Manning OCA Java SE 7 Reading Note: Chapter 4

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This is a post that I moved from my old blog site. This is the reading note for OCA Java SE 7 Certification Guide from Manning. Please note that all definations and examples in this post are taken from the book.

Chapter 4. String, StringBuilder, Arrays and ArrayList

This chapter mainly covers:

  • Creating and manipulating String and StringBuilder objects
  • Using common methods from class String and StringBuilder

  • Creating and using one-dimensional and multidimensional arrays in single and multiple steps

  • Accessing elements in asymmetric multidimensional arrays Declaring, creating, and using an ArrayList and understanding the advantages of an ArrayList over arrays

  • Using methods that add, modify, and delete elements of an ArrayList

4.1 String

Create a String

You can create objects of the class String by:

  • using the new operator

  • by using the assignment operator ( = )

  • by enclosing a value within double quotes ( " ).

Important: String objects created using the operator new always refer to seperate objects and storing in seperate locations, even if they store the same sequence of characters.

i.e. Following code will print false:

String str1 = new String("Paul");
String str2 = new String("Paul");
System.out.println(str1 == str2);

Important: String object is created using = always refer to same objects. The objects are created and stored in a pool of String objects. Before creating a new object in the pool, Java first searches for an object with similar contents.

So when the following line of code executes, no String object with the value "Harry" is found in the pool of String objects:String str3 = "Harry";

As a result, Java creates a String object with the value "Harry" in the pool of String objects referred to by variable str3 .

When the following line of code executes, Java is able to find a String object with the value "Harry" in the pool of String objects:String str4 = "Harry";

So now System.out.println(str3 == str4); should be true.

Important: String object is created using "string_value" (without new) are reused from the String constant pool if a matching value is found.

If a matching value isn’t found, the JVM creates a String object with the specified value and places it in the String constant pool:

String morning1 = "Morning";
System.out.println("Morning" == morning1); //True

String morning2 = new String("Morning");
System.out.println("Morning" == morning2); //False since it use "new"


  • If a String object is created using the keyword new , it always results in the creation of a new String object.

  • A new String object gets created using the assignment operator ( = ) or double quotes ("") only if a matching String object with the same value isn’t found in the String constant pool.

String constructor can accept a char array and create new String: :::java String girl = new String("Shreya"); char[] name = new char[]{'P','a','u','l'}; String boy = new String(name);

StringBuilder and StringBuffer can be used to create new String:

StringBuilder sd1 = new StringBuilder("String Builder");
String str5 = new String(sd1);
StringBuffer sb2 = new StringBuffer("String Buffer");
String str6 = new String(sb2);

The literal value for String is null .

The Class String is Immutable

The concept that the class String is immutable is an important point to remember. Once created, the contents of an object of the class String can never be modified.

the JVM creates a pool of String objects that can be referenced by multiple variables across the JVM . The JVM can make this optimiza- tion only because String is immutable.

String objects can be shared across multiple reference variables without any fear of changes in their values.

If the reference variables str1 and str2 refer to the same String object value "Java" , str1 need not worry for its lifetime that the value "Java" might be changed by variable str2 .

class String is implemented by the authors of this class:

  • The class String stores its values in a private variable of the type char array ( char value[] ). Arrays are fixed in size and don’t grow once initialized.

  • This value variable is marked as final in the class String . Note that final is a nonaccess modifier, and a final variable can be initialized only once.

  • None of the methods defined in the class String manipulate the individual elements of the array value .

All the methods defined in the class String , such as substring() , concat(), toLowerCase(), toUpperCase(), trim(), and so on, which seem to modify the contents of the String object on which they’re called, create and return a new String object, rather than modifying the existing value.

Methods of the class String

charAt(int index) can be used to retrieve a character at a specified index of a String

indexOf(char c) is used to search a String for the occurrence of a char or a String.

