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Introduction to Java 2 Programming Lecture 5 The Collections API.

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Presentation on theme: "Introduction to Java 2 Programming Lecture 5 The Collections API."— Presentation transcript:

1 Introduction to Java 2 Programming Lecture 5 The Collections API

2 Overview Collection classes –Types of collection –Working with Collections –Sorting

3 Collections Implementations of common data structures, such as Linked Lists, Sets, etc. –Part of the java.util package. –Also known as containers Advantages –Can hold any kind of object –Much more flexible than arrays Disadvantages –Not as efficient as arrays (for some uses) –Cant store primitive types –Not type-safe. Store references to Object

4 Types of Collection Two Types of Containers Collections –Group of objects, which may restricted or manipulated in some way –E.g. ordered to make a List or LinkedList –E.g. a Set, an unordered group which can only contain one of each item Maps –Associative array, Dictionary, Lookup Table, Hash –A group of name-value pairs

5 Java Collections

6 Collection Implementations Several implementations associated with each of the basic interfaces Each has its own advantages/disadvantages Maps –HashMap, SortedMap Lists –ArrayList, LinkedList Sets –HashSet, SortedSet

7 The Basics HashMap and ArrayList are most commonly encountered Usual object creation syntax Always refer to the objects via one of the Collections interfaces –Take advantage of polymorphism List myList = new ArrayList(); List otherList = new ArrayList(5); Map database = new HashMap(); Set things = new HashSet();

8 Adding Items For Collections, use add() List myList = new ArrayList(); myList.add(A String); myList.add(Other String); For Maps, use put() Map myMap = new HashMap(); myMap.put(google,; mpMap.put(yahoo,;

9 Copying Very easy, just use addAll() List myList = new ArrayList(); //assume we add items to the list List otherList = new ArrayList(); myList.addAll(myList);

10 Getting Individual Items Use get() Note that we have to cast the object to its original type. Collections… String s = (String)myList.get(1); //get first element String s2 = (String)myList.get(10); //get tenth element Maps… String s = (String)myMap.get(google); String s2 = (String)mpMap.get(yahoo);

11 Getting All items For Lists, we could use a for loop, and loop through the list to get() each item But this doesnt work for Maps. To allow generic handling of collections, Java defines an object called an Iterator –An object whose function is to walk through a Collection of objects and provide access to each object in sequence

12 Getting All items Get an iterator using the iterator() method Iterator objects have three methods: –next() – gets the next item in the collection –hasNext() – tests whether it has reached the end –remove() – removes the item just returned Basic iterators only go forwards –Lists objects have a ListIterator that can go forward and backward

13 Getting All items (List) Simple example: List myList = new ArrayList(); //we add items Iterator iterator = myList.iterator(); while (iterator.hasNext()) { String s = (String); //do something with it }

14 Getting All Items (Map) Example of using a Map Note that we can get a Set of all keys ( keySet ) or Collection of all values ( values ) Map myMap = new HashMap(); //we add items Iterator iterator = myMap.keySet.iterator(); while (iterator.hasNext()) { String theKey = (String); Object theValue = myMap.get(theKey); //do something useful }

15 Other Functions The java.util.Collections class has many useful methods for working with collections –min, max, sort, reverse, search, shuffle Virtually all require your objects to implement an extra interface, called Comparable

16 Comparable The Comparable interface labels objects that can be compared to one another. –Allows sorting algorithms to be written to work on any kind of object –so long as they support this interface Single method to implement public int compareTo(Object o); Returns –A negative number of parameter is less than the object –Zero if theyre equal –A positive number if the parameter is greater than the object

17 Comparable Example public class Person implements Comparable { private String email; private String lastName; public int compareTo(Object object) { Person other = (Person)object; //compare based on email address only return other.getEmail().compareTo(email); }

18 Comparable Example Person a = new Person(, Dodds); Person b = new Person(, Builder); List people = new ArrayList(); People.add(a); People.add(b); Java.util.Collections.sort(people); //collection is now sorted by email

19 Comparator Like Comparable, but is a stand-alone object used for comparing other objects –Useful when you want to use your criteria, not that of the implementor of the object. –Or altering the behaviour of a system Many of the methods in the Collections object also allow a Comparator to be specified Again method has single method: public int compare(Object obj1, Object obj2)

20 Comparator Example Java String comparison is lexicographic not alphabetic, I.e. based on the character set, not alphabetic order public class AlphaComparison implements Comparator { public int compare(Object obj1, Object obj2) { String s1 = ((String)o1).toLowerCase(); String s2 = ((String)o2).toLowerCase(); return s1.compareTo(s2); }

21 Comparator Example String one = One; String two = Two; String three = Three; List strings = new ArrayList(); strings.add(one); strings.add(two); strings.add(three); Collections.sort(strings, new AlphaComparison()); //now in alphabetical order

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