2.2 Language Basics

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Overview


  • Variables
    • You've already learned that objects store their state in fields. However, the Java programming language also uses the term "variable" as well. This section discusses this relationship, plus variable naming rules and conventions, basic data types (primitive types, character strings, and arrays), default values, and literals.
  • Operators
    • This section describes the operators of the Java programming language. It presents the most commonly-used operators first, and the less commonly-used operators last. Each discussion includes code samples that you can compile and run.
  • Expressions, Statements, and Blocks
    • Operators may be used in building expressions, which compute values; expressions are the core components of statements; statements may be grouped into blocks. This section discusses expressions, statements, and blocks using example code that you've already seen.
  • Control Flow Statements
    • This section describes the control flow statements supported by the Java programming language. It covers the decisions-making, looping, and branching statements that enable your programs to conditionally execute particular blocks of code.

1. Variables



As you learned in the previous lesson, an object stores its state in fields.

int cadence = 0;
int speed = 0;
int gear = 1;

The What Is an Object? discussion introduced you to fields, but you probably have still a few questions, such as: What are the rules and conventions for naming a field? Besides int, what other data types are there? Do fields have to be initialized when they are declared? Are fields assigned a default value if they are not explicitly initialized? We'll explore the answers to such questions in this lesson, but before we do, there are a few technical distinctions you must first become aware of. In the Java programming language, the terms "field" and "variable" are both used; this is a common source of confusion among new developers, since both often seem to refer to the same thing.

The Java programming language defines the following kinds of variables:
  • Instance Variables (Non-Static Fields) Technically speaking, objects store their individual states in "non-static fields", that is, fields declared without the static keyword. Non-static fields are also known as instance variables because their values are unique to each instance of a class (to each object, in other words); the currentSpeed of one bicycle is independent from the currentSpeed of another.
  • Class Variables (Static Fields) A class variable is any field declared with the static modifier; this tells the compiler that there is exactly one copy of this variable in existence, regardless of how many times the class has been instantiated. A field defining the number of gears for a particular kind of bicycle could be marked as static since conceptually the same number of gears will apply to all instances. The code static int numGears = 6; would create such a static field. Additionally, the keyword final could be added to indicate that the number of gears will never change.
  • Local Variables Similar to how an object stores its state in fields, a method will often store its temporary state in local variables. The syntax for declaring a local variable is similar to declaring a field (for example, int count = 0;). There is no special keyword designating a variable as local; that determination comes entirely from the location in which the variable is declared — which is between the opening and closing braces of a method. As such, local variables are only visible to the methods in which they are declared; they are not accessible from the rest of the class.
  • Parameters You've already seen examples of parameters, both in the Bicycle class and in the main method of the "Hello World!" application. Recall that the signature for the main method is public static void main(String[] args). Here, the args variable is the parameter to this method. The important thing to remember is that parameters are always classified as "variables" not "fields". This applies to other parameter-accepting constructs as well (such as constructors and exception handlers) that you'll learn about later in the tutorial.

Having said that, the remainder of this tutorial uses the following general guidelines when discussing fields and variables. If we are talking about "fields in general" (excluding local variables and parameters), we may simply say "fields". If the discussion applies to "all of the above", we may simply say "variables". If the context calls for a distinction, we will use specific terms (static field, local variables, etc.) as appropriate. You may also occasionally see the term "member" used as well. A type's fields, methods, and nested types are collectively called its members.

Naming

Every programming language has its own set of rules and conventions for the kinds of names that you're allowed to use, and the Java programming language is no different. The rules and conventions for naming your variables can be summarized as follows:

  • Variable names are case-sensitive. A variable's name can be any legal identifier — an unlimited-length sequence of Unicode letters and digits, beginning with a letter, the dollar sign "$", or the underscore character "_". The convention, however, is to always begin your variable names with a letter, not "$" or "_". Additionally, the dollar sign character, by convention, is never used at all. You may find some situations where auto-generated names will contain the dollar sign, but your variable names should always avoid using it. A similar convention exists for the underscore character; while it's technically legal to begin your variable's name with "_", this practice is discouraged. White space is not permitted.
  • Subsequent characters may be letters, digits, dollar signs, or underscore characters. Conventions (and common sense) apply to this rule as well. When choosing a name for your variables, use full words instead of cryptic abbreviations. Doing so will make your code easier to read and understand. In many cases it will also make your code self-documenting; fields named cadence, speed, and gear, for example, are much more intuitive than abbreviated versions, such as s, c, and g. Also keep in mind that the name you choose must not be a keyword or reserved word.
  • If the name you choose consists of only one word, spell that word in all lowercase letters. If it consists of more than one word, capitalize the first letter of each subsequent word. The names gearRatio and currentGear are prime examples of this convention. If your variable stores a constant value, such as static final int NUM_GEARS = 6, the convention changes slightly, capitalizing every letter and separating subsequent words with the underscore character. By convention, the underscore character is never used elsewhere.

Primitive Data Types

The Java programming language is statically-typed, which means that all variables must first be declared before they can be used. This involves stating the variable's type and name, as you've already seen:

int gear = 1;

Doing so tells your program that a field named "gear" exists, holds numerical data, and has an initial value of "1". A variable's data type determines the values it may contain, plus the operations that may be performed on it. In addition to int, the Java programming language supports seven other primitive data types. A primitive type is predefined by the language and is named by a reserved keyword. Primitive values do not share state with other primitive values. The eight primitive data types supported by the Java programming language are:

  • byte: The byte data type is an 8-bit signed two's complement integer. It has a minimum value of -128 and a maximum value of 127 (inclusive). The byte data type can be useful for saving memory in large arrays, where the memory savings actually matters. They can also be used in place of int where their limits help to clarify your code; the fact that a variable's range is limited can serve as a form of documentation.
  • short: The short data type is a 16-bit signed two's complement integer. It has a minimum value of -32,768 and a maximum value of 32,767 (inclusive). As with byte, the same guidelines apply: you can use a short to save memory in large arrays, in situations where the memory savings actually matters.
  • int: By default, the int data type is a 32-bit signed two's complement integer, which has a minimum value of -231 and a maximum value of 231-1. In Java SE 8 and later, you can use the int data type to represent an unsigned 32-bit integer, which has a minimum value of 0 and a maximum value of 232-1. Use the Integer class to use int data type as an unsigned integer. See the section The Number Classes for more information. Static methods like compareUnsigned, divideUnsigned etc have been added to the Integer class to support the arithmetic operations for unsigned integers.
  • long: The long data type is a 64-bit two's complement integer. The signed long has a minimum value of -263 and a maximum value of 263-1. In Java SE 8 and later, you can use the long data type to represent an unsigned 64-bit long, which has a minimum value of 0 and a maximum value of 264-1. Use this data type when you need a range of values wider than those provided by int. The Long class also contains methods like compareUnsigned, divideUnsigned etc to support arithmetic operations for unsigned long.
  • float: The float data type is a single-precision 32-bit IEEE 754 floating point. Its range of values is beyond the scope of this discussion, but is specified in the Floating-Point Types, Formats, and Values section of the Java Language Specification. As with the recommendations for byte and short, use a float (instead of double) if you need to save memory in large arrays of floating point numbers. This data type should never be used for precise values, such as currency. For that, you will need to use the java.math.BigDecimal class instead. Numbers and Strings covers BigDecimal and other useful classes provided by the Java platform.
  • double: The double data type is a double-precision 64-bit IEEE 754 floating point. Its range of values is beyond the scope of this discussion, but is specified in the Floating-Point Types, Formats, and Values section of the Java Language Specification. For decimal values, this data type is generally the default choice. As mentioned above, this data type should never be used for precise values, such as currency.
  • boolean: The boolean data type has only two possible values: true and false. Use this data type for simple flags that track true/false conditions. This data type represents one bit of information, but its "size" isn't something that's precisely defined.
  • char: The char data type is a single 16-bit Unicode character. It has a minimum value of '\u0000' (or 0) and a maximum value of '\uffff' (or 65,535 inclusive).

