Friday, 8 July 2011

Java Surprises

This post is all about Java surprises that I have collected while reading Java Puzzlers : Traps, Pitfalls, and Corner Cases By Joshua Bloch, Neal Gafter . You can use this post as a quick reference. I have listed only 40 items but please read this book for more details. I believe that you will enjoy ( the way I enjoyed ) when you read this book.

1. A char is an unsigned 16-bit primitive integer, nothing more.

2. The + operator performs string concatenation if and only if at least one of its operands is of type String  otherwise, it performs addition.

3. char arrays are not strings. To convert a char array to a string, invoke String.valueOf(char[]).

4. The == operator, however, does not test whether two objects are equal; it tests whether two object references are identical. In other words, it tests whether they refer to precisely the same object.

5. Compile-time constants of type String are interned [JLS 15.28]. In other words, any two constant expressions of type String that designate the same character sequence are represented by identical object references.

  class Test {
   public static void main(String[] args) {
    String pig = "length: 10";
    String dog = "length: 10";
    System.out.println("Animals are equal: "+(pig == dog));

Animals are equal: true

6. Java provides no special treatment for Unicode escapes within string literals. The compiler translates Unicode escapes into the characters they represent before it parses the program into tokens, such as strings literals [JLS 3.2].

 public class Test {

  public static void main(String[] args) {

   // \u0022 is the Unicode escape for double quote (")

   System.out.println("a\u0022.length() + \u0022b".length());
   System.out.println("a".length() + "b".length());


7. Unicode escapes must be well formed, even if they appear in comments.

8. Every time a byte sequence is translated to a String, a charset is used, whether it is specified explicitly or not. To make the program behave predictably, a charset should be specified.

9. charset: is the combination of a coded character set and a character-encoding scheme. In other words, a charset is a bunch of characters, the numerical codes that represent them, and a way to translate back and forth between a sequence of character codes and a sequence of bytes. The translation scheme differs greatly among charsets. Some have a one-to-one mapping between characters and bytes; most do not. The only default charset that will make the program print the integers from 0 to 255 in order is ISO-8859-1, more commonly known as Latin-1.

10. String.replaceAll takes a regular expression as its first parameter, not a literal sequence of characters. (Regular expressions were added to the Java platform in release 1.4.) The regular expression "." matches any single character of a string.

11. The URL that appears in the middle of the program is a statement label [JLS 14.7] followed by an end-of-line comment [JLS 3.7].

  public class Test {

    public static void main(String[] args) {

        System.out.print("I like ");;




I like firefox

12. The specification for Random.nextInt(int) says: "Returns a pseudorandom, uniformly distributed int value between 0 (inclusive) and the specified value (exclusive)" [Java-API]
   Random rnd = new Random();

This means that the only possible values of the expression rnd.nextInt(2) are 0 and 1.

13. StringBuffer(char) constructor does not exist. There is a parameterless constructor, one that takes a String indicating the initial contents of the string buffer and one that takes an int indicating its initial capacity.

14. The float and double types have a special NaN value to represent a quantity that is not a number.

15. NaN is not equal to any floating-point value, including itself.
    float i = Float.NAN;

     /* This is not terminate */
    while(i != i){ }

16. Any floating-point operation evaluates to NaN if one or more of its operands are NaN.

17. The + operator is overloaded: For the String type, it performs not addition but string concatenation. If one operand in the concatenation is of some type other than String, that operand is converted to a string prior to concatenation [JLS 15.18.1].

    System.out.println(new Integer(0) == new Integer(0));
Output: False

Because of identity comparison on the object references. Two distinct objects.

19. It is illegal to apply the unary minus operator to a non-numeric operand.

20. In a try-finally statement, the finally block is always executed when control leaves the try block [JLS 14.20.2]. This is true whether the try block completes normally or abruptly. Abrupt completion of a statement or block occurs when it throws an exception, executes a break or continue to an enclosing statement, or executes a return from the method as in this program. These are called abrupt completions because they prevent the program from executing the next statement in sequence.

21. It is a compile-time error for a catch clause to catch a checked exception type E if the corresponding Try clause can't throw an exception of some subtype of E [JLS 11.2.3].

