Covers the Fundamentals of RMI

Fundamentally object oriented

Month: March 2021

Annotations

Annotations, a form of metadata, provide data about a program that is not part of the program itself. Annotations have no direct effect on the operation of the code they annotate.

Annotations have a number of uses, among them:

  • Information for the compiler — Annotations can be used by the compiler to detect errors or suppress warnings.
  • Compile-time and deployment-time processing — Software tools can process annotation information to generate code, XML files, and so forth.
  • Runtime processing — Some annotations are available to be examined at runtime.

Annotations Basics

In its simplest form, an annotation looks like the following:

@Entity

The at sign character (@) indicates to the compiler that what follows is an annotation. In the following example, the annotation’s name is Override:

@Override
void mySuperMethod() { ... }

The annotation can include elements, which can be named or unnamed, and there are values for those elements:

@Author(
   name = "Benjamin Franklin",
   date = "3/27/2003"
)
class MyClass() { ... }

or

@SuppressWarnings(value = "unchecked")
void myMethod() { ... }

If there is just one element named value, then the name can be omitted, as in:

@SuppressWarnings("unchecked")
void myMethod() { ... }

If the annotation has no elements, then the parentheses can be omitted, as shown in the previous @Override example.

It is also possible to use multiple annotations on the same declaration:

@Author(name = "Jane Doe")
@EBook
class MyClass { ... }

If the annotations have the same type, then this is called a repeating annotation:

@Author(name = "Jane Doe")
@Author(name = "John Smith")
class MyClass { ... }

Enum Types

An enum type is a special data type that enables for a variable to be a set of predefined constants. The variable must be equal to one of the values that have been predefined for it. Common examples include compass directions (values of NORTH, SOUTH, EAST, and WEST) and the days of the week.

Because they are constants, the names of an enum type’s fields are in uppercase letters.

In the Java programming language, you define an enum type by using the enum keyword. For example, you would specify a days-of-the-week enum type as:

public enum Day {
    SUNDAY, MONDAY, TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY,
    THURSDAY, FRIDAY, SATURDAY 
}

You should use enum types any time you need to represent a fixed set of constants. That includes natural enum types such as the planets in our solar system and data sets where you know all possible values at compile time—for example, the choices on a menu, command line flags, and so on.

Java programming language enum types are much more powerful than their counterparts in other languages. The enum declaration defines a class (called an enum type). The enum class body can include methods and other fields. The compiler automatically adds some special methods when it creates an enum. For example, they have a static values method that returns an array containing all of the values of the enum in the order they are declared. This method is commonly used in combination with the for-each construct to iterate over the values of an enum type.

Lambda Expressions

One issue with anonymous classes is that if the implementation of your anonymous class is very simple, such as an interface that contains only one method, then the syntax of anonymous classes may seem unwieldy and unclear. In these cases, you’re usually trying to pass functionality as an argument to another method, such as what action should be taken when someone clicks a button. Lambda expressions enable you to do this, to treat functionality as method argument, or code as data.

The previous section, Anonymous Classes, shows you how to implement a base class without giving it a name. Although this is often more concise than a named class, for classes with only one method, even an anonymous class seems a bit excessive and cumbersome. Lambda expressions let you express instances of single-method classes more compactly.

Ideal Use Case for Lambda Expressions

Suppose that you are creating a social networking application. You want to create a feature that enables an administrator to perform any kind of action, such as sending a message, on members of the social networking application that satisfy certain criteria. The following table describes this use case in detail:

Field Description
Name           Perform action on selected members
Primary Actor           Administrator
Preconditions          Administrator is logged in to the system.
Postconditions          Action is performed only on members that fit the specified criteria.
Main Success Scenario
  1. Administrator specifies criteria of members on which to perform a certain action.
  2. Administrator specifies an action to perform on those selected members.
  3. Administrator selects the Submit button.
  4. The system finds all members that match the specified criteria.
  5. The system performs the specified action on all matching members.
Extensions         1a. Administrator has an option to preview those members who match the specified criteria before he or she specifies the action to be performed or before selecting the Submit button.
Frequency of Occurrence         Many times during the day.

Inner, Local and Anonymous Classes

To see an inner class in use, first consider an array. In the following example, you create an array, fill it with integer values, and then output only values of even indices of the array in ascending order.

