regex API
  13. 11. Core Utilities
    1. Math Utilities
      1. The java.lang.Math Class
      2. Big/Precise Numbers
      3. Floating-Point Components
      4. Random Numbers
    2. Dates and Times
      1. Working with Calendars
      2. Time Zones
      3. Parsing and Formatting with DateFormat
      4. Printf-Style Date and Time Formatting
    3. Timers
    4. Collections
      1. The Collection Interface
      2. Iterator
      3. Collection Types
      4. The Map Interface
      5. Collection Implementations
      6. Hash Codes and Key Values
      7. Synchronized and Unsynchronized Collections
      8. Read-Only and Read-Mostly Collections
      9. WeakHashMap
      10. EnumSet and EnumMap
      11. Sorting Collections
      12. A Thrilling Example
    5. Properties
      1. Loading and Storing
      2. System Properties
    6. The Preferences API
      1. Preferences for Classes
      2. Preferences Storage
      3. Change Notification
    7. The Logging API
      1. Overview
      2. Logging Levels
      3. A Simple Example
      4. Logging Setup Properties
      5. The Logger
      6. Performance
    8. Observers and Observables
  14. 12. Input/Output Facilities
    1. Streams
      1. Basic I/O
      2. Character Streams
      3. Stream Wrappers
      4. Pipes
      5. Streams from Strings and Back
      6. Implementing a Filter Stream
    2. File I/O
      1. The Class
      2. File Streams
      3. RandomAccessFile
      4. Resource Paths
    3. The NIO File API
      1. FileSystem and Path
      2. NIO File Operations
      3. Directory Operations
      4. Watching Paths
    4. Serialization
      1. Initialization with readObject()
      2. SerialVersionUID
    5. Data Compression
      1. Archives and Compressed Data
      2. Decompressing Data
      3. Zip Archive As a Filesystem
    6. The NIO Package
      1. Asynchronous I/O
      2. Performance
      3. Mapped and Locked Files
      4. Channels
      5. Buffers
      6. Character Encoders and Decoders
      7. FileChannel
      8. Scalable I/O with NIO
  15. 13. Network Programming
    1. Sockets
      1. Clients and Servers
      2. author="pat” timestamp="20120926T110720-0500” comment="one of those sections I hate to get rid of but is less relevant in terms of the example... should probably find a more modern example...”The DateAtHost Client
      3. The TinyHttpd Server
      4. Socket Options
      5. Proxies and Firewalls
    2. Datagram Sockets
      1. author="pat” timestamp="20120926T141346-0500” comment="I actually rewrote this as a standalone client but then decided to leave it as an applet”The HeartBeat Applet
      2. InetAddress
    3. Simple Serialized Object Protocols
      1. A Simple Object-Based Server
    4. Remote Method Invocation
      1. Real-World Usage
      2. Remote and Nonremote Objects
      3. An RMI Example
      4. RMI and CORBA
    5. Scalable I/O with NIO
      1. Selectable Channels
      2. Using Select
      3. LargerHttpd
      4. Nonblocking Client-Side Operations
  16. 14. Programming for the Web
    1. Uniform Resource Locators (URLs)
    2. The URL Class
      1. Stream Data
      2. Getting the Content as an Object
      3. Managing Connections
      4. Handlers in Practice
      5. Useful Handler Frameworks
    3. Talking to Web Applications
      1. Using the GET Method
      2. Using the POST Method
      3. The HttpURLConnection
      4. SSL and Secure Web Communications
      5. URLs, URNs, and URIs
    4. Web Services
      1. XML-RPC
      2. WSDL
      3. The Tools
      4. The Weather Service Client
  17. 15. Web Applications and Web Services
    1. Web Application Technologies
      1. Page-Oriented Versus “Single Page” Applications
      2. JSPs
      3. XML and XSL
      4. Web Application Frameworks
      5. Google Web Toolkit
      6. HTML5, AJAX, and More...
    2. Java Web Applications
      1. The Servlet Lifecycle
      2. Servlets
      3. The HelloClient Servlet
      4. The Servlet Response
      5. Servlet Parameters
      6. The ShowParameters Servlet
      7. User Session Management
      8. The ShowSession Servlet