22. The set of checked exceptions that a method can throw is the intersection of the sets of checked exceptions that it is declared to throw in all applicable types, not the union.

23. Instance initializers run before constructor bodies. Any exceptions thrown by instance initializers propagate to constructors. If initializers throw checked exceptions, constructors must be declared to throw them too.

24. StackOverflowError is a subtype of Error rather than Exception.

25. Java's exception checking is not enforced by the virtual machine. It is a compile-time facility designed to make it easier to write correct programs, but it can be circumvented at run time.

26. VM loads and initializes the class containing its main method. In between loading and initialization, the VM must link the class [JLS 12.3]. The first phase of linking is verification. Verification ensures that a class is well formed and obeys the semantic requirements of the language. Verification is critical to maintaining the guarantees that distinguish a safe language like Java from an unsafe language like C or C++.

27. To write a program that can detect when a class is missing, use reflection to refer to the class rather than the usual language constructs.

  try {
    Object m = Class.forName("Missing").newInstance();
  } catch (ClassNotFoundException ex) {
    System.err.println("Got it!");

28. Class.newInstance method instantiates a class reflectively. Class.newInstance invokes a class's parameterless constructor. Class.newInstance can throw checked exceptions that it does not declare.

29. Java's overload resolution process operates in two phases. The first phase selects all the methods or constructors that are accessible and applicable. The second phase selects the most specific of the methods or constructors selected in the first phase. One method or constructor is less specific than another if it can accept any parameters passed to the other [JLS].

The test for which method or constructor is most specific does not use the actual parameters: the parameters appearing in the invocation. They are used only to determine which overloadings are applicable. Once the compiler determines which overloadings are applicable and accessible, it selects the most specific overloading, using only the formal parameters: the parameters appearing in the declaration.

More generally, to force the compiler to select a specific overloading, cast actual parameters to the declared types of the formal parameters.

30. A single copy of each static field is shared among its declaring class and all subclasses.

31. When in doubt, favor composition over inheritance.

32. There is no dynamic dispatch on static methods [JLS]. When a program calls a static method, the method to be invoked is selected at compile time, based on the compile-time type of the qualifier, which is the name we give to the part of the method invocation expression to the left of the dot.

33. The instanceof operator is defined to return false when its left operand is null.

  String s = null;
  System.out.println(s instanceof String);

Output: false

34. Class initialization executes static initializers in the order they appear in the source.

35. A qualifying expression for a static method invocation is evaluated, but its value is ignored.

  public class Null {
    public static void greet() {
      System.out.println("Hello world!");
    public static void main(String[] args) {
      ((Null) null).greet();

Output: Hello world!

36. Java language syntax does not allow a local variable declaration statement as the statement repeated by a for, while, or do loop [JLS 14.12-14]. A local variable declaration can appear only as a statement directly within a block. (A block is a pair of curly braces and the statements and declarations contained within it.)

  // Does not compile
  for (int i = 0; i < 100; i++)
    Creature creature = new Creature();
  Two ways to fix this problem:
  for (int i = 0; i < 100; i++) {
    Creature creature = new Creature();
  for (int i = 0; i < 100; i++)
    new Creature();
37. BigInteger instances are immutable. So are instances of String, BigDecimal, and the wrapper types: Integer, Long, Short, Byte, Character, Boolean, Float, and Double. So their values can't be changed. Instead of modifying existing instances, operations on these types return new instances.
  BigInteger fiveThousand  = new BigInteger("5000");
  BigInteger total = BigInteger.ZERO;

Output: 0
  BigInteger fiveThousand  = new BigInteger("5000");
  BigInteger total = BigInteger.ZERO;
  total = total.add(fiveThousand);
Output: 5000 38. hashCode() method must be overridden whenever equals() method is overrridden, otherwise hashCode() implementation from Object will be inherited. This implementation returns an identity-based hash code. In other words, distinct objects are likely to have unequal hash values, even if they are equal.

39. When a variable and a type have the same name and both are in scope, the variable name takes precedence [JLS 6.5.2]. The variable name is said to obscure the type name [JLS 6.3.2]. Similarly, variable and type names can obscure package names.

40. A package-private method cannot be directly overridden by a method in a different package [JLS].

1 comment:

  1. Nice & Interesting. Loved your post.
    Thanks for sharing .

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