In addition to the eight primitive data types listed above, the Java programming language also provides special support for character strings via the java.lang.String class. Enclosing your character string within double quotes will automatically create a new String object; for example, String s = "this is a string";. String objects are immutable, which means that once created, their values cannot be changed. The String class is not technically a primitive data type, but considering the special support given to it by the language, you'll probably tend to think of it as such. You'll learn more about the String class in Simple Data Objects

Default Values

It's not always necessary to assign a value when a field is declared. Fields that are declared but not initialized will be set to a reasonable default by the compiler. Generally speaking, this default will be zero or null, depending on the data type. Relying on such default values, however, is generally considered bad programming style.

The following chart summarizes the default values for the above data types.

Data Type Default Value (for fields)
byte 0
short 0
int 0
long 0L
float 0.0f
double 0.0d/td>
char '\u0000'
String (or any object) null
boolean false

Local variables are slightly different; the compiler never assigns a default value to an uninitialized local variable. If you cannot initialize your local variable where it is declared, make sure to assign it a value before you attempt to use it. Accessing an uninitialized local variable will result in a compile-time error.

Literals

You may have noticed that the new keyword isn't used when initializing a variable of a primitive type. Primitive types are special data types built into the language; they are not objects created from a class. A literal is the source code representation of a fixed value; literals are represented directly in your code without requiring computation. As shown below, it's possible to assign a literal to a variable of a primitive type:

boolean result = true;
char capitalC = 'C';
byte b = 100;
short s = 10000;
int i = 100000;
Integer Literals

An integer literal is of type long if it ends with the letter L or l; otherwise it is of type int. It is recommended that you use the upper case letter L because the lower case letter l is hard to distinguish from the digit 1.

Values of the integral types byte, short, int, and long can be created from int literals. Values of type long that exceed the range of int can be created from long literals. Integer literals can be expressed by these number systems:
  • Decimal: Base 10, whose digits consists of the numbers 0 through 9; this is the number system you use every day
  • Hexadecimal: Base 16, whose digits consist of the numbers 0 through 9 and the letters A through F
  • Binary: Base 2, whose digits consists of the numbers 0 and 1 (you can create binary literals in Java SE 7 and later)
For general-purpose programming, the decimal system is likely to be the only number system you'll ever use. However, if you need to use another number system, the following example shows the correct syntax. The prefix 0x indicates hexadecimal and 0b indicates binary:

// The number 26, in decimal
int decVal = 26;
//  The number 26, in hexadecimal
int hexVal = 0x1a;
// The number 26, in binary
int binVal = 0b11010;

Floating-Point Literals

A floating-point literal is of type float if it ends with the letter F or f; otherwise its type is double and it can optionally end with the letter D or d.

The floating point types (float and double) can also be expressed using E or e (for scientific notation), F or f (32-bit float literal) and D or d (64-bit double literal; this is the default and by convention is omitted).

double d1 = 123.4;
// same value as d1, but in scientific notation
double d2 = 1.234e2;
float f1  = 123.4f;

Character and String Literals

Literals of types char and String may contain any Unicode (UTF-16) characters. If your editor and file system allow it, you can use such characters directly in your code. If not, you can use a "Unicode escape" such as '\u0108' (capital C with circumflex), or "S\u00ED Se\u00F1or" (Sí Señor in Spanish). Always use 'single quotes' for char literals and "double quotes" for String literals. Unicode escape sequences may be used elsewhere in a program (such as in field names, for example), not just in char or String literals.

The Java programming language also supports a few special escape sequences for char and String literals: \b (backspace), \t (tab), \n (line feed), \f (form feed), \r (carriage return), \" (double quote), \' (single quote), and \\ (backslash).

There's also a special null literal that can be used as a value for any reference type. null may be assigned to any variable, except variables of primitive types. There's little you can do with a null value beyond testing for its presence. Therefore, null is often used in programs as a marker to indicate that some object is unavailable.

Finally, there's also a special kind of literal called a class literal, formed by taking a type name and appending ".class"; for example, String.class. This refers to the object (of type Class) that represents the type itself.

Using Underscore Characters in Numeric Literals

In Java SE 7 and later, any number of underscore characters (_) can appear anywhere between digits in a numerical literal. This feature enables you, for example. to separate groups of digits in numeric literals, which can improve the readability of your code.

For instance, if your code contains numbers with many digits, you can use an underscore character to separate digits in groups of three, similar to how you would use a punctuation mark like a comma, or a space, as a separator.

The following example shows other ways you can use the underscore in numeric literals:

long creditCardNumber = 1234_5678_9012_3456L;
long socialSecurityNumber = 999_99_9999L;
float pi =  3.14_15F;
long hexBytes = 0xFF_EC_DE_5E;
long hexWords = 0xCAFE_BABE;
long maxLong = 0x7fff_ffff_ffff_ffffL;
byte nybbles = 0b0010_0101;
long bytes = 0b11010010_01101001_10010100_10010010;
You can place underscores only between digits; you cannot place underscores in the following places:
  • At the beginning or end of a number
  • Adjacent to a decimal point in a floating point literal
  • Prior to an F or L suffix
  • In positions where a string of digits is expected
The following examples demonstrate valid and invalid underscore placements (which are highlighted) in numeric literals:

// Invalid: cannot put underscores
// adjacent to a decimal point
float pi1 = 3_.1415F;
// Invalid: cannot put underscores 
// adjacent to a decimal point
float pi2 = 3._1415F;
// Invalid: cannot put underscores 
// prior to an L suffix
long socialSecurityNumber1 = 999_99_9999_L;


// OK (decimal literal)
int x1 = 5_2;
// Invalid: cannot put underscores
// At the end of a literal
int x2 = 52_;
// OK (decimal literal)
int x3 = 5_______2;


// Invalid: cannot put underscores
// in the 0x radix prefix
int x4 = 0_x52;
// Invalid: cannot put underscores
// at the beginning of a number
int x5 = 0x_52;
// OK (hexadecimal literal)
int x6 = 0x5_2; 
// Invalid: cannot put underscores
// at the end of a number
int x7 = 0x52_;

Arrays

An array is a container object that holds a fixed number of values of a single type. The length of an array is established when the array is created. After creation, its length is fixed. You have seen an example of arrays already, in the main method of the "Hello World!" application. This section discusses arrays in greater detail.

Language Basics
An array of 10 elements.

Each item in an array is called an element, and each element is accessed by its numerical index. As shown in the preceding illustration, numbering begins with 0. The 9th element, for example, would therefore be accessed at index 8.

