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deepthi k

Joined: Dec 16, 2005
Posts: 6
Do we have any concept of pointers in java?
Jeff Albertson
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 16, 2005
Posts: 1780
Define "pointer".

I've searched the JLS and the most specific use of the word "pointer" occurs in 4.3.1 (Objects):

An object is a class instance or an array.

The reference values (often just references) are pointers to these objects, and a special null reference, which refers to no object.

Note this doesn't imply that you can do C-style pointer arithmetic in Java:

Hey, remember that old t-shirt of yours with that code emblazoned across the chest?
[ December 20, 2005: Message edited by: Jeff Albrechtsen ]

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Jesper de Jong
Java Cowboy
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Aug 16, 2005
Posts: 15081

The Java language does not have pointers in the same way as you have them in C or C++ - i.e., pointers that can point to any location in memory and that you can do pointer arithmetic with.

However, Java does have references, which are essentially the same as pointers , but with a few restrictions meant to make programming and debugging safer and easier. For example, a reference must always point to a valid object or null - it can't point to any arbitrary location in memory, and you can't do tricky arithmetic with it.

Note that Java has the NullPointerException - it should have been called NullReferenceException, but now it's far too late to change the name...

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Joel McNary

Joined: Aug 20, 2001
Posts: 1824

welcome to JavaRanch! We're a friendly bunch here, but we do have one rule that we take seriously -- the JavaRanch Naming Policy

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Please edit your profile and correct your display name.

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subject: Pointers
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