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Array Reference assignment

Anup Om
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 30, 2009
Posts: 62
Considering Animal is the superclass of Dog

when I say

An array object is created. Its reference is assigned to a.
This array object can hold three references to Animal.

What is it when I say

Thanks in advance for help.

Maciej Drozdzowski
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 30, 2009
Posts: 40

an array object holding three references to Animal - so you can refer to them only by Animal reference, unless you do a cast. inside, it's 3 Dog objects.
a Dog object can also be referenced by an Animal reference, cause Dog-IS-A-Animal
Henry Wong

Joined: Sep 28, 2004
Posts: 20380

Anu Kota wrote:
What is it when I say

In Java, arrays have an hierarchy which mirrors the elements that they contain. Meaning a Dog array IS-A Animal array, since a Dog IS-A Animal. This is why you can assign a Dog array to an Animal array reference.

IMO, you should try to avoid this, because a dog array isn't really an animal array. For example, an animal array can hold cat objects too. If you try to assign a Cat element to the array referred to by reference b, the compiler will allow it, in this case (and yes, it will fail at runtime).


Books: Java Threads, 3rd Edition, Jini in a Nutshell, and Java Gems (contributor)
It is sorta covered in the JavaRanch Style Guide.
subject: Array Reference assignment
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