The following program, ArrayDemo, creates an array of integers, puts some values in the array, and prints each value to standard output.

class ArrayDemo {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        // declares an array of integers
        int[] anArray;

        // allocates memory for 10 integers
        anArray = new int[10];
           
        // initialize first element
        anArray[0] = 100;
        // initialize second element
        anArray[1] = 200;
        // and so forth
        anArray[2] = 300;
        anArray[3] = 400;
        anArray[4] = 500;
        anArray[5] = 600;
        anArray[6] = 700;
        anArray[7] = 800;
        anArray[8] = 900;
        anArray[9] = 1000;

        System.out.println("Element at index 0: "
                           + anArray[0]);
        System.out.println("Element at index 1: "
                           + anArray[1]);
        System.out.println("Element at index 2: "
                           + anArray[2]);
        System.out.println("Element at index 3: "
                           + anArray[3]);
        System.out.println("Element at index 4: "
                           + anArray[4]);
        System.out.println("Element at index 5: "
                           + anArray[5]);
        System.out.println("Element at index 6: "
                           + anArray[6]);
        System.out.println("Element at index 7: "
                           + anArray[7]);
        System.out.println("Element at index 8: "
                           + anArray[8]);
        System.out.println("Element at index 9: "
                           + anArray[9]);
    }

The output from this program is:

Element at index 0: 100
Element at index 1: 200
Element at index 2: 300
Element at index 3: 400
Element at index 4: 500
Element at index 5: 600
Element at index 6: 700
Element at index 7: 800
Element at index 8: 900
Element at index 9: 1000

In a real-world programming situation, you would probably use one of the supported looping constructs to iterate through each element of the array, rather than write each line individually as in the preceding example. However, the example clearly illustrates the array syntax. You will learn about the various looping constructs (for, while, and do-while) in the Control Flow section.

Declaring a Variable to Refer to an Array

The preceding program declares an array (named anArray) with the following line of code:

// declares an array of integers
int[] anArray;

Like declarations for variables of other types, an array declaration has two components: the array's type and the array's name. An array's type is written as type[], where type is the data type of the contained elements; the brackets are special symbols indicating that this variable holds an array. The size of the array is not part of its type (which is why the brackets are empty). An array's name can be anything you want, provided that it follows the rules and conventions as previously discussed in the naming section. As with variables of other types, the declaration does not actually create an array; it simply tells the compiler that this variable will hold an array of the specified type.

Similarly, you can declare arrays of other types:

byte[] anArrayOfBytes;
short[] anArrayOfShorts;
long[] anArrayOfLongs;
float[] anArrayOfFloats;
double[] anArrayOfDoubles;
boolean[] anArrayOfBooleans;
char[] anArrayOfChars;
String[] anArrayOfStrings;
You can also place the brackets after the array's name:

// this form is discouraged
float anArrayOfFloats[];

However, convention discourages this form; the brackets identify the array type and should appear with the type designation.

Creating, Initializing, and Accessing an Array

One way to create an array is with the new operator. The next statement in the ArrayDemo program allocates an array with enough memory for 10 integer elements and assigns the array to the anArray variable.

// create an array of integers
anArray = new int[10];

If this statement is missing, then the compiler prints an error like the following, and compilation fails:

ArrayDemo.java:4: Variable anArray may not have been initialized.
The next few lines assign values to each element of the array:

anArray[0] = 100; // initialize first element
anArray[1] = 200; // initialize second element
anArray[2] = 300; // and so forth

Each array element is accessed by its numerical index:

System.out.println("Element 1 at index 0: " + anArray[0]);
System.out.println("Element 2 at index 1: " + anArray[1]);
System.out.println("Element 3 at index 2: " + anArray[2]);

Alternatively, you can use the shortcut syntax to create and initialize an array:

int[] anArray = { 
    100, 200, 300,
    400, 500, 600, 
    700, 800, 900, 1000
};

Here the length of the array is determined by the number of values provided between braces and separated by commas.

You can also declare an array of arrays (also known as a multidimensional array) by using two or more sets of brackets, such as String[][] names. Each element, therefore, must be accessed by a corresponding number of index values.

In the Java programming language, a multidimensional array is an array whose components are themselves arrays. This is unlike arrays in C or Fortran. A consequence of this is that the rows are allowed to vary in length, as shown in the following MultiDimArrayDemo program:

class MultiDimArrayDemo {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        String[][] names = {
            {"Mr. ", "Mrs. ", "Ms. "},
            {"Smith", "Jones"}
        };
        // Mr. Smith
        System.out.println(names[0][0] + names[1][0]);
        // Ms. Jones
        System.out.println(names[0][2] + names[1][1]);
    }
}

The output from this program is:

Mr. Smith
Ms. Jones

Finally, you can use the built-in length property to determine the size of any array. The following code prints the array's size to standard output:

System.out.println(anArray.length);
Copying Arrays

The System class has an arraycopy method that you can use to efficiently copy data from one array into another:

public static void arraycopy(Object src, int srcPos,
                             Object dest, int destPos, int length)

The two Object arguments specify the array to copy from and the array to copy to. The three int arguments specify the starting position in the source array, the starting position in the destination array, and the number of array elements to copy.

The following program, ArrayCopyDemo, declares an array of char elements, spelling the word "decaffeinated." It uses the System.arraycopy method to copy a subsequence of array components into a second array:

class ArrayCopyDemo {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        char[] copyFrom = { 'd', 'e', 'c', 'a', 'f', 'f', 'e',
   'i', 'n', 'a', 't', 'e', 'd' };
        char[] copyTo = new char[7];

        System.arraycopy(copyFrom, 2, copyTo, 0, 7);
        System.out.println(new String(copyTo));
    }
}

The output from this program is:

caffein

Array Manipulations

Arrays are a powerful and useful concept used in programming. Java SE provides methods to perform some of the most common manipulations related to arrays. For instance, the ArrayCopyDemo example uses the arraycopy method of the System class instead of manually iterating through the elements of the source array and placing each one into the destination array. This is performed behind the scenes, enabling the developer to use just one line of code to call the method.

For your convenience, Java SE provides several methods for performing array manipulations (common tasks, such as copying, sorting and searching arrays) in the java.util.Arrays class. For instance, the previous example can be modified to use the copyOfRange method of the java.util.Arrays class, as you can see in the ArrayCopyOfDemo example. The difference is that using the copyOfRange method does not require you to create the destination array before calling the method, because the destination array is returned by the method:

class ArrayCopyOfDemo {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        
        char[] copyFrom = {'d', 'e', 'c', 'a', 'f', 'f', 'e',
            'i', 'n', 'a', 't', 'e', 'd'};
            
        char[] copyTo = java.util.Arrays.copyOfRange(copyFrom, 2, 9);
        
        System.out.println(new String(copyTo));
    }
}

As you can see, the output from this program is the same (caffein), although it requires fewer lines of code. Note that the second parameter of the copyOfRange method is the initial index of the range to be copied, inclusively, while the third parameter is the final index of the range to be copied, exclusively. In this example, the range to be copied does not include the array element at index 9 (which contains the character a).

Some other useful operations provided by methods in the java.util.Arrays class, are:
  • Searching an array for a specific value to get the index at which it is placed (the binarySearch method).
  • Comparing two arrays to determine if they are equal or not (the equals method).
  • Filling an array to place a specific value at each index (the fill method).
  • Sorting an array into ascending order. This can be done either sequentially, using the sort method, or concurrently, using the parallelSort method introduced in Java SE 8. Parallel sorting of large arrays on multiprocessor systems is faster than sequential array sorting.


