Monday, 19 June 2017

Other Modifiers for Members in Java

Other Modifiers for Members in Java

Certain characteristics of fields and/or methods can be specified in their declarations by the following keywords:

static Members: The declaration of static members is prefixed by the keyword static to distinguish them from instance members.
Static variables (also called class variables) only exist in the class they are defined in. They are not instantiated when an instance of the class is created. In other words, the values of these variables are not a part of the state of any object.
Static methods are also known as class methods. A static method in a class can directly access other static members in the class. It cannot access instance (i.e., non-static) members of the class, as there is no notion of an object associated with a static method.

final Members: A final variable is a constant, despite being called a variable. Its value cannot be changed once it has been initialized. This applies to instance, static and local variables, including parameters that are declared final.
A final variable of a primitive data type cannot change its value once it has been initialized.
A final variable of a reference type cannot change its reference value once it has been initialized, but the state of the object it denotes can still be changed.
A final method in a class is complete (i.e., has an implementation) and cannot be overridden in any subclass. Subclasses are then restricted in changing the behavior of the method.

abstract Methods: An abstract method does not have an implementation; that is, no method body is defined for an abstract method, only the method prototype is provided in the class definition. Its class is then abstract (i.e., incomplete) and must be explicitly declared as such. Subclasses of an abstract class must then provide the method implementation; otherwise, they are also abstract.

synchronized Methods: Several threads can be executing in a program. They might try to execute several methods on the same object simultaneously. If it is desired that only one thread at a time can execute a method in the object, the methods can be declared synchronized. Their execution is then mutually exclusive among all threads. At any given time, at the most one thread can be executing a synchronized method on an object. This discussion also applies to static synchronized methods of a class.

native Methods:Native methods are also called foreign methods. Their implementation is not defined in Java but in another programming language, for example, C or C++. Such a method can be declared as a member in a Java class definition. Since its implementation appears elsewhere, only the method prototype is specified in the class definition. The method prototype is prefixed with the keyword native. 

transient Fields: Objects can be stored using serialization. Serialization transforms objects into an output format that is conducive for storing objects. Objects can later be retrieved in the same state as when they were serialized, meaning that all fields included in the serialization will have the same values as at the time of serialization. Such objects are said to be persistent.
A field can be specified as transient in the class declaration, indicating that its value should not be saved when objects of the class are written to persistent storage.

volatile Fields: During execution, compiled code might cache the values of fields for efficiency reasons. Since multiple threads can access the same field, it is vital that caching is not allowed to cause inconsistencies when reading and writing the value in the field. The volatile modifier can be used to inform the compiler that it should not attempt to perform optimizations on the field, which could cause unpredictable results when the field is accessed by multiple threads.

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