      9. The ShoppingCart Servlet
      10. Cookies
      11. The ServletContext API
      12. Asynchronous Servlets
    3. WAR Files and Deployment
      1. Configuration with web.xml and Annotations
      2. URL Pattern Mappings
      3. Deploying HelloClient
      4. Error and Index Pages
      5. Security and Authentication
      6. Protecting Resources with Roles
      7. Secure Data Transport
      8. Authenticating Users
      9. Procedural Authorization
    4. Servlet Filters
      1. A Simple Filter
      2. A Test Servlet
      3. Declaring and Mapping Filters
      4. Filtering the Servlet Request
      5. Filtering the Servlet Response
    5. Building WAR Files with Ant
      1. A Development-Oriented Directory Layout
      2. Deploying and Redeploying WARs with Ant
    6. Implementing Web Services
      1. Defining the Service
      2. Our Echo Service
      3. Using the Service
      4. Data Types
    7. Conclusion
  18. 16. Swing
    1. Components
      1. Peers and Look-and-Feel
      2. The MVC Framework
      3. Painting
      4. Enabling and Disabling Components
      5. Focus, Please
      6. Other Component Methods
      7. Layout Managers
      8. Insets
      9. Z-Ordering (Stacking Components)
      10. The revalidate() and doLayout() Methods
      11. Managing Components
      12. Listening for Components
      13. Windows, Frames and Splash Screens
      14. Other Methods for Controlling Frames
      15. Content Panes
      16. Desktop Integration
    2. Events
      1. Event Receivers and Listener Interfaces
      2. Event Sources
      3. Event Delivery
      4. Event Types
      5. The java.awt.event.InputEvent Class
      6. Mouse and Key Modifiers on InputEvents
      7. Focus Events
    3. Event Summary
      1. Adapter Classes
      2. Dummy Adapters
    4. The AWT Robot!
    5. Multithreading in Swing
  19. 17. Using Swing Components
    1. Buttons and Labels
      1. HTML Text in Buttons and Labels
    2. Checkboxes and Radio Buttons
    3. Lists and Combo Boxes
    4. The Spinner
    5. Borders
    6. Menus
    7. Pop-Up Menus
      1. Component-Managed Pop Ups
    8. The JScrollPane Class
    9. The JSplitPane Class
    10. The JTabbedPane Class
    11. Scrollbars and Sliders
    12. Dialogs
      1. File Selection Dialog
      2. The Color Chooser
  20. 18. More Swing Components
    1. Text Components
      1. The TextEntryBox Application
      2. Formatted Text
      3. Filtering Input
      4. Validating Data
      5. Say the Magic Word
      6. Sharing a Data Model
      7. HTML and RTF for Free
      8. Managing Text Yourself
    2. Focus Navigation
      1. Trees
      2. Nodes and Models
      3. Save a Tree
      4. Tree Events
      5. A Complete Example
    3. Tables
      1. A First Stab: Freeloading
      2. Round Two: Creating a Table Model
      3. Round Three: A Simple Spreadsheet
      4. Sorting and Filtering
      5. Printing JTables
    4. Desktops
    5. Pluggable Look-and-Feel
    6. Creating Custom Components
      1. Generating Events
      2. A Dial Component
      3. Model and View Separation
  21. 19. Layout Managers
    1. FlowLayout
    2. GridLayout
    3. BorderLayout
    4. BoxLayout
    5. CardLayout
    6. GridBagLayout
      1. The GridBagConstraints Class
      2. Grid Coordinates
      3. The fill Constraint
      4. Spanning Rows and Columns
      5. Weighting
      6. Anchoring
      7. Padding and Insets
      8. Relative Positioning
      9. Composite Layouts
    7. Other Layout Managers
    8. Absolute Positioning
  22. 20. Drawing with the 2D API
    1. The Big Picture
    2. The Rendering Pipeline
    3. A Quick Tour of Java 2D
      1. Filling Shapes
      2. Drawing Shape Outlines
      3. Convenience Methods
      4. Drawing Text
      5. Drawing Images
      6. The Whole Iguana
    4. Filling Shapes
      1. Solid Colors
      2. Color Gradients
      3. Textures
      4. Desktop Colors
    5. Stroking Shape Outlines
    6. Using Fonts
      1. Font Metrics
    7. Displaying Images
      1. The Image Class
      2. Image Observers
      3. Scaling and Size