Answers to Questions and Exercises: Variables

Answers to Questions
  1. The term "instance variable" is another name for non-static field.
  2. The term "class variable" is another name for static field.
  3. A local variable stores temporary state; it is declared inside a method.
  4. A variable declared within the opening and closing parenthesis of a method is called a parameter.
  5. What are the eight primitive data types supported by the Java programming language? byte, short, int, long, float, double, boolean, char
  6. Character strings are represented by the class java.lang.String.
  7. An array is a container object that holds a fixed number of values of a single type.
Answers to Exercises

1. Create a small program that defines some fields. Try creating some illegal field names and see what kind of error the compiler produces. Use the naming rules and conventions as a guide.
Ans: There is no single correct answer here. Your results will vary depending on your code.

2. In the program you created in Exercise 1, try leaving the fields uninitialized and print out their values. Try the same with a local variable and see what kind of compiler errors you can produce. Becoming familiar with common compiler errors will make it easier to recognize bugs in your code.
Ans: Again, there is no single correct answer for this exercise. Your results will vary depending on your code.


2. Operators



Now that you've learned how to declare and initialize variables, you probably want to know how to do something with them. Learning the operators of the Java programming language is a good place to start. Operators are special symbols that perform specific operations on one, two, or three operands, and then return a result.

As we explore the operators of the Java programming language, it may be helpful for you to know ahead of time which operators have the highest precedence. The operators in the following table are listed according to precedence order. The closer to the top of the table an operator appears, the higher its precedence. Operators with higher precedence are evaluated before operators with relatively lower precedence. Operators on the same line have equal precedence. When operators of equal precedence appear in the same expression, a rule must govern which is evaluated first. All binary operators except for the assignment operators are evaluated from left to right; assignment operators are evaluated right to left.
Operator Precedence


Operators Precedence
postfix expr++ expr--
unary ++expr --expr +expr -expr ~ !
multiplicative * / %
additive + -
shift << >> >>>
relational < > <= >= instanceof
equality == !=
bitwise AND &
bitwise exclusive OR ^
bitwise inclusive OR |
logical AND &&
logical OR ||
ternary ? :
assignment = += -= *= /= %= &= ^= |= <<= >>= >>>=

In general-purpose programming, certain operators tend to appear more frequently than others; for example, the assignment operator "=" is far more common than the unsigned right shift operator ">>>". With that in mind, the following discussion focuses first on the operators that you're most likely to use on a regular basis, and ends focusing on those that are less common. Each discussion is accompanied by sample code that you can compile and run. Studying its output will help reinforce what you've just learned.

Assignment, Arithmetic, and Unary Operators

The Simple Assignment Operator

One of the most common operators that you'll encounter is the simple assignment operator "=". You saw this operator in the Bicycle class; it assigns the value on its right to the operand on its left:

 int cadence = 0;
 int speed = 0;
 int gear = 1;

This operator can also be used on objects to assign object references, as discussed in Creating Objects.

The Arithmetic Operators

The Java programming language provides operators that perform addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. There's a good chance you'll recognize them by their counterparts in basic mathematics. The only symbol that might look new to you is "%", which divides one operand by another and returns the remainder as its result.

OperatorsDescription
+Additive operator (also used for String concatenation)
-Subtraction operator
*Multiplication operator
/Division operator
%Remainder operator

The following program, ArithmeticDemo, tests the arithmetic operators.

class ArithmeticDemo {

    public static void main (String[] args) {

        int result = 1 + 2;
        // result is now 3
        System.out.println("1 + 2 = " + result);
        int original_result = result;

        result = result - 1;
        // result is now 2
        System.out.println(original_result + " - 1 = " + result);
        original_result = result;

        result = result * 2;
        // result is now 4
        System.out.println(original_result + " * 2 = " + result);
        original_result = result;

        result = result / 2;
        // result is now 2
        System.out.println(original_result + " / 2 = " + result);
        original_result = result;

        result = result + 8;
        // result is now 10
        System.out.println(original_result + " + 8 = " + result);
        original_result = result;

        result = result % 7;
        // result is now 3
        System.out.println(original_result + " % 7 = " + result);
    }
}

This program prints the following:

1 + 2 = 3
3 - 1 = 2
2 * 2 = 4
4 / 2 = 2
2 + 8 = 10
10 % 7 = 3

You can also combine the arithmetic operators with the simple assignment operator to create compound assignments. For example, x+=1; and x=x+1; both increment the value of x by 1.

The + operator can also be used for concatenating (joining) two strings together, as shown in the following ConcatDemo program:


class ConcatDemo {
    public static void main(String[] args){
        String firstString = "This is";
        String secondString = " a concatenated string.";
        String thirdString = firstString+secondString;
        System.out.println(thirdString);
    }
}

By the end of this program, the variable thirdString contains "This is a concatenated string.", which gets printed to standard output.

The Unary Operators

The unary operators require only one operand; they perform various operations such as incrementing/decrementing a value by one, negating an expression, or inverting the value of a boolean.

OperatorsDescription
+Unary plus operator; indicates positive value (numbers are positive without this, however)
-Unary minus operator; negates an expression
++Increment operator; increments a value by 1
- -Decrement operator; decrements a value by 1
!Logical complement operator; inverts the value of a boolean

The following program, UnaryDemo, tests the unary operators:

class UnaryDemo {

    public static void main(String[] args) {

        int result = +1;
        // result is now 1
        System.out.println(result);

        result--;
        // result is now 0
        System.out.println(result);

        result++;
        // result is now 1
        System.out.println(result);

        result = -result;
        // result is now -1
        System.out.println(result);

        boolean success = false;
        // false
        System.out.println(success);
        // true
        System.out.println(!success);
    }
}

The increment/decrement operators can be applied before (prefix) or after (postfix) the operand. The code result++; and ++result; will both end in result being incremented by one. The only difference is that the prefix version (++result) evaluates to the incremented value, whereas the postfix version (result++) evaluates to the original value. If you are just performing a simple increment/decrement, it doesn't really matter which version you choose. But if you use this operator in part of a larger expression, the one that you choose may make a significant difference.

The following program, PrePostDemo, illustrates the prefix/postfix unary increment operator:

class PrePostDemo {
    public static void main(String[] args){
        int i = 3;
        i++;
        // prints 4
        System.out.println(i);
        ++i;   
        // prints 5
        System.out.println(i);
        // prints 6
        System.out.println(++i);
        // prints 6
        System.out.println(i++);
        // prints 7
        System.out.println(i);
    }
}

Equality, Relational, and Conditional Operators

The Equality and Relational Operators

The equality and relational operators determine if one operand is greater than, less than, equal to, or not equal to another operand. The majority of these operators will probably look familiar to you as well. Keep in mind that you must use "==", not "=", when testing if two primitive values are equal.

==      equal to
!=      not equal to
>       greater than
>=      greater than or equal to
<       less than
<=      less than or equal to

The following program, ComparisonDemo, tests the comparison operators:

class ComparisonDemo {

    public static void main(String[] args){
        int value1 = 1;
        int value2 = 2;
        if(value1 == value2)
            System.out.println("value1 == value2");
        if(value1 != value2)
            System.out.println("value1 != value2");
        if(value1 > value2)
            System.out.println("value1 > value2");
        if(value1 < value2)
            System.out.println("value1 < value2");
        if(value1 <= value2)
            System.out.println("value1 <= value2");
    }
}

Output:

value1 != value2
value1 <  value2
value1 <= value2
The Conditional Operators

The && and || operators perform Conditional-AND and Conditional-OR operations on two boolean expressions. These operators exhibit "short-circuiting" behavior, which means that the second operand is evaluated only if needed.