If the specified char or String is found in the target String, this method returns the first matching position; otherwise, it returns -1

If you wish, you can also set the starting position: System.out.println(letters.indexOf('B', 2)); starts from position 2

substring(int start, int end) is shipped in two flavors. The first returns a substring of a String from the position you specify to the end of the String (end position exclusive)

trim() returns a new String by removing all the leading and trailing white space in a String . White spaces are blanks (new lines, spaces, or tabs).

this method doesn’t remove the space within a String .

replace(char,char) or replace(string, string) return a new String by replacing all the occurrences of a char with another char. - - Instead of specifying a char to be replaced by another char , you can also specify a sequence of characters—a String to be replaced by another String.

Notice the type of the method parameters passed on this method: either char or String.You can’t mix these parameter types.

length() is used to retrieve the length of a String.

startsWith(String) and endWith(String) determines whether a String starts/ends with a specified prefix/suffix, specified as a String.

You can also specify whether you wish to search from the start of a String or from a particular position. This method returns true if a match is found and false otherwise

These two methods are case-sensitive!

These two methods only accept string parameter!

When chained, the methods are evaluated from left to right.

String day = "SunDday";
day.replace('D', 'Z').substring(3);
System.out.println(day); //prints Sunday. String is immutable

day = day.replace('D', 'Z').substring(3);
System.out.println(day); //prints ZDay because We hava an re-assignment here.

String Objects and Operators

Of all the operators that are on this exam, you can use just a handful with the String objects:

  • Concatenation: + and +=

  • Equality: == and !=

You can use the operators + and += to concatenate two String values. Behind the scenes, string concatenation is implemented by using the StringBuilder (covered in the next section) or StringBuffer (similar to StringBuilder ) classes.

The + operator enables you to create a new object of class String with a value equal to the concatenated values of multiple Strings .

The + operator can be used with the primitive values, Which means if you do num + num + string, first two numbers will be added together, then transfer to string!

"" + num + num + aStr; can be used to transfer all nums to string to concatenate

When you use += to concatenate String values, ensure that the variable you’re using has been initialized (and doesn’t contain null )

However, no compile or runtime error will appear. Just null value will be print out.

Determining Equality of String

The correct way to compare two String values for equality is to use the equals() method defined in the String class.

This method returns a true value if the object being compared to:

  • It isn’t null

  • It is a String object

  • Represents the same sequence of characters as the object to which it’s being compared.

The operator == won’t always return the value true , even if the two objects store the same String values. The operator == compares whether the reference variables refer to the same objects.

You can use the operator != to compare the inequality of objects referred to by the String variables. It’s the inverse of the operator == :

String var1 = new String("Java");
String var2 = new String("Java");
System.out.println(var1.equals(var2)); //true
System.out.println(var1 == var2); //false
System.out.println(var1 != var2); //true

String var3 = "code";
String var4 = "code";
System.out.println(var3.equals(var4)); //true
System.out.println(var3 == var4); //true
System.out.println(var3 != var4); //false

Mutable Strings: StringBuilder

You must use class StringBuilder when you’re dealing with larger strings or modifying the contents of a string often.

StringBuilder is Mutable

In contrast to the class String , the class StringBuilder uses a non– final char array to store its value.

Creating StringBuilder Objects

You can create objects of class StringBuilder using multiple overloaded constructors new StringBuilder():

class CreateStringBuilderObjects {
    public static void main(String args[]) {
        //No arguments
        StringBuilder sb1 = new StringBuilder();
        //Take a StringBuilder
        StringBuilder sb2 = new StringBuilder(sb1);
        //Take a int
        StringBuilder sb3 = new StringBuilder(50);
        //Take a String
        StringBuilder sb4 = new StringBuilder("Shreya Gupta");

When you create a StringBuilder object using its default constructor, the following code executes behind the scenes to initialize the array value defined in the class StringBuilder itself:

StringBuilder() {
//When initialize a StringBuilder, create an array of length 16
value = new char[16];

When you create a StringBuilder object by passing it a String , the following code executes behind the scenes to initializethe array value:

public StringBuilder(String str) {
value = new char[str.length() + 16];

This means you can extend StringBuilder size when you initialize it*

Methods of StringBuilder

append() method adds the specified value at the end of the existing value of a StringBuilder object.