    8. Drawing Techniques
      1. Double Buffering
      2. Limiting Drawing with Clipping
      3. Offscreen Drawing
    9. Printing
  23. 21. Working with Images and Other Media
    1. Loading Images
      1. ImageObserver
      2. MediaTracker
      3. ImageIcon
      4. ImageIO
    2. Producing Image Data
      1. Drawing Animations
      2. BufferedImage Anatomy
      3. Color Models
      4. Creating an Image
      5. Updating a BufferedImage
    3. Filtering Image Data
      1. How ImageProcessor Works
      2. Converting an Image to a BufferedImage
      3. Using the RescaleOp Class
      4. Using the AffineTransformOp Class
    4. Saving Image Data
    5. Simple Audio
    6. Java Media Framework
  24. 22. JavaBeans
    1. What’s a Bean?
      1. What Constitutes a Bean?
    2. The NetBeans IDE
      1. Installing and Running NetBeans
    3. Properties and Customizers
    4. Event Hookups and Adapters
      1. Taming the Juggler
      2. Molecular Motion
    5. Binding Properties
      1. Constraining Properties
    6. Building Beans
      1. The Dial Bean
      2. Design Patterns for Properties
    7. Limitations of Visual Design
    8. Serialization Versus Code Generation
    9. Customizing with BeanInfo
      1. Getting Properties Information
    10. Handcoding with Beans
      1. Bean Instantiation and Type Management
      2. Working with Serialized Beans
      3. Runtime Event Hookups with Reflection
    11. BeanContext and BeanContextServices
    12. The Java Activation Framework
    13. Enterprise JavaBeans and POJO-Based Enterprise Frameworks
  25. 23. Applets
    1. The Politics of Browser-Based Applications
    2. Applet Support and the Java Plug-in
    3. The JApplet Class
      1. Applet Lifecycle
      2. The Applet Security Sandbox
      3. Getting Applet Resources
      4. The <applet> Tag
      5. Attributes
      6. Parameters
      7. ¿Habla Applet?
      8. The Complete <applet> Tag
      9. Loading Class Files
      10. Packages
      11. appletviewer
    4. Java Web Start
    5. Conclusion
  26. 24. XML
    1. The Butler Did It
    2. A Bit of Background
      1. Text Versus Binary
      2. A Universal Parser
      3. The State of XML
      4. The XML APIs
      5. XML and Web Browsers
    3. XML Basics
      1. Attributes
      2. XML Documents
      3. Encoding
      4. Namespaces
      5. Validation
      6. HTML to XHTML
    4. SAX
      1. The SAX API
      2. Building a Model Using SAX
      3. XMLEncoder/Decoder
    5. DOM
      1. The DOM API
      2. Test-Driving DOM
      3. Generating XML with DOM
      4. JDOM
    6. XPath
      1. Nodes
      2. Predicates
      3. Functions
      4. The XPath API
      5. XMLGrep
    7. XInclude
      1. Enabling XInclude
    8. Validating Documents
      1. Using Document Validation
      2. DTDs
      3. XML Schema
      4. The Validation API
    9. JAXB Code Binding and Generation
      1. Annotating Our Model
      2. Generating a Java Model from an XML Schema
      3. Generating an XML Schema from a Java Model
    10. Transforming Documents with XSL/XSLT
      1. XSL Basics
      2. Transforming the Zoo Inventory
      3. XSLTransform
      4. XSL in the Browser
    11. Web Services
    12. The End of the Book
  27. A. The Eclipse IDE
    1. The IDE Wars
    2. Getting Started with Eclipse
      1. Importing the Learning Java Examples
    3. Using Eclipse
      1. Getting at the Source
      2. The Lay of the Land
      3. Running the Examples
      4. Building the Ant-Based Examples
      5. Loner Examples
    4. Eclipse Features
      1. Coding Shortcuts
      2. Autocorrection
      3. Refactoring
      4. Diffing Files
      5. Organizing Imports
      6. Formatting Source Code
    5. Conclusion
  28. B. BeanShell: Java Scripting
    1. Running BeanShell
    2. Java Statements and Expressions
      1. Imports
    3. BeanShell Commands
    4. Scripted Methods and Objects
      1. Scripting Interfaces and Adapters
    5. Changing the Classpath
    6. Learning More . . .
  29. Glossary
  30. Index
  31. About the Authors
  32. Colophon
  33. Copyright
O'Reilly logo

