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Collections class ( Generics )

Steven Rodeo
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 06, 2008
Posts: 72

HI folks,

the Collections class as documented below

has several methods that has a signature of type

the return types of the methods below all have <T> / <K,V> etc.. they are not the return type. What does it signify ?

Brandon DuRette
Smart Bear Support

Joined: Jul 06, 2009
Posts: 8
These are the methods' type parameter lists. The type parameter list declares the type variables used by the method, separate from the type variables used by the containing class. Practically speaking it is used to bind the types in the generic arguments to the types in the method's generic return type.

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Steven Rodeo
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 06, 2008
Posts: 72

sorry I can't comprehend your response. Please elaborate with examples if possible

Henry Wong

Joined: Sep 28, 2004
Posts: 20516

Here is the sun tutorial on the subject...


Books: Java Threads, 3rd Edition, Jini in a Nutshell, and Java Gems (contributor)
shivendra tripathi
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Joined: Aug 26, 2008
Posts: 263
To expain this I would like to use simple analogy
the difference between
public <T>void add(List<T> list){}
public void add(List list){}

above two is same as difference between defining generic and normal array list .

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

This type of method is know as generic method and T is know type parameter. This is mainly used to make method polymorphic. Now the question is, we can use wildcard (?) operator as well to make method polymorphic. Generic method declaration is preferred in the following scenarios.
1. where return type and argument type uses same type parameter or related.
2. if arguments of method has some dependency
e.g. public <T> void addList(List<T> list1, List<? extends T> list2){}

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I agree. Here's the link:
subject: Collections class ( Generics )
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