Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Array vs ArrayList vs Vector vs LinkedList

An ArrayList is ordered collection (also known as a sequence). It means that the user of controls where each element is inserted. This class is very similar to the Vector class, excepting that it is not synchronized. It must be synchronized externally.
An ArrayList is better than Array to use when you have no knowledge in advance about elements number. ArrayList are slower than Arrays. So, if you need efficiency try to use Arrays if possible.
Short Overview on main features of ArrayList:

  • - The add operation runs O(n) time.
  • - The isEmpty, size, iterator, set, get and listIterator operations require the same amount of time, independently of element you access.
  • - Only Objects can be added to an ArrayList
  • - Implements all methods from the List interface
  • - Permits null elements
An ArrayList could be a good choice if you need very flexible Array type of collection with limited functionality.
One small remark for those who needs faster ArrayList. ArrayLists internally implemented as an Array. So when run an "add" command a new Array will be created with n+1 dimension. All "older" elements will be copied to first n elements and last n+1 one will filled with the value which you provide with add() method. To avoid that internal re-copying of Arrays you should use ensureCapacity(int requestCapacity) method - it will create an array only once.
If you have higher requirements on number of accessible methods for your Array like collection instead of ArrayList you have better choice - LinkedList.
LinkedList is much more flexible and lets you insert, add and remove elements from both sides of your collection - it can be used as queue and even double-ended queue!
Internally a LinkedList does not use arrays, it is much more modern! LinkedList is a sequence of nodes, which are double linked. Each node contains header, where actually objects are stored, and two links or pointers to next or previous node. A LinkedList looks like a chain, consisting of people who hold each other's hand. You can insert people or node into that chain or remove. Linked lists permit node insert/remove operation at any point in the list in constant time.
LinkedList is actually luxury extension of an ArrayList: it gives you many methods which you usually implement yourself around of different type of collections.
For example if you need to add new element to the end of an ArrayList you have to look at the size of the collection and then add that new element at n+1 place. In LinkedList you do it directly by addLast(E e) method.
Another example. Depending on your expectations you can chose either getFirst/getLast or  peekFirst/peekLast methods. Last "peek" methods are completelly new sort of methods and introduced in Java 1.6.
They slightly differs from set/get methods - they do not throw any kind of exceptions if this list is empty, return just null.
New "poll" methods - pollFirst and pollLast combine two methods: get and remove an element from your collection. For example pollFirst() method gets and removes the first element from this list. This method does throw any kind of exception like IndexOutOfBoundsException in case of ArrayList, instead it just returns null (if this list is empty).
Because the LinkedList implements queue interface you can pop and push new elements from/into your collection.
If you created capacity restricted collection you can "examine" the result of an operation by using offerFirst/offerLast methods. They are also new (since Java 1.6) and return boolean result on the operations instead of throwing IllegalStateException as addFirst/addLast methods do. In case if possible to insert an element at the beginning/end of collection you you get "true" result.

Vector is similar to ArrayList with the difference that it is synchronized. It offers some other benefits like it has an initial capacity and an incremental capacity. So if your vector has a capacity of 10 and incremental capacity of 10, then when you are adding the 11th element a new Vector would be created with 20 elements and the 11 elements would be copied to the new Vector. So addition of 12th to 20th elements would not require creation of new vector

HashTable vs HashMap vs HashSet

Hashtable is basically a datastructure to retain values of key-value pair.

  • It didn’t allow null for both key and value. You will get NullPointerException if you add null value.
  • It is synchronized. So it comes with its cost. Only one thread can access in one time

Like Hashtable it also accepts key value pair.
  • It allows null for both key and value
  • It is unsynchronized. So come up with better performance

HashSet does not allow duplicate values. It provides add method rather put method. You also use its contain method to check whether the object is already available in HashSet. HashSet can be used where you want to maintain a unique list.

Collections vs Collection

Collection is the root interface in collection hierarchy,groups multiple elements into a single unit, it allows duplicate & non-duplicate elements  which may be ordered or unordered.
Collections is a class which extends Object class & it consists exclusively static methods .It is a member of Java Collections Framework.Collections are used to store,retrieve, manipulate, and communicate aggregate data

Collection is the interface. which can be implemented List,set,Queue.This interface contain only instance methods.
Collections is the class .This class contain utility methods such as all algorithm oriented methods.This class contain only static methods.


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