This method accepts all the primitives, String , char array, and Object as method parameters

You can append a complete char array, StringBuffer , or String or its subset as follows:

StringBuilder sb1 = new StringBuilder();
char[] name = {'J', 'a', 'v', 'a', '7'};
sb1.append(name, 1, 3);
System.out.println(sb1); //ava

When you append an object’s value to a StringBuilder , the method append calls the target class’s toString() method to retrieve the object’s String representation.

The insert() method is as powerful as the append() method. It also exists in multiple flavors (read: overloaded methods) that accept any data type.

The main difference between the append() and insert() methods is that the insert() method enables you to insert the requested data at a particular position, but the append() method only allows you to add the requested data at the end of the StringBuilder object

Usage of insert():

StringBuilder sb1 = new StringBuilder("123");
char[] name = {'J', 'a', 'v', 'a'};
sb1.insert(1, name, 1, 3); //Note 1 and 3 are all inclusive!
System.out.println(sb1); //1ava23

The method delete(int start, int end) removes the characters in a substring of the specified StringBuilder. End Position is exclusive!

The method deleteCharAt(int position) removes the char at the specified position.

the reverse() method reverses the sequence of characters of a StringBuilder

You can’t use the method reverse() to reverse a substring of StringBuilder.**

the replace(int start, int end, String str) method in the class StringBuilder replaces a sequence of characters, identified by their positions, with another String - start int and end int are all inclusive!

you can also use the method subSequence(int start, int end) to retrieve a subsequence of a StringBuilder object. This method returns objects of type CharSequence

end int is exclusive!


The classes StringBuffer and StringBuilder offer the same functionality, with one difference: the methods of the class StringBuffer are synchronized where necessary, whereas the methods of the class StringBuilder aren’t.

So when you work with the class StringBuffer , only one thread out of multiple threads can execute your method. Working with synchronized methods and the StringBuffer class affects the performance of your code.

If you need to access your code from multiple threads, use StringBuffer ; otherwise use StringBuilder .


an array is an object itself, which implies that it stores references to the data it stores. Arrays can store two types of data:

  • A collection of primitive data types

  • A collection of objects

An array of primitives stores a collection of values that constitute the primitive values themselves. (With primitives, there are no objects to reference.) An array of objects stores a collection of values, which are in fact heap-memory addresses or pointers.

object arrays store references (to objects) and primitive arrays store primitive values.

The members of an array are defined in contiguous (continuous) memory locations and hence offer improved access speed.

  • A one-dimensional array is an object that refers to a collection of scalar values.

  • A two-dimensional (or more) array is referred to as a multidimensional array. A two-dimensional array refers to a collection of objects in which each of the objects is a one-dimensional array. - Similarly, a three-dimensional array refers to a collection of two-dimensional arrays, and so on.

Note that multidimensional arrays may or may not contain the same number of elements in each row or column.

Creating an array involves three steps:

  • Declaring the array

  • Allocating the array

  • Initializing the array elements

Array Declaration

An array declaration includes the array type and array variable. Ezample:

int intArray[]; //One dimentional
String[] strArray; //One dimentional
int[] multiArray[]; //Muti dimentional

The square bracket ([])s can follow the array type or its name:

int[] multiArr[];  = int[][] multiArr; = int multiArr[][];
int[] anArr; = int anArr[];

The array declaration only creates a variable that refers to null.

it’s invalid to define the size of an array with its declaration: i.e. int[2] nums is invalid.

Array Allocation

array allocation will allocate memory for the elements of an array. When you allocate memory for an array, you should specify its dimensions, such as the number of elements the array should store.

The size of an array can’t expand or reduce once it is allocated.

