Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Constructor References In Java 8

Constructor References :

    Simillar to Method References, you can create references to the constructors. The only difference is in Constructor references the method name is "new".

syntax is :
ClassName :: new

You may get a doubt that, if the class has multiple constructors which constructor the compiler refers ? The solution is simple , based on the context, the compiler refers the appropriate constructor.

 For example if you want to create a string from character array, the compilere referes the string constructor which takes character arry as argument.

You can assign a constructor reference to any functional interface which has a mtehod compatible with the constructor.

Lets see a simple example. In this example, i am going to refer a Constructor from String class.

1. Define a functional interface.

package com.speakingcs.fis;

public interface FuncIf {

    String strFunc(char[] chArray);


2. Now assign a String constructor reference to the functional interface which we have created just now.

package com.speakingcs.lambdas;

import com.speakingcs.fis.FuncIf;

public class StringCreator {

    public static void main(String[] args) {

        FuncIf fi = String::new;

        char[] charArray = {'s','p','e','a','k','i','n','g','c','s'};




Note that, in the program strFunc() of FuncIf interface returns a reference of type String. In the program, the expression "String::new" creates a constructor reference to the String's constructor. Here the method StrFunc() takes a Character array as an argument, so the parameterized constructor String(char[] charArray) is referred here.

The equivalent lambda expression is

charArray -> new String(charArray);

If you don't know about Lambda expression, refer here part1, part2

So finally, when ever you call the method strFunc() on FuncIf reference, a String object is constructed and returned.

Constructor References For Arrays :

    You can create constructor references with array types. for example, if you want to create a integer array, the constructor reference is "int[] :: new" and the parameter is length of the array.

The equivalent lambda expression is
 x -> new int[x];
 In java, it is not possible to create an array of generic type T. The statement T[] genArr = new T[10]; returns a compiler error saying cannot create generic array of type T. Because of type erasure in java, the expression new T[n] would be erased to new Object[n]. with the help of constructor references for Arrays, we can create any type of array on the fly.

 Here is a simple example to create an integer arry using constructor references.
package com.speakingcs.lambda;

interface FuncIf {    

    int[] intArrMaker(int noOfEle);    


public class ConstructorRefDemo {

    public static void main(String[] args) {

        FuncIf fi = int[] :: new;        
        int[] intArr = fi.intArrMaker(10);    

        for(int i = 0; i < intArr.length ; i++) {

            intArr[i] = i*10;

            System.out.print(" "+ i);



Constructor references to generic classes are created in the same fashion. The only difference is that you have to specify the type argument. lets write a program that returns different arrays at different situations.
interface GenIf< T > {

     T[] genArrMaker(int noOfEle);


public class ConstructorRefDemo {

    public static void main(String[] args) {        

        GenIf<String> gi = String[] :: new;        

        String[] objArr = gi.genArrMaker(10);       


        for(int i = 0; i < objArr.length ; i++) {

            objArr[i] = "\""+i+"\"";

            System.out.print(" "+ objArr[i]);



In the above program, GenIf<T> is a generic Functional interface. notice that, we are assinging constructor reference of type String to this interface. So it constructs and returns array of type String. If you assign Integer Constructor reference, it will return Integer Array.


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