Java Arrays - Java

What is Java Arrays?

Java presents an information structure, the array, which stores a fixed-size sequential series of elements of the same type. An array is used to store a group of statistics, but it's far often greater useful to think of an array as a set of variables of the same type.

instead of declaring person variables, which include number0, number1, ..., and number99, you declare one array variable such as numbers and use numbers[0], numbers[1], and ..., numbers[99] to represent individual variables.

This tutorial introduces a way to declare array variables, create arrays, and process arrays using indexed variables.

Declaring Array Variables

To use an array in a program, you must declare a variable to reference the array, and you must specify the type of array the variable can reference. Here is the syntax for declaring an array variable −


Note − The style dataType[] arrayRefVar is preferred. The style dataType arrayRefVar[] comes from the C/C++ language and was adopted in Java to accommodate C/C++ programmers.


The following code snippets are examples of this syntax −

Creating Arrays

You can create an array by using the new operator with the following syntax −


The above statement does two things −

  • It creates an array using new dataType[arraySize].
  • It assigns the reference of the newly created array to the variable arrayRefVar.

Declaring an array variable, creating an array, and assigning the reference of the array to the variable can be combined in one statement, as shown below −

Alternatively you can create arrays as follows −

The array elements are accessed through the index. Array indices are 0-based; that is, they start from 0 to arrayRefVar.length-1.


Following statement declares an array variable, myList, creates an array of 10 elements of double type and assigns its reference to myList −

Following picture represents array myList. Here, myList holds ten double values and the indices are from 0 to 9.


Processing Arrays

When processing array elements, we often use either for loop or foreach loop because all of the elements in an array are of the same type and the size of the array is known.


Here is a complete example showing how to create, initialize, and process arrays –

This will produce the following result −


The foreach Loops

JDK 1.5 introduced a new for loop known as foreach loop or enhanced for loop, which enables you to traverse the complete array sequentially without using an index variable.


The following code displays all the elements in the array myList –

This will produce the following result −


Passing Arrays to Methods

Just as you can pass primitive type values to methods, you can also pass arrays to methods. For example, the following method displays the elements in an int array −


You can invoke it by passing an array. For example, the following statement invokes the printArray method to display 3, 1, 2, 6, 4, and 2 −


Returning an Array from a Method

A method may also return an array. For example, the following method returns an array that is the reversal of another array −


The Arrays Class

The java.util.Arrays class contains various static methods for sorting and searching arrays, comparing arrays, and filling array elements. These methods are overloaded for all primitive types.


Method & Description


public static int binarySearch(Object[] a, Object key)

Searches the specified array of Object ( Byte, Int , double, etc.) for the specified value using the binary search algorithm. The array must be sorted prior to making this call. This returns index of the search key, if it is contained in the list; otherwise, it returns ( – (insertion point + 1)).


public static boolean equals(long[] a, long[] a2)

Returns true if the two specified arrays of longs are equal to one another. Two arrays are considered equal if both arrays contain the same number of elements, and all corresponding pairs of elements in the two arrays are equal. This returns true if the two arrays are equal. Same method could be used by all other primitive data types (Byte, short, Int, etc.)


public static void fill(int[] a, int val)

Assigns the specified int value to each element of the specified array of ints. The same method could be used by all other primitive data types (Byte, short, Int, etc.)


public static void sort(Object[] a)

Sorts the specified array of objects into an ascending order, according to the natural ordering of its elements. The same method could be used by all other primitive data types ( Byte, short, Int, etc.)

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