Because an array is an object, it’s allocated using the keyword new , followed by the type of value that it stores, and then its size.

The code won’t compile if you don’t specify the size of the array or if you place the array size on the left of the = sign:

intArray = new int[]; //won't compile
intArray[2] = new int; //won't compile

Once allocated, all the array elements store their default values.

Elements in an array that store objects default to null . -

Elements of an array that store primitive data types store 0 for integer types ( byte , short , int , long )

Store 0.0 for decimal types ( float and double )

Store false for boolean

Store /u0000 for char data.

Array Initialization

//Initialize array in a loop
for (int i=0; i<intArray.length; i++) {
intArray[i] = i + 5;

//Initialize array by assigning value to sepcific element in array
intArray[0] = 10;
intArray[1] = 1870;

When you initialize a two-dimensional array, you can use nested for loops to initialize its array elements.

Also notice that to access an element in a two-dimensional array, you should use two array position values. Example:

for (int i=0; i<multiArr.length; i++) {
    for (int j=0; j<multiArr[i].length; j++) {
        multiArr[i][j] = i + j;

If you try to access a nonexistence array index position, ArrayIndexOutOfBoundsException will be throwed out, buy complie is fine:

int intArray[] = new int[2];
//Compile fine even though it access negative position

Code to access an array element will fail to compile if you don’t pass it a char, byte, short, or int data type.

you can’t remove array positions. For an array of objects, you can set a position to value null , but it doesn’t remove the array position.

These code will work:

//If you add new() on code below, code will still work
int intArray[] = {0, 1};
String[] strArray = {"Summer", "Winter"};
int multiArray[][] = { {0, 1}, {3, 4, 5} };

However, if you try to specify the size of an array with the following approach, the code won’t compile because the size of the array is calculated by the number of values that are assigned to the array.

int intArray2[] = new int[2]{0, 1};
String[] strArray2 = new String[2]{"Summer", "Winter"};
int multiArray2[][] = new int[2][]{ {0, 1}, {3, 4, 5}};

If you declare and initialize an array using two separate lines of code, you’ll use the keyword new to initialize the values. For example:

int intArray[];
intArray = new int[]{0, 1}; //it is fine if there is new()

Without the keyword new code will fail to compile:

int intArray[];
intArray = {0, 1}; //Will fail to compile

Asymmetrical Multidimensional Arrays

A multidimensional array can be asymmetrical (i.e. two parts are not corresponding each other in shape).

Arrays can define a different number of columns for each of its rows.

For example, for code below:

String multiStrArr[][] = new String[][]{
{"A", "B"},
{"Jan", "Feb", "Mar"},

An attempt to access any element of this array, such as multiStrArr[1][0], will throw an exception, since second postion is null

Arrays of type interface, abstract class, and class Object

If the type of an array is an interface, its elements are either null or objects that implement the relevant interface type.

For example:

interface MyInterface {}
class MyClass1 implements MyInterface {}
class MyClass2 implements MyInterface {}
class Test {
    MyInterface[] interfaceArray = new MyInterface[]
        new MyClass1(), //Note you use new() here
        new MyClass2()

If the type of an array is an abstract class, its elements are either null or objects of concrete classes that extend the relevant abstract class.

For example:

abstract class Vehicle{}
class Car extends Vehicle {}
class Bus extends Vehicle {}
class Test {
        Vehicle[] vehicleArray = {
        new Car(),  //Note you use new() here
        new Bus(),

Because all classes extend the class java.lang.Object , elements of an array whose type is java.lang.Object can refer to any object.

For example, below is a object array, with a combination of interface, abs class and object:

interface MyInterface {}
class MyClass1 implements MyInterface {}
abstract class Vehicle{}
class Car extends Vehicle {}

class Test {
    Object[] objArray = new Object[] {
        new MyClass1(),
        new Car(),
        new java.util.Date(),
        new String("name"),
        new Integer [7] //Array element of type Object can refer to another array

Members of an array

Array objects have the following public members:

  • length : not a method

  • clone(): The return type of this method is the same as the array’s type.