Statements and Expressions

Java statements appear inside methods and classes; they describe all activities of a Java program. Variable declarations and assignments, such as those in the previous section, are statements, as are basic language structures such as if/then conditionals and loops.

    int size = 5;
    if ( size > 10 )
    for( int x = 0; x < size; x++ ) { ... }

Expressions produce values; an expression is evaluated to produce a result that is to be used as part of another expression or in a statement. Method calls, object allocations, and, of course, mathematical expressions are examples of expressions. Technically, because variable assignments can be used as values for further assignments or operations (in somewhat questionable programming style), they can be considered to be both statements and expressions.

    new Object();
    Math.sin( 3.1415 );
    42 * 64;

One of the tenets of Java is to keep things simple and consistent. To that end, when there are no other constraints, evaluations and initializations in Java always occur in the order in which they appear in the code—from left to right, top to bottom. We’ll see this rule used in the evaluation of assignment expressions, method calls, and array indexes, to name a few cases. In some other languages, the order of evaluation is more complicated or even implementation-dependent. Java removes this element of danger by precisely and simply defining how the code is evaluated. This doesn’t mean you should start writing obscure and convoluted statements, however. Relying on the order of evaluation of expressions in complex ways is a bad programming habit, even when it works. It produces code that is hard to read and harder to modify.


Statements and expressions in Java appear within a code block. A code block is syntactically a series of statements surrounded by an open curly brace ({) and a close curly brace (}). The statements in a code block can include variable declarations and most of the other sorts of statements and expressions we mentioned earlier:

        int size = 5;

Methods, which look like C functions, are in a sense just code blocks that take parameters and can be called by their names—for example, the method setUpDog():

    setUpDog( String name ) {
        int size = 5;
        setName( name );

Variable declarations are limited in scope to their enclosing code block—that is, they can’t be seen outside of the nearest set of braces:

        int i = 5;

    i = 6;           // Compile-time error, no such variable i

In this way, code blocks can be used to arbitrarily group other statements and variables. The most common use of code blocks, however, is to define a group of statements for use in a conditional or iterative statement.

if/else conditionals

We can define an if/else clause as follows:

    if ( condition )
    [ else
        statement; ]

(The whole of the preceding example is itself a statement and could be nested within another if/else clause.) The if clause has the common functionality of taking two different forms: a “one-liner” or a block. The block form is as follows:

    if ( condition )  {
        [ statement; ]
        [ statement; ]
        [ ... ]
    } else {
        [ statement; ]
        [ statement; ]
        [ ... ]

The condition is a Boolean expression. A Boolean expression is a true or false value or an expression that evaluates to one of those. For example i == 0 is a Boolean expression that tests whether the integer i holds the value 0.

In the second form, the statements are in code blocks, and all their enclosed statements are executed if the corresponding (if or else) branch is taken. Any variables declared within each block are visible only to the statements within the block. Like the if/else conditional, most of the remaining Java statements are concerned with controlling the flow of execution. They act for the most part like their namesakes in other languages.

do/while loops

The do and while iterative statements have the familiar functionality; their conditional test is also a Boolean expression:

    while ( condition )
    while ( condition );

For example:

    while( queue.isEmpty() )

Unlike while or for loops (which we’ll see next) that test their conditions first, a do-while loop always executes its statement body at least once.

