Collections Overview

A collection is a data structureactually, an objectthat can hold references to other objects. Usually, collections contain references to objects that are all of the same type. The collections framework interfaces declare the operations to be performed generically on various types of collections. Figure 19.1 lists some of the interfaces of the collections framework. Several implementations of these interfaces are provided within the framework. Programmers may also provide implementations specific to their own requirements.

Figure 19.1. Some collection framework interfaces.

Interface

Description

Collection

The root interface in the collections hierarchy from which interfaces Set, Queue and List are derived.

Set

A collection that does not contain duplicates.

List

An ordered collection that can contain duplicate elements.

Map

Associates keys to values and cannot contain duplicate keys.

Queue

Typically a first-in, first-out collection that models a waiting line; other orders can be specified.

The collections framework provides high-performance, high-quality implementations of common data structures and enables software reuse. These features minimize the amount of coding programmers need to do to create and manipulate collections. The classes and interfaces of the collections framework are members of package java.util. In the next section, we begin our discussion by examining the collections framework capabilities for array manipulation.

In earlier versions of Java, the classes in the collections framework stored and manipulated Object references. Thus, you could store any object in a collection. One inconvenient aspect of storing Object references occurs when retrieving them from a collection. A program normally has the need to process specific types of objects. As a result, the Object references obtained from a collection typically need to be cast to an appropriate type to allow the program to process the objects correctly.

In J2SE 5.0, the collections framework has been enhanced with the generics capabilities we introduced in Chapter 18. This means that you can specify the exact type that will be stored in a collection. You also receive the benefits of compile-time type checkingthe compiler ensures that you are using appropriate types with your collection and, if not, issues compile-time error messages. Also, once you specify the type stored in a collection, any reference you retrieve from the collection will have the specified type. This eliminates the need for explicit type casts that can throw ClassCastExceptions if the referenced object is not of the appropriate type. Programs that were implemented with prior java versions and that use collections can compile properly because the compiler automatically uses raw types when it encounters collections for which type arguments were not specified.

Introduction to Computers, the Internet and the World Wide Web

Introduction to Java Applications

Introduction to Classes and Objects

Control Statements: Part I

Control Statements: Part 2

Methods: A Deeper Look

Arrays

Classes and Objects: A Deeper Look

Object-Oriented Programming: Inheritance

Object-Oriented Programming: Polymorphism

GUI Components: Part 1

Graphics and Java 2D™

Exception Handling

Files and Streams

Recursion

Searching and Sorting

Data Structures

Generics

Collections

Introduction to Java Applets

Multimedia: Applets and Applications

GUI Components: Part 2

Multithreading

Networking

Accessing Databases with JDBC

Servlets

JavaServer Pages (JSP)

Formatted Output

Strings, Characters and Regular Expressions

Appendix A. Operator Precedence Chart

Appendix B. ASCII Character Set

Appendix C. Keywords and Reserved Words

Appendix D. Primitive Types

Appendix E. (On CD) Number Systems

Appendix F. (On CD) Unicode®

Appendix G. Using the Java API Documentation

Appendix H. (On CD) Creating Documentation with javadoc

Appendix I. (On CD) Bit Manipulation

Appendix J. (On CD) ATM Case Study Code

Appendix K. (On CD) Labeled break and continue Statements

Appendix L. (On CD) UML 2: Additional Diagram Types

Appendix M. (On CD) Design Patterns

Appendix N. Using the Debugger

Inside Back Cover

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Java(c) How to Program
Java How to Program (6th Edition) (How to Program (Deitel))
ISBN: 0131483986
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 615
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