What is Java <>?


Hello. It's Kecho. ** Do you guys use Generics? ** ** I learned for the first time today. I mean, I hadn't seen it before, but I finally came across a place to learn.

Scenes of meeting Generics

I think the one I meet most is the list. I think you have made the following declaration.

List<String> list = new ArrayList<>();

I only knew that it was a variable length array. Classes that use this <> are called generic classes.

What kind of role is it?

List<String> list

First of all, this part. List is an interface that holds and handles multiple elements like an array ** in the first place. Not limited to String, you can store objects of various types. (Only one type.) So, the above declaration stipulates that String will be stored this time.

new ArrayList<>();

Next this part. The <> is empty, but I'm just omitting it. (Type can be inferred from the String on the left side)

General generics

Let's touch on generics from a broader perspective, not just the list. The simple definition is as follows.

public class Gene<T> {
	private T t;

	public void setT(T t) {
		this.t = t;

	public T getT() {
		return t;

The usage is as follows

Gene<String> g1 = new Gene<>(); //Fixed with String type
Gene<Integer> g2 = new Gene<>(); //Fixed as Integer type
System.out.print(g1.getT()); // test
System.out.print(g2.getT()); // 24

What makes me happy

In this example, we were able to use multiple classes for the same class.

No, isn't this all right?

public class GeneObj {
	Object t;

	public void setT(Object t) {
		this.t = t;

	public Object getT() {
		return t;

I tried using the Object class for the part that was limited by type T. Let's use it.

GeneObj g1 = new GeneObj(); 
GeneObj g2 = new GeneObj(); 
System.out.print(g1.getT()); // test
System.out.print(g2.getT()); // 24

You could write it with similar code.


Do I have to use Generics? ?? ??

No no

Both work in this example, but there is a problem with using Object. Simply put, this class is awkward to use.

Usage example that causes a run-time error

GeneObj g1 = new GeneObj(); //Fixed with String type
Integer res = (Integer) g1.getT() + 1; //Occurrence of ClassCastException

Above, I accidentally packed a String instead of an Integer. Therefore, ClassCastException occurred when casting to Integer class. From the user's point of view, they have to know the type that they setT, which is a hotbed of bugs. ** With Generics, you don't have to use a cast in the first place and you can notice it with a compile error. ** **


Generics are needed to balance type flexibility with code maintainability

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