  • Methods inherited from the class Object , except the method clone() .

The way to accept length

  • String — Retrieve length using the method length()

  • Array — Determine element count using the variable length


Important Notes about ArrayList

It implements the interface List.

It allows null values to be added to it.

It implements all list operations ( add() , modify() , and delete() values).

It allows duplicate values to be added to it.

It maintains its insertion order.

You can use either Iterator or ListIterator (an implementation of the Iterator interface) to iterate over the items of an ArrayList .

It supports generics, making it type safe. (You have to declare the type of the elements that should be added to an ArrayList with its declaration.)

Create ArrayList

Starting with Java version 7, you can omit the object type on the right side of the equal sign and create an ArrayList as follows: ArrayList<String> myArrList = new ArrayList<>();

An ArrayList uses an array to store its elements. It provides you with the functionality of a dynamic array.

Add Element to ArrayList

When you add an element to the end of the list, the ArrayList first checks whether its instance variable elementData has an empty slot at the end.

If no empty slots exist, the method ensureCapacity() creates another array with a higher capacity and copies the existing values to this newly created array. It then copies the newly added value at the first available empty slot in the array.

When you add an element at a particular position, an ArrayList creates a new array and inserts all its elements at positions other than the position you specified. If there are any subsequent elements to the right of the position that you specified, it shifts them by one position. Then it adds the new element at the requested position.

Accessing Elements of an ArrayList

To access the elements of an ArrayList, you can either use Java’s enhanced for loop, Iterator , or ListIterator.

Code Example:

for (String element : myArrList) {

Code Example:

ListIterator<String> iterator = myArrList.listIterator();
while (iterator.hasNext()) {

An ArrayList preserves the order of insertion of its elements.

Iterator , ListIterator , and the enhanced for loop will return the elements in the order in which they were added to the ArrayList . - - An iterator ( Iterator or ListIterator ) lets you remove elements as you iterate an ArrayList.

It’s not possible to remove elements from an ArrayList while iterating it using a for loop.

Modify Elements of an ArrayList

You can modify an ArrayList by either replacing an existing element in ArrayList or modifying all of its existing values.

myArrList.set(1, "One and Half");

Deleting the Elements of an ArrayList

ArrayList defines two methods to remove its elements, as follows:

  • remove(int index)

  • remove(Object o)

    :::java //Assume we have 'One'...'Four' in myArrList myArrList.remove(1); for (StringBuilder element:myArrList) { System.out.println(element); } myArrList.remove(sb3); myArrList.remove(new StringBuilder("Four")); //This line will note remove "Four" for (StringBuilder element : myArrList) { System.out.println(element); }


We are not deleting in for loop

The removal of the specified element fails because of the manner in which the object references are compared for equality.

Two objects are equal if their object references (the variables that store them) point to the same object.

When elements of an ArrayList are removed, the remaining elements are re-arranged at their correct positions.

Other methods of ArrayList

You can add multiple elements to an ArrayList from another ArrayList or any other class that is a subclass of Collection by using the following overloaded versions of method addAll() :

addAll(Collection<? extends E> c) : appends all of the elements in the specified collection to the end of this list in the order in which they’re returned by the specified collection’s Iterator .

addAll(int index, Collection<? extends E> c): inserts all of the elements in the specified collection into this list, starting at the specified position.

ArrayList<String> myArrList = new ArrayList<String>();
ArrayList<String> yourArrList = new ArrayList<String>();
myArrList.addAll(1, yourArrList);
for (String val : myArrList)
    System.out.println(val); //One Three Four two

What happens if you modify the common object references in these lists, myArrList and yourArrList?

By default, **objects are considered equal if they are referred to by the same variable (the String class is an exception

We have two cases here: In the first one, you reassign the object reference using either of the lists. In this case, the value in the second list will remain unchanged. In the second case, you modify the internals of any of the common list elements—in this case, the change will be reflected in both of the lists.