&& Conditional-AND
|| Conditional-OR
The following program, ConditionalDemo1, tests these operators:

class ConditionalDemo1 {

    public static void main(String[] args){
        int value1 = 1;
        int value2 = 2;
        if((value1 == 1) && (value2 == 2))
            System.out.println("value1 is 1 AND value2 is 2");
        if((value1 == 1) || (value2 == 1))
            System.out.println("value1 is 1 OR value2 is 1");
    }
}

Another conditional operator is ?:, which can be thought of as shorthand for an if-then-else statement (discussed in the Control Flow Statements section of this lesson). This operator is also known as the ternary operator because it uses three operands. In the following example, this operator should be read as: "If someCondition is true, assign the value of value1 to result. Otherwise, assign the value of value2 to result."

The following program, ConditionalDemo2, tests the ?: operator:

class ConditionalDemo2 {

    public static void main(String[] args){
        int value1 = 1;
        int value2 = 2;
        int result;
        boolean someCondition = true;
        result = someCondition ? value1 : value2;

        System.out.println(result);
    }
}

Because someCondition is true, this program prints "1" to the screen. Use the ?: operator instead of an if-then-else statement if it makes your code more readable; for example, when the expressions are compact and without side-effects (such as assignments).

The Type Comparison Operator instanceof

The instanceof operator compares an object to a specified type. You can use it to test if an object is an instance of a class, an instance of a subclass, or an instance of a class that implements a particular interface.

The following program, InstanceofDemo, defines a parent class (named Parent), a simple interface (named MyInterface), and a child class (named Child) that inherits from the parent and implements the interface.

class InstanceofDemo {
    public static void main(String[] args) {

        Parent obj1 = new Parent();
        Parent obj2 = new Child();

        System.out.println("obj1 instanceof Parent: "
            + (obj1 instanceof Parent));
        System.out.println("obj1 instanceof Child: "
            + (obj1 instanceof Child));
        System.out.println("obj1 instanceof MyInterface: "
            + (obj1 instanceof MyInterface));
        System.out.println("obj2 instanceof Parent: "
            + (obj2 instanceof Parent));
        System.out.println("obj2 instanceof Child: "
            + (obj2 instanceof Child));
        System.out.println("obj2 instanceof MyInterface: "
            + (obj2 instanceof MyInterface));
    }
}

class Parent {}
class Child extends Parent implements MyInterface {}
interface MyInterface {}

Output:

obj1 instanceof Parent: true
obj1 instanceof Child: false
obj1 instanceof MyInterface: false
obj2 instanceof Parent: true
obj2 instanceof Child: true
obj2 instanceof MyInterface: true

When using the instanceof operator, keep in mind that null is not an instance of anything.

Bitwise and Bit Shift Operators

The Java programming language also provides operators that perform bitwise and bit shift operations on integral types. The operators discussed in this section are less commonly used. Therefore, their coverage is brief; the intent is to simply make you aware that these operators exist.

The unary bitwise complement operator "~" inverts a bit pattern; it can be applied to any of the integral types, making every "0" a "1" and every "1" a "0". For example, a byte contains 8 bits; applying this operator to a value whose bit pattern is "00000000" would change its pattern to "11111111".

The signed left shift operator "<<" shifts a bit pattern to the left, and the signed right shift operator ">>" shifts a bit pattern to the right. The bit pattern is given by the left-hand operand, and the number of positions to shift by the right-hand operand. The unsigned right shift operator ">>>" shifts a zero into the leftmost position, while the leftmost position after ">>" depends on sign extension.

The bitwise & operator performs a bitwise AND operation.

The bitwise ^ operator performs a bitwise exclusive OR operation.

The bitwise | operator performs a bitwise inclusive OR operation.

The following program, BitDemo, uses the bitwise AND operator to print the number "2" to standard output.

class BitDemo {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        int bitmask = 0x000F;
        int val = 0x2222;
        // prints "2"
        System.out.println(val & bitmask);
    }
}

Answers to Questions and Exercises: Operators

Answers to Questions

1. Consider the following code snippet:
arrayOfInts[j] > arrayOfInts[j+1]

Question: What operators does the code contain?
Answer: >, +

2. Consider the following code snippet:
int i = 10;
int n = i++%5;

Question: What are the values of i and n after the code is executed?
Answer: i is 11, and n is 0.

Question: What are the final values of i and n if instead of using the postfix increment operator (i++), you use the prefix version (++i))?
Answer: i is 11, and n is 1.

3. Question: To invert the value of a boolean, which operator would you use?
Answer: The logical complement operator "!".

4. Question: Which operator is used to compare two values, = or == ?
Answer: The == operator is used for comparison, and = is used for assignment.

5. Question: Explain the following code sample: result = someCondition ? value1 : value2;
Answer: This code should be read as: "If someCondition is true, assign the value of value1 to result. Otherwise, assign the value of value2 to result."

Exercises and Answers

1. Change the following program to use compound assignments:

class ArithmeticDemo {

    public static void main (String[] args){
          
        int result = 1 + 2; // result is now 3
        System.out.println(result);

        result = result - 1; // result is now 2
        System.out.println(result);

        result = result * 2; // result is now 4
        System.out.println(result);

        result = result / 2; // result is now 2
        System.out.println(result);

        result = result + 8; // result is now 10
        result = result % 7; // result is now 3
        System.out.println(result);

    }
}

Ans: Here is one solution:

class ArithmeticDemo {

    public static void main (String[] args){
        int result = 3;
        System.out.println(result);

        result -= 1; // result is now 2
        System.out.println(result);

        result *= 2; // result is now 4
        System.out.println(result);

        result /= 2; // result is now 2
        System.out.println(result);

        result += 8; // result is now 10
        result %= 7; // result is now 3
        System.out.println(result);

    }
}

2. In the following program, explain why the value "6" is printed twice in a row:

class PrePostDemo {
    public static void main(String[] args){
        int i = 3;
        i++;
        System.out.println(i);    // "4"
        ++i;                     
        System.out.println(i);    // "5"
        System.out.println(++i);  // "6"
        System.out.println(i++);  // "6"
        System.out.println(i);    // "7"
    }
}

Ans: The code System.out.println(++i); evaluates to 6, because the prefix version of ++ evaluates to the incremented value. The next line, System.out.println(i++); evaluates to the current value (6), then increments by one. So "7" doesn't get printed until the next line.


3. Expressions, Statements, and Blocks



Now that you understand variables and operators, it's time to learn about expressions, statements, and blocks. Operators may be used in building expressions, which compute values; expressions are the core components of statements; statements may be grouped into blocks.

Expressions

An expression is a construct made up of variables, operators, and method invocations, which are constructed according to the syntax of the language, that evaluates to a single value. You've already seen examples of expressions, illustrated in bold below:

int cadence = 0;
anArray[0] = 100;
System.out.println("Element 1 at index 0: " + anArray[0]);

int result = 1 + 2; // result is now 3
if (value1 == value2) 
    System.out.println("value1 == value2");

The data type of the value returned by an expression depends on the elements used in the expression. The expression cadence = 0 returns an int because the assignment operator returns a value of the same data type as its left-hand operand; in this case, cadence is an int. As you can see from the other expressions, an expression can return other types of values as well, such as boolean or String.

