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Why use Map.entrySet()

Zhixiong Pan
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 25, 2006
Posts: 239
Hi ranchers,
In what cases, will Map.entrySet() be used? Thanks.

Deepak Bala

Joined: Feb 24, 2006
Posts: 6661

I have not personally used this myself. Each entry in the Map is represented by a Map.Entry, and the entry set can be used to iterate through the entries. Useful if you need to access each entry as a whole.

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Campbell Ritchie

Joined: Oct 13, 2005
Posts: 38353
I think I have used it and John Meyers is correct. I am writing from memory, but it goes something like this:-
It was the only way I could find of gaining access to the "V" entries in a HashMap in order without knowing the "K" values. Of course, you can get access to the "K" values using getKey() instead of getValue().

I think that is how it is supposed to work.
Jim Yingst

Joined: Jan 30, 2000
Posts: 18671
If you just need keys, use keySet(). If you just need values, use values(). If you're going to use keys and values in your subsequent code, then you're best off using entrySet().

I frequently see people do this without entrySet(), and it usually looks something like this:

This works, but it's making the JVM do extra work for no good reason. Every time you call get() you're making the JVM spend time doing a hashcode lookup, or navigating a tree and evaluating a comparator. These operations may be fast, or not, but why do them if you don't have to? A Map.Entry gives you both key and value, together, in the most efficient manner possible.

Under JDK 5 and later it's a little nicer:

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Henry Wong

Joined: Sep 28, 2004
Posts: 18715

Originally posted by Jim Yingst:

I frequently see people do this without entrySet(), and it usually looks something like this:

I do this a *lot*. I don't really know why -- maybe it has to do with muscle memory. It does seem to be a habit that I can't seem to break.

So, I guess my response to "Why use Map.entrySet()" is ... I don't, but I should...


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Bear Bibeault
Author and ninkuma

Joined: Jan 10, 2002
Posts: 60997

I must be ahead of the curve . I use it all the time!

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Mr. C Lamont Gilbert
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 05, 2001
Posts: 1170

Whenever I am getting all the data out of the Map I use entrySet. I do use it a lot. Especially when copying the Map, or converting it into a different format. Most recently I created a database dump to xml and I had to get all the contents of a Map. I used entryset.
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subject: Why use Map.entrySet()