You can remove all the ArrayList elements by calling clear() on it

get(int index) —This method returns the element at the specified position in this list. If the requested element isn’t within the range, the get method throws a java.lang.IndexOutOfBoundsException error at runtime.

size() —This method returns the number of elements in this list.

contains(Object o) —This method returns true if this list contains the specified element.

indexOf(Object o) —This method returns the index of the first occurrence of the specified element in this list, or –1 if this list doesn’t contain the element.

lastIndexOf(Object o) —This method returns the index of the last occurrence of the specified element in this list, or –1 if this list doesn’t contain the element.

An ArrayList can accept duplicate object values.

The method clone() defined in the class ArrayList returns a shallow copy of this ArrayList instance. Shallow copy means that this method creates a new instance of the ArrayList object to be cloned. Its element references are copied, but the objects themselves are not.

public class MiscMethodsArrayList5 {
    public static void main(String args[]) {
        ArrayList<StringBuilder> myArrList = new ArrayList<StringBuilder>();
        StringBuilder sb1 = new StringBuilder("Jan");
        StringBuilder sb2 = new StringBuilder("Feb");
        ArrayList<StringBuilder> assignedArrList = myArrList;
        ArrayList<StringBuilder> clonedArrList =
        System.out.println(myArrList == assignedArrList); //true
        System.out.println(myArrList == clonedArrList); //false
        StringBuilder myArrVal = myArrList.get(0);
        StringBuilder assignedArrVal = assignedArrList.get(0);
        StringBuilder clonedArrVal = clonedArrList.get(0);
        System.out.println(myArrVal == assignedArrVal); //true. Refer to same object as below
        System.out.println(myArrVal == clonedArrVal); //true

Create an Array from ArrayList

You can use the method toArray() to return an array containing all of the elements in an ArrayList in sequence from the first to the last element.

Method toArray() doesn’t return a reference to this array. It ceates a new array, copies the elements of the ArrayList to it and then returns it

The references to the individual ArrayList elements are copied to the returned array and are still referred to by the ArrayList .

So if you modify the returned array by, say, swapping the position of its elements or by assigning new objects to its elements, the elements of ArrayList won’t be affected.

But, if you modify the state of (mutable) elements of the returned array, then the modified state of elements will be reflected in the ArrayList .

Comparing Objects for Equality

The default implementation of the quals() method only compares whether two object variables refer to the same object.

Because instance variables are used to store the state of an object, it’s common to compare the values of the instance variables to determine whether two objects should be considered equal().

The equals() method in the class String returns true only if the object that’s being compared to is a String with the same sequence of characters.

The method equals() defines a method parameter of type Object , and its return type is boolean .

Don’t change the name of the method, its return type, or the type of method parameter when you define (override) this method in your class to compare two objects.

The Java API defines a contract for the equals() method, which should be taken care of when you implement it in any of your classes:

  • It is reflexive: for any non-null reference value x , x.equals(x) should return true .

  • It is symmetric: for any non-null reference values x and y , x.equals(y) should return true if and only if y.equals(x) returns true .

  • It is transitive: for any non-null reference values x , y , and z , if x.equals(y) returns true and y.equals(z) returns true , then .equals(z) should return true .

  • It is consistent: for any non-null reference values x and y , multiple invocations of x.equals(y) consistently return true or consistently return false , provided no information used in equals() comparisons on the objects is modified.

  • For any non- null reference value x , x.equals(null) should return false .


  • The method hashCode() is not called by the equals() method to determine the equality of two objects.

  • The hashCode of the key (an object) is used to specify a bucket number, which should store its corresponding value.

  • The hashCode values of two objects can be the same. When these collection classes find the right bucket, they call the equals method to select the correct value object (that shares the same key values).

  • According to the Java documentation, when you override the equals() method in your class, you should also override the hashCode() method.

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