The for loop

The most general form of the for loop is also a holdover from the C language:

    for ( initialization; condition; incrementor )

The variable initialization section can declare or initialize variables that are limited to the scope of the for statement. The for loop then begins a possible series of rounds in which the condition is first checked and, if true, the body statement (or block) is executed. Following each execution of the body, the incrementor expressions are evaluated to give them a chance to update variables before the next round begins:

    for ( int i = 0; i < 100; i++ ) {
        System.out.println( i );
        int j = i;

This loop will execute 100 times, printing values from 0 to 99. Note that the variable j is local to the block (visible only to statements within it) and will not be accessible to the code “after” the for loop. If the condition of a for loop returns false on the first check, the body and incrementor section will never be executed.

You can use multiple comma-separated expressions in the initialization and incrementation sections of the for loop. For example:

    for (int i = 0, j = 10; i < j; i++, j-- ) {

You can also initialize existing variables from outside the scope of the for loop within the initializer block. You might do this if you wanted to use the end value of the loop variable elsewhere:

    int x;
    for( x = 0; hasMoreValue(); x++ )
    System.out.println( x );

The enhanced for loop

Java’s auspiciously dubbed “enhanced for loop” acts like the “foreach” statement in some other languages, iterating over a series of values in an array or other type of collection:

    for ( varDeclaration : iterable )

The enhanced for loop can be used to loop over arrays of any type as well as any kind of Java object that implements the java.lang.Iterable interface. This includes most of the classes of the Java Collections API. We’ll talk about arrays in this and the next chapter; Chapter 11 covers Java Collections. Here are a couple of examples:

    int [] arrayOfInts = new int [] { 1, 2, 3, 4 };

    for( int i  : arrayOfInts )
        System.out.println( i );

    List<String> list = new ArrayList<String>();

    for( String s : list )
        System.out.println( s );

Again, we haven’t discussed arrays or the List class and special syntax in this example. What we’re showing here is the enhanced for loop iterating over an array of integers and also a list of string values. In the second case, the List implements the Iterable interface and thus can be a target of the for loop.

switch statements

The most common form of the Java switch statement takes an integer (or a numeric type argument that can be automatically “promoted” to an integer type), a string type argument, or an “enum” type (discussed shortly) and selects among a number of alternative, constant case branches:[8]

    switch ( expression )
        case constantExpression :
        [ case constantExpression :statement;  ]
        [ default :
            statement;  ]

The case expression for each branch must evaluate to a different constant integer or string value at compile time. Strings are compared using the String equals() method, which we’ll discuss in more detail in Chapter 10. An optional default case can be specified to catch unmatched conditions. When executed, the switch simply finds the branch matching its conditional expression (or the default branch) and executes the corresponding statement. But that’s not the end of the story. Perhaps counterintuitively, the switch statement then continues executing branches after the matched branch until it hits the end of the switch or a special statement called break. Here are a couple of examples:

    int value = 2;

    switch( value ) {
        case 1:
            System.out.println( 1 );
        case 2:
            System.out.println( 2 );
        case 3:
            System.out.println( 3 );

    // prints 2, 3!

Using break to terminate each branch is more common:

    int retValue = checkStatus();

    switch ( retVal )
        case MyClass.GOOD :
            // something good
        case MyClass.BAD :
            // something bad
        default :
            // neither one

In this example, only one branch—GOOD, BAD, or the default—is executed. The “fall through” behavior of the switch is justified when you want to cover several possible case values with the same statement without resorting to a bunch of if/else statements:

    int value = getSize();

    switch( value ) {
        case MINISCULE:
        case TEENYWEENIE:
        case SMALL:
            System.out.println("Small" );
        case MEDIUM:
            System.out.println("Medium" );
        case LARGE:
        case EXTRALARGE:
            System.out.println("Large" );

This example effectively groups the six possible values into three cases.

Enumerations and switch statements

Enumerations are intended to replace much of the usage of integer constants for situations like the one just discussed with a typesafe alternative. Enumerations use objects as their values instead of integers but preserve the notion of ordering and comparability. We’ll see in Chapter 5 that enumerations are declared much like classes and that the values can be “imported” into the code of your application to be used just like constants. For example:

    enum Size { Small, Medium, Large }

You can use enumerations in switches in the same way that the previous switch examples used integer constants. In fact, it is much safer to do so because the enumerations have real types and the compiler does not let you mistakenly add cases that do not match any value or mix values from different enumerations.