The Java programming language allows you to construct compound expressions from various smaller expressions as long as the data type required by one part of the expression matches the data type of the other. Here's an example of a compound expression:
1 * 2 * 3

In this particular example, the order in which the expression is evaluated is unimportant because the result of multiplication is independent of order; the outcome is always the same, no matter in which order you apply the multiplications. However, this is not true of all expressions. For example, the following expression gives different results, depending on whether you perform the addition or the division operation first:

x + y / 100    // ambiguous

You can specify exactly how an expression will be evaluated using balanced parenthesis: ( and ). For example, to make the previous expression unambiguous, you could write the following:

(x + y) / 100  // unambiguous, recommended

If you don't explicitly indicate the order for the operations to be performed, the order is determined by the precedence assigned to the operators in use within the expression. Operators that have a higher precedence get evaluated first. For example, the division operator has a higher precedence than does the addition operator. Therefore, the following two statements are equivalent:

x + y / 100 

x + (y / 100) // unambiguous, recommended

When writing compound expressions, be explicit and indicate with parentheses which operators should be evaluated first. This practice makes code easier to read and to maintain.

Statements

Statements are roughly equivalent to sentences in natural languages. A statement forms a complete unit of execution. The following types of expressions can be made into a statement by terminating the expression with a semicolon (;).
  • Assignment expressions
  • Any use of ++ or --
  • Method invocations
  • Object creation expressions
Such statements are called expression statements. Here are some examples of expression statements.

// assignment statement
aValue = 8933.234;
// increment statement
aValue++;
// method invocation statement
System.out.println("Hello World!");
// object creation statement
Bicycle myBike = new Bicycle();

In addition to expression statements, there are two other kinds of statements: declaration statements and control flow statements. A declaration statement declares a variable. You've seen many examples of declaration statements already:

// declaration statement
double aValue = 8933.234;

Finally, control flow statements regulate the order in which statements get executed. You'll learn about control flow statements in the next section, Control Flow Statements

Blocks

A block is a group of zero or more statements between balanced braces and can be used anywhere a single statement is allowed. The following example, BlockDemo, illustrates the use of blocks:

class BlockDemo {
     public static void main(String[] args) {
          boolean condition = true;
          if (condition) { // begin block 1
               System.out.println("Condition is true.");
          } // end block one
          else { // begin block 2
               System.out.println("Condition is false.");
          } // end block 2
     }
}

Answers to Questions and Exercises: Expressions, Statements, and Blocks

Questions
  1. Operators may be used in building expressions, which compute values.
  2. Expressions are the core components of statements.
  3. Statements may be grouped into blocks.
  4. The following code snippet is an example of a compound expression. 1 * 2 * 3
  5. Statements are roughly equivalent to sentences in natural languages, but instead of ending with a period, a statement ends with a semicolon.
  6. A block is a group of zero or more statements between balanced braces and can be used anywhere a single statement is allowed.

Exercises

Identify the following kinds of expression statements:
  • aValue = 8933.234; // assignment statement
  • aValue++; // increment statement
  • System.out.println("Hello World!"); // method invocation statement
  • Bicycle myBike = new Bicycle(); // object creation statement

4. Control Flow Statements



The statements inside your source files are generally executed from top to bottom, in the order that they appear. Control flow statements, however, break up the flow of execution by employing decision making, looping, and branching, enabling your program to conditionally execute particular blocks of code. This section describes the decision-making statements (if-then, if-then-else, switch), the looping statements (for, while, do-while), and the branching statements (break, continue, return) supported by the Java programming language.

The if-then and if-then-else Statements

The if-then Statement

The if-then statement is the most basic of all the control flow statements. It tells your program to execute a certain section of code only if a particular test evaluates to true. For example, the Bicycle class could allow the brakes to decrease the bicycle's speed only if the bicycle is already in motion. One possible implementation of the applyBrakes method could be as follows:

void applyBrakes() {
    // the "if" clause: bicycle must be moving
    if (isMoving){ 
        // the "then" clause: decrease current speed
        currentSpeed--;
    }
}

If this test evaluates to false (meaning that the bicycle is not in motion), control jumps to the end of the if-then statement.

In addition, the opening and closing braces are optional, provided that the "then" clause contains only one statement:

void applyBrakes() {
    // same as above, but without braces 
    if (isMoving)
        currentSpeed--;
}

Deciding when to omit the braces is a matter of personal taste. Omitting them can make the code more brittle. If a second statement is later added to the "then" clause, a common mistake would be forgetting to add the newly required braces. The compiler cannot catch this sort of error; you'll just get the wrong results.

The if-then-else Statement

The if-then-else statement provides a secondary path of execution when an "if" clause evaluates to false. You could use an if-then-else statement in the applyBrakes method to take some action if the brakes are applied when the bicycle is not in motion. In this case, the action is to simply print an error message stating that the bicycle has already stopped.

void applyBrakes() {
    if (isMoving) {
        currentSpeed--;
    } else {
        System.err.println("The bicycle has already stopped!");
    } 
}

The following program, IfElseDemo, assigns a grade based on the value of a test score: an A for a score of 90% or above, a B for a score of 80% or above, and so on.

class IfElseDemo {
    public static void main(String[] args) {

        int testscore = 76;
        char grade;

        if (testscore >= 90) {
            grade = 'A';
        } else if (testscore >= 80) {
            grade = 'B';
        } else if (testscore >= 70) {
            grade = 'C';
        } else if (testscore >= 60) {
            grade = 'D';
        } else {
            grade = 'F';
        }
        System.out.println("Grade = " + grade);
    }
}

The output from the program is:

    Grade = C

You may have noticed that the value of testscore can satisfy more than one expression in the compound statement: 76 >= 70 and 76 >= 60. However, once a condition is satisfied, the appropriate statements are executed (grade = 'C';) and the remaining conditions are not evaluated.

The switch Statement

Unlike if-then and if-then-else statements, the switch statement can have a number of possible execution paths. A switch works with the byte, short, char, and int primitive data types. It also works with enumerated types (discussed in Enum Types), the String class, and a few special classes that wrap certain primitive types: Character, Byte, Short, and Integer (discussed in Numbers and Strings).

The following code example, SwitchDemo, declares an int named month whose value represents a month. The code displays the name of the month, based on the value of month, using the switch statement.

public class SwitchDemo {
    public static void main(String[] args) {

        int month = 8;
        String monthString;
        switch (month) {
            case 1:  monthString = "January";
                     break;
            case 2:  monthString = "February";
                     break;
            case 3:  monthString = "March";
                     break;
            case 4:  monthString = "April";
                     break;
            case 5:  monthString = "May";
                     break;
            case 6:  monthString = "June";
                     break;
            case 7:  monthString = "July";
                     break;
            case 8:  monthString = "August";
                     break;
            case 9:  monthString = "September";
                     break;
            case 10: monthString = "October";
                     break;
            case 11: monthString = "November";
                     break;
            case 12: monthString = "December";
                     break;
            default: monthString = "Invalid month";
                     break;
        }
        System.out.println(monthString);
    }
}

In this case, August is printed to standard output.

The body of a switch statement is known as a switch block. A statement in the switch block can be labeled with one or more case or default labels. The switch statement evaluates its expression, then executes all statements that follow the matching case label.