The DataStructure.java example that follows consists of:

  • The DataStructure outer class, which includes a constructor to create an instance of DataStructure containing an array filled with consecutive integer values (0, 1, 2, 3, and so on) and a method that prints elements of the array that have an even index value.
  • The EvenIterator inner class, which implements the DataStructureIterator interface, which extends the Iterator< Integer> interface. Iterators are used to step through a data structure and typically have methods to test for the last element, retrieve the current element, and move to the next element.
  • main method that instantiates a DataStructure object (ds), then invokes the printEven method to print elements of the array arrayOfInts that have an even index value.
 
public class DataStructure {
    
    // Create an array
    private final static int SIZE = 15;
    private int[] arrayOfInts = new int[SIZE];
    
    public DataStructure() {
        // fill the array with ascending integer values
        for (int i = 0; i < SIZE; i++) {
            arrayOfInts[i] = i;
        }
    }
    
    public void printEven() {
        
        // Print out values of even indices of the array
        DataStructureIterator iterator = this.new EvenIterator();
        while (iterator.hasNext()) {
            System.out.print(iterator.next() + " ");
        }
        System.out.println();
    }
    
    interface DataStructureIterator extends java.util.Iterator<Integer> { } 

    // Inner class implements the DataStructureIterator interface,
    // which extends the Iterator<Integer> interface
    
    private class EvenIterator implements DataStructureIterator {
        
        // Start stepping through the array from the beginning
        private int nextIndex = 0;
        
        public boolean hasNext() {
            
            // Check if the current element is the last in the array
            return (nextIndex <= SIZE - 1);
        }        
        
        public Integer next() {
            
            // Record a value of an even index of the array
            Integer retValue = Integer.valueOf(arrayOfInts[nextIndex]);
            
            // Get the next even element
            nextIndex += 2;
            return retValue;
        }
    }
    
    public static void main(String s[]) {
        
        // Fill the array with integer values and print out only
        // values of even indices
        DataStructure ds = new DataStructure();
        ds.printEven();
    }
}

The output is:

0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 

Note that the EvenIterator class refers directly to the arrayOfInts instance variable of the DataStructure object.

You can use inner classes to implement helper classes such as the one shown in the this example. To handle user interface events, you must know how to use inner classes, because the event-handling mechanism makes extensive use of them.

Local Classes

Local classes are classes that are defined in a block, which is a group of zero or more statements between balanced braces. You typically find local classes defined in the body of a method.

Anonymous Classes

Anonymous classes enable you to make your code more concise. They enable you to declare and instantiate a class at the same time. They are like local classes except that they do not have a name. Use them if you need to use a local class only once.

Nested Classes

The Java programming language allows you to define a class within another class. Such a class is called a nested class and is illustrated here:

class OuterClass {
    ...
    class NestedClass {
        ...
    }
}

A nested class is a member of its enclosing class. Non-static nested classes (inner classes) have access to other members of the enclosing class, even if they are declared private. Static nested classes do not have access to other members of the enclosing class. As a member of the OuterClass, a nested class can be declared privatepublicprotected, or package private.

Why Use Nested Classes?

Compelling reasons for using nested classes include the following:

  • It is a way of logically grouping classes that are only used in one place: If a class is useful to only one other class, then it is logical to embed it in that class and keep the two together. Nesting such “helper classes” makes their package more streamlined.
  • It increases encapsulation: Consider two top-level classes, A and B, where B needs access to members of A that would otherwise be declared private. By hiding class B within class A, A’s members can be declared private and B can access them. In addition, B itself can be hidden from the outside world.
  • It can lead to more readable and maintainable code: Nesting small classes within top-level classes places the code closer to where it is used.

Static Nested Classes

As with class methods and variables, a static nested class is associated with its outer class. And like static class methods, a static nested class cannot refer directly to instance variables or methods defined in its enclosing class: it can use them only through an object reference.

Static nested classes are accessed using the enclosing class name:

OuterClass.StaticNestedClass

For example, to create an object for the static nested class, use this syntax:

OuterClass.StaticNestedClass nestedObject =
     new OuterClass.StaticNestedClass();

Inner Classes

As with instance methods and variables, an inner class is associated with an instance of its enclosing class and has direct access to that object’s methods and fields. Also, because an inner class is associated with an instance, it cannot define any static members itself.

Objects that are instances of an inner class exist within an instance of the outer class. Consider the following classes:

class OuterClass {
    ...
    class InnerClass {
        ...
    }
}

An instance of InnerClass can exist only within an instance of OuterClass and has direct access to the methods and fields of its enclosing instance.

To instantiate an inner class, you must first instantiate the outer class. Then, create the inner object within the outer object with this syntax:

OuterClass.InnerClass innerObject = outerObject.new InnerClass();