    // usage
    Size size = ...;
    switch ( size ) {
        case Small:
        case Medium:
        case Large:

Chapter 5 provides more details about enumerations.


The Java break statement and its friend continue can also be used to cut short a loop or conditional statement by jumping out of it. A break causes Java to stop the current block statement and resume execution after it. In the following example, the while loop goes on endlessly until the condition() method returns true, triggering a break statement that stops the loop and proceeds at the point marked “after while.”

    while( true ) {
        if ( condition() )
    // after while

A continue statement causes for and while loops to move on to their next iteration by returning to the point where they check their condition. The following example prints the numbers 0 through 99, skipping number 33.

    for( int i=0; i < 100; i++ ) {
        if ( i == 33 )
        System.out.println( i );

The break and continue statements look like those in the C language, but Java’s forms have the additional ability to take a label as an argument and jump out multiple levels to the scope of the labeled point in the code. This usage is not very common in day-to-day Java coding, but may be important in special cases. Here is an outline:

        while ( condition ) {
                while ( condition ) {

                    // break or continue point
            // after labelTwo
    // after labelOne

Enclosing statements, such as code blocks, conditionals, and loops, can be labeled with identifiers like labelOne and labelTwo. In this example, a break or continue without argument at the indicated position has the same effect as the earlier examples. A break causes processing to resume at the point labeled “after labelTwo”; a continue immediately causes the labelTwo loop to return to its condition test.

The statement break labelTwo at the indicated point has the same effect as an ordinary break, but break labelOne breaks both levels and resumes at the point labeled “after labelOne.” Similarly, continue labelTwo serves as a normal continue, but continue labelOne returns to the test of the labelOne loop. Multilevel break and continue statements remove the main justification for the evil goto statement in C/C++.

There are a few Java statements we aren’t going to discuss right now. The try , catch, and finally statements are used in exception handling, as we’ll discuss later in this chapter. The synchronized statement in Java is used to coordinate access to statements among multiple threads of execution; see Chapter 9 for a discussion of thread synchronization.

Unreachable statements

On a final note, we should mention that the Java compiler flags “unreachable” statements as compile-time errors. An unreachable statement is one that the compiler determines won’t be called at all. Of course, many methods may never actually be called in your code, but the compiler detects only those that it can “prove” are never called by simple checking at compile time. For example, a method with an unconditional return statement in the middle of it causes a compile-time error, as does a method with a conditional that the compiler can tell will never be fulfilled:

    if (1 < 2)
    // unreachable statements


An expression produces a result, or value, when it is evaluated. The value of an expression can be a numeric type, as in an arithmetic expression; a reference type, as in an object allocation; or the special type, void, which is the declared type of a method that doesn’t return a value. In the last case, the expression is evaluated only for its side effects; that is, the work it does aside from producing a value. The type of an expression is known at compile time. The value produced at runtime is either of this type or in the case of a reference type, a compatible (assignable) subtype.


Java supports almost all standard operators from the C language. These operators also have the same precedence in Java as they do in C, as shown in Table 4-3.

Table 4-3. Java operators



Operand type



++, —


Increment and decrement


+, -


Unary plus and minus




Bitwise complement




Logical complement


( type )




*, /, %


Multiplication, division, remainder


+, -


Addition and subtraction




String concatenation




Left shift




Right shift with sign extension




Right shift with no extension


<, <=, >, >=


Numeric comparison




Type comparison


==, !=


Equality and inequality of value


==, !=


Equality and inequality of reference




Bitwise AND




Boolean AND




Bitwise XOR




Boolean XOR




Bitwise OR




Boolean OR




Conditional AND




Conditional OR




Conditional ternary operator





We should also note that the percent (%) operator is not strictly a modulo, but a remainder, and can have a negative value.

Java also adds some new operators. As we’ve seen, the + operator can be used with String values to perform string concatenation. Because all integral types in Java are signed values, the >> operator can be used to perform a right-arithmetic-shift operation with sign extension. The >>> operator treats the operand as an unsigned number and performs a right-arithmetic-shift with no sign extension. The new operator is used to create objects; we will discuss it in detail shortly.