You could also display the name of the month with if-then-else statements:

int month = 8;
if (month == 1) {
    System.out.println("January");
} else if (month == 2) {
    System.out.println("February");
}
...  // and so on

Deciding whether to use if-then-else statements or a switch statement is based on readability and the expression that the statement is testing. An if-then-else statement can test expressions based on ranges of values or conditions, whereas a switch statement tests expressions based only on a single integer, enumerated value, or String object.

Another point of interest is the break statement. Each break statement terminates the enclosing switch statement. Control flow continues with the first statement following the switch block. The break statements are necessary because without them, statements in switch blocks fall through: All statements after the matching case label are executed in sequence, regardless of the expression of subsequent case labels, until a break statement is encountered. The program SwitchDemoFallThrough shows statements in a switch block that fall through. The program displays the month corresponding to the integer month and the months that follow in the year:

public class SwitchDemoFallThrough {

    public static void main(String[] args) {
        java.util.ArrayList<String> futureMonths =
            new java.util.ArrayList<String>();

        int month = 8;

        switch (month) {
            case 1:  futureMonths.add("January");
            case 2:  futureMonths.add("February");
            case 3:  futureMonths.add("March");
            case 4:  futureMonths.add("April");
            case 5:  futureMonths.add("May");
            case 6:  futureMonths.add("June");
            case 7:  futureMonths.add("July");
            case 8:  futureMonths.add("August");
            case 9:  futureMonths.add("September");
            case 10: futureMonths.add("October");
            case 11: futureMonths.add("November");
            case 12: futureMonths.add("December");
                     break;
            default: break;
        }

        if (futureMonths.isEmpty()) {
            System.out.println("Invalid month number");
        } else {
            for (String monthName : futureMonths) {
               System.out.println(monthName);
            }
        }
    }
}

This is the output from the code:

August
September
October
November
December

Technically, the final break is not required because flow falls out of the switch statement. Using a break is recommended so that modifying the code is easier and less error prone. The default section handles all values that are not explicitly handled by one of the case sections.

The following code example, SwitchDemo2, shows how a statement can have multiple case labels. The code example calculates the number of days in a particular month:

class SwitchDemo2 {
    public static void main(String[] args) {

        int month = 2;
        int year = 2000;
        int numDays = 0;

        switch (month) {
            case 1: case 3: case 5:
            case 7: case 8: case 10:
            case 12:
                numDays = 31;
                break;
            case 4: case 6:
            case 9: case 11:
                numDays = 30;
                break;
            case 2:
                if (((year % 4 == 0) && 
                     !(year % 100 == 0))
                     || (year % 400 == 0))
                    numDays = 29;
                else
                    numDays = 28;
                break;
            default:
                System.out.println("Invalid month.");
                break;
        }
        System.out.println("Number of Days = "
                           + numDays);
    }
}

This is the output from the code:

Number of Days = 29

Using Strings in switch Statements

In Java SE 7 and later, you can use a String object in the switch statement's expression. The following code example, StringSwitchDemo, displays the number of the month based on the value of the String named month:

public class StringSwitchDemo {

    public static int getMonthNumber(String month) {

        int monthNumber = 0;

        if (month == null) {
            return monthNumber;
        }

        switch (month.toLowerCase()) {
            case "january":
                monthNumber = 1;
                break;
            case "february":
                monthNumber = 2;
                break;
            case "march":
                monthNumber = 3;
                break;
            case "april":
                monthNumber = 4;
                break;
            case "may":
                monthNumber = 5;
                break;
            case "june":
                monthNumber = 6;
                break;
            case "july":
                monthNumber = 7;
                break;
            case "august":
                monthNumber = 8;
                break;
            case "september":
                monthNumber = 9;
                break;
            case "october":
                monthNumber = 10;
                break;
            case "november":
                monthNumber = 11;
                break;
            case "december":
                monthNumber = 12;
                break;
            default: 
                monthNumber = 0;
                break;
        }

        return monthNumber;
    }

    public static void main(String[] args) {

        String month = "August";

        int returnedMonthNumber =
            StringSwitchDemo.getMonthNumber(month);

        if (returnedMonthNumber == 0) {
            System.out.println("Invalid month");
        } else {
            System.out.println(returnedMonthNumber);
        }
    }
}

The output from this code is 8.

The String in the switch expression is compared with the expressions associated with each case label as if the String.equals method were being used. In order for the StringSwitchDemo example to accept any month regardless of case, month is converted to lowercase (with the toLowerCase method), and all the strings associated with the case labels are in lowercase.

Note: This example checks if the expression in the switch statement is null. Ensure that the expression in any switch statement is not null to prevent a NullPointerException from being thrown.

The while and do-while Statements

The while statement continually executes a block of statements while a particular condition is true. Its syntax can be expressed as:

while (expression) {
     statement(s)
}

The while statement evaluates expression, which must return a boolean value. If the expression evaluates to true, the while statement executes the statement(s) in the while block. The while statement continues testing the expression and executing its block until the expression evaluates to false. Using the while statement to print the values from 1 through 10 can be accomplished as in the following WhileDemo program:

class WhileDemo {
    public static void main(String[] args){
        int count = 1;
        while (count < 11) {
            System.out.println("Count is: " + count);
            count++;
        }
    }
}

You can implement an infinite loop using the while statement as follows:

while (true){
    // your code goes here
}

The Java programming language also provides a do-while statement, which can be expressed as follows:

do {
     statement(s)
} while (expression);

The difference between do-while and while is that do-while evaluates its expression at the bottom of the loop instead of the top. Therefore, the statements within the do block are always executed at least once, as shown in the following DoWhileDemo program:

class DoWhileDemo {
    public static void main(String[] args){
        int count = 1;
        do {
            System.out.println("Count is: " + count);
            count++;
        } while (count < 11);
    }
}

The for Statement

The for statement provides a compact way to iterate over a range of values. Programmers often refer to it as the "for loop" because of the way in which it repeatedly loops until a particular condition is satisfied. The general form of the for statement can be expressed as follows:

for (initialization; termination;
     increment) {
    statement(s)
}

When using this version of the for statement, keep in mind that:
  1. The initialization expression initializes the loop; it's executed once, as the loop begins.
  2. When the termination expression evaluates to false, the loop terminates.
  3. The increment expression is invoked after each iteration through the loop; it is perfectly acceptable for this expression to increment or decrement a value.
The following program, ForDemo, uses the general form of the for statement to print the numbers 1 through 10 to standard output:

class ForDemo {
    public static void main(String[] args){
         for(int i=1; i<11; i++){
              System.out.println("Count is: " + i);
         }
    }
}

The output of this program is:

Count is: 1
Count is: 2
Count is: 3
Count is: 4
Count is: 5
Count is: 6
Count is: 7
Count is: 8
Count is: 9
Count is: 10

Notice how the code declares a variable within the initialization expression. The scope of this variable extends from its declaration to the end of the block governed by the for statement, so it can be used in the termination and increment expressions as well. If the variable that controls a for statement is not needed outside of the loop, it's best to declare the variable in the initialization expression. The names i, j, and k are often used to control for loops; declaring them within the initialization expression limits their life span and reduces errors.

