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++ question

RaviKumar Kumar

Joined: Dec 18, 2005
Posts: 5
Snippet 1:

int i = 0;
i = i++;
System.out.println(i); // This prints 0

Snippet 2:

int i = 0;
i = i;
System.out.println(i); // This prints 1

According to the definition of ++ postfix, the value should be used first and then incremented. So, I interpreted that both snippets should produce the same result. This doesn't seem to be the case. Can someone please explain.
Sasikanth Malladi
Ranch Hand

Joined: Nov 04, 2000
Posts: 175
In the second snippet, don't you mean
i = ++i;
Mark Spritzler

Joined: Feb 05, 2001
Posts: 17250

The big thing to know is that i++ is like a function/method call. It returns a value.


i = 0;
i = i++;

the i++ returns the previous value which is 0 and assings it to i. that is why it prints out 0 and not 1.

It is a Java gotcha.


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Anuja Vyas

Joined: Dec 19, 2005
Posts: 1
The explanation for i = i++ is as follows:
i++ is an expression, and as such, it has a value. The value of the expression "i++" is the value of i before the increment. If you did "j=i++" you'd expect j to be 10, right? Because you know that i++, as a post-increment operator, gets the value first and then increments.

So, the value of i++ is 10. Once the expression is evaluated to get that value, then the increment occurs. So now i is 11.

Finally after the i++ has done its bit, whatever is on the left side (in this case it happens to be i, but it would be the same if it were j), gets the value of the expression. No, that value isn't 11. It's 10. The value of i++ is i's value before the increment. It's 10.
RaviKumar Kumar

Joined: Dec 18, 2005
Posts: 5
Mark and Anuja,

Full marks for your explainations. Very helpful.

Ravisekhar Kovuru

Joined: Sep 23, 2003
Posts: 25
I still couldn't understand.. please help...

Now it prints 1

But why will it print 0 for i = i++;
I understand that i++ means:
1)first use it; in this case assign 0 to i and then
2)increment i by 1. The process of increment is done before printing.
But still it prints 0.....Why ?? Please explain...
[ December 19, 2005: Message edited by: Ravisekhar Kovuru ]
uzma Akbar
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 21, 2005
Posts: 40
For those who are not still clear I am copying which is already somewhere on Javaranch.

Let's take a close look at what the line "i = i++;" does:

"i++" is evaluated. The value of "i++" is the value of i before the increment happens.
As part of the evaluation of "i++", i is incremented by one. Now i has the value of 1;
The assignment is executed. i is assigned the value of "i++", which is the value of i before the increment - that is, 0.
That is, "i = i++" roughly translates to

int oldValue = i;
i = i + 1;
i = oldValue;

With other words, it is a common misconception that the increment is happening last. The increment is executed immediately when the expression gets evaluated, and the value before the increment is remembered for future use inside the same statement.

I hope this 'll help

Ravisekhar Kovuru

Joined: Sep 23, 2003
Posts: 25
Thanks, Uzma..
Now I got it...
it is somewhat tricky...
Steve Morrow
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 22, 2003
Posts: 657

From a bytecode perspective, it looks like this:
Ramanan Sathiyanarayanan

Joined: Dec 20, 2005
Posts: 11
int i = 0;
i = i++ + i++ + i++ + i++;

Output = 6.

Since it is post incrementer, assignment occurs before increment.

Step � 1 � The first i++ will execute like, I will be assigned to the value 0 and it gets incremented.
Step - 2 � Since in step 1 the I value is incremented, it will be 1 now. So once again I will be assigned and increments happens. So now I value will be 0+1=1.
Step � 3 � Same things happens, since an increment had happened the I value after step 2 will be 2. So 1+2 = 3.
Step � 4 � Same thing happens, so 3+3 = 6.
I agree. Here's the link:
subject: ++ question