While variable initialization (i.e., declaration and assignment together) is considered a statement with no resulting value, variable assignment alone is an expression:

    int i, j;          // statement
    i = 5;             // both expression and statement

Normally, we rely on assignment for its side effects alone, but an assignment can be used as a value in another part of an expression:

    j = ( i = 5 );

Again, relying on order of evaluation extensively (in this case, using compound assignments in complex expressions) can make code obscure and hard to read.

The null value

The expression null can be assigned to any reference type. It means “no reference.” A null reference can’t be used to reference anything and attempting to do so generates a NullPointerException at runtime.

Variable access

The dot (.) operator is used to select members of a class or object instance. (We’ll talk about those in detail in the following chapters.) It can retrieve the value of an instance variable (of an object) or a static variable (of a class). It can also specify a method to be invoked on an object or class:

    int i = myObject.length;
    String s =;

A reference-type expression can be used in compound evaluations by selecting further variables or methods on the result:

    int len =;
    int initialLen =, 10).length();

Here we have found the length of our name variable by invoking the length() method of the String object. In the second case, we took an intermediate step and asked for a substring of the name string. The substring method of the String class also returns a String reference, for which we ask the length. Compounding operations like this is also called chaining method calls, which we’ll mention later. One chained selection operation that we’ve used a lot already is calling the println() method on the variable out of the System class:

    System.out.println("calling println on out");

Method invocation

Methods are functions that live within a class and may be accessible through the class or its instances, depending on the kind of method. Invoking a method means to execute its body statements, passing in any required parameter variables and possibly getting a value in return. A method invocation is an expression that results in a value. The value’s type is the return type of the method:

    System.out.println( "Hello, World..." );
    int myLength = myString.length();

Here, we invoked the methods println() and length() on different objects. The length() method returned an integer value; the return type of println() is void (no value).

This is all pretty simple, but in Chapter 5 we’ll see that it gets a little more complex when there are methods with the same name but different parameter types in the same class or when a method is redefined in a child class, as described in Chapter 6.

Object creation

Objects in Java are allocated with the new operator:

    Object o = new Object();

The argument to new is the constructor for the class. The constructor is a method that always has the same name as the class. The constructor specifies any required parameters to create an instance of the object. The value of the new expression is a reference of the type of the created object. Objects always have one or more constructors, though they may not always be accessible to you.

We look at object creation in detail in Chapter 5. For now, just note that object creation is a type of expression and that the result is an object reference. A minor oddity is that the binding of new is “tighter” than that of the dot (.) selector. So you can create a new object and invoke a method in it without assigning the object to a reference type variable if you have some reason to:

    int hours = new Date().getHours();

The Date class is a utility class that represents the current time. Here we create a new instance of Date with the new operator and call its getHours() method to retrieve the current hour as an integer value. The Date object reference lives long enough to service the method call and is then cut loose and garbage-collected at some point in the future (see Chapter 5 for details about garbage collection).

Calling methods in object references in this way is, again, a matter of style. It would certainly be clearer to allocate an intermediate variable of type Date to hold the new object and then call its getHours() method. However, combining operations like this is common.

The instanceof operator

The instanceof operator can be used to determine the type of an object at runtime. It tests to see if an object is of the same type or a subtype of the target type. This is the same as asking if the object can be assigned to a variable of the target type. The target type may be a class, interface, or array type as we’ll see later. instanceof returns a boolean value that indicates whether the object matches the type:

    Boolean b;
    String str = "foo";
    b = ( str instanceof String ); // true, str is a String
    b = ( str instanceof Object ); // also true, a String is an Object
    //b = ( str instanceof Date ); // The compiler is smart enough to catch this!

instanceof also correctly reports whether the object is of the type of an array or a specified interface (as we’ll discuss later):

    if ( foo instanceof byte[] )

It is also important to note that the value null is not considered an instance of any object. The following test returns false, no matter what the declared type of the variable:

    String s = null;
    if ( s instanceof String )
        // false, null isn't an instance of anything

[8] Strings in switch statements were added in Java 7.

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