The three expressions of the for loop are optional; an infinite loop can be created as follows:

// infinite loop
for ( ; ; ) {
    
    // your code goes here
}

The for statement also has another form designed for iteration through Collections and arrays This form is sometimes referred to as the enhanced for statement, and can be used to make your loops more compact and easy to read. To demonstrate, consider the following array, which holds the numbers 1 through 10:

int[] numbers = {1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10};
The following program, EnhancedForDemo, uses the enhanced for to loop through the array:

class EnhancedForDemo {
    public static void main(String[] args){
         int[] numbers = 
             {1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10};
         for (int item : numbers) {
             System.out.println("Count is: " + item);
         }
    }
}

In this example, the variable item holds the current value from the numbers array. The output from this program is the same as before:

Count is: 1
Count is: 2
Count is: 3
Count is: 4
Count is: 5
Count is: 6
Count is: 7
Count is: 8
Count is: 9
Count is: 10

We recommend using this form of the for statement instead of the general form whenever possible.

Branching Statements

The break Statement

The break statement has two forms: labeled and unlabeled. You saw the unlabeled form in the previous discussion of the switch statement. You can also use an unlabeled break to terminate a for, while, or do-while loop, as shown in the following BreakDemo program:

class BreakDemo {
    public static void main(String[] args) {

        int[] arrayOfInts = 
            { 32, 87, 3, 589,
              12, 1076, 2000,
              8, 622, 127 };
        int searchfor = 12;

        int i;
        boolean foundIt = false;

        for (i = 0; i < arrayOfInts.length; i++) {
            if (arrayOfInts[i] == searchfor) {
                foundIt = true;
                break;
            }
        }

        if (foundIt) {
            System.out.println("Found " + searchfor + " at index " + i);
        } else {
            System.out.println(searchfor + " not in the array");
        }
    }
}

This program searches for the number 12 in an array. The break statement, shown in boldface, terminates the for loop when that value is found. Control flow then transfers to the statement after the for loop. This program's output is:

Found 12 at index 4

An unlabeled break statement terminates the innermost switch, for, while, or do-while statement, but a labeled break terminates an outer statement. The following program, BreakWithLabelDemo, is similar to the previous program, but uses nested for loops to search for a value in a two-dimensional array. When the value is found, a labeled break terminates the outer for loop (labeled "search"):

class BreakWithLabelDemo {
    public static void main(String[] args) {

        int[][] arrayOfInts = { 
            { 32, 87, 3, 589 },
            { 12, 1076, 2000, 8 },
            { 622, 127, 77, 955 }
        };
        int searchfor = 12;

        int i;
        int j = 0;
        boolean foundIt = false;

    search:
        for (i = 0; i < arrayOfInts.length; i++) {
            for (j = 0; j < arrayOfInts[i].length;
                 j++) {
                if (arrayOfInts[i][j] == searchfor) {
                    foundIt = true;
                    break search;
                }
            }
        }

        if (foundIt) {
            System.out.println("Found " + searchfor + " at " + i + ", " + j);
        } else {
            System.out.println(searchfor + " not in the array");
        }
    }
}

This is the output of the program.

Found 12 at 1, 0

The break statement terminates the labeled statement; it does not transfer the flow of control to the label. Control flow is transferred to the statement immediately following the labeled (terminated) statement.

The continue Statement

The continue statement skips the current iteration of a for, while , or do-while loop. The unlabeled form skips to the end of the innermost loop's body and evaluates the boolean expression that controls the loop. The following program, ContinueDemo , steps through a String, counting the occurences of the letter "p". If the current character is not a p, the continue statement skips the rest of the loop and proceeds to the next character. If it is a "p", the program increments the letter count.

class ContinueDemo {
    public static void main(String[] args) {

        String searchMe = "peter piper picked a " + "peck of pickled peppers";
        int max = searchMe.length();
        int numPs = 0;

        for (int i = 0; i < max; i++) {
            // interested only in p's
            if (searchMe.charAt(i) != 'p')
                continue;

            // process p's
            numPs++;
        }
        System.out.println("Found " + numPs + " p's in the string.");
    }
}

Here is the output of this program:

Found 9 p's in the string.

To see this effect more clearly, try removing the continue statement and recompiling. When you run the program again, the count will be wrong, saying that it found 35 p's instead of 9.

A labeled continue statement skips the current iteration of an outer loop marked with the given label. The following example program, ContinueWithLabelDemo, uses nested loops to search for a substring within another string. Two nested loops are required: one to iterate over the substring and one to iterate over the string being searched. The following program, ContinueWithLabelDemo, uses the labeled form of continue to skip an iteration in the outer loop.

class ContinueWithLabelDemo {
    public static void main(String[] args) {

        String searchMe = "Look for a substring in me";
        String substring = "sub";
        boolean foundIt = false;

        int max = searchMe.length() - 
                  substring.length();

    test:
        for (int i = 0; i <= max; i++) {
            int n = substring.length();
            int j = i;
            int k = 0;
            while (n-- != 0) {
                if (searchMe.charAt(j++) != substring.charAt(k++)) {
                    continue test;
                }
            }
            foundIt = true;
                break test;
        }
        System.out.println(foundIt ? "Found it" : "Didn't find it");
    }
}

Here is the output from this program.

Found it

The return Statement

The last of the branching statements is the return statement. The return statement exits from the current method, and control flow returns to where the method was invoked. The return statement has two forms: one that returns a value, and one that doesn't. To return a value, simply put the value (or an expression that calculates the value) after the return keyword.

return ++count;

The data type of the returned value must match the type of the method's declared return value. When a method is declared void, use the form of return that doesn't return a value.

return;

The Classes and Objects lesson will cover everything you need to know about writing methods.

Answers to Questions and Exercises: Control Flow Statements

Answers to Questions

1. The most basic control flow statement supported by the Java programming language is the if-then statement.
2. The switch statement allows for any number of possible execution paths.
3. The do-while statement is similar to the while statement, but evaluates its expression at the bottom of the loop.
4. Question: How do you write an infinite loop using the for statement?
Answer:
for ( ; ; ) {

}

5. Question: How do you write an infinite loop using the while statement?
Answer:
while (true) {

}

Exercises

1. Consider the following code snippet.
if (aNumber >= 0)
    if (aNumber == 0)
        System.out.println("first string");
else 
    System.out.println("second string");
System.out.println("third string");

A. Exercise: What output do you think the code will produce if aNumber is 3?

Solution:
second string
third string

B. Exercise: Write a test program containing the previous code snippet; make aNumber 3. What is the output of the program? Is it what you predicted? Explain why the output is what it is. In other words, what is the control flow for the code snippet?

Solution: NestedIf
second string
third string

3 is greater than or equal to 0, so execution progresses to the second if statement. The second if statement's test fails because 3 is not equal to 0. Thus, the else clause executes (since it's attached to the second if statement). Thus, second string is displayed. The final println is completely outside of any if statement, so it always gets executed, and thus third string is always displayed.

C. Exercise: Using only spaces and line breaks, reformat the code snippet to make the control flow easier to understand.

Solution:
if (aNumber >= 0)
    if (aNumber == 0)
        System.out.println("first string");
    else
        System.out.println("second string");

System.out.println("third string");

D. Exercise: Use braces { and } to further clarify the code and reduce the possibility of errors by future maintainers of the code.

Solution:
if (aNumber >= 0) {
    if (aNumber == 0) {
        System.out.println("first string");
    } else {
        System.out.println("second string");
    }
}
System.out.println("third string");

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