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Default values


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It's not always necessary to assign a value when a field is declared. Fields that are declared but not initialized will be set to a reasonable default by the compiler. Generally speaking, this default will be zero or null, depending on the data type. Relying on such default values, however, is generally considered bad programming style.

The following chart summarizes the default values for the above data types.

Data TypeDefault Value (for fields)
byte0
short0
int0
long0L
float0.0f
double0.0d
char'\u0000'
String (or any object)  null
booleanfalse

Local variables are slightly different; the compiler never assigns a default value to an uninitialized local variable. If you cannot initialize your local variable where it is declared, make sure to assign it a value before you attempt to use it. Accessing an uninitialized local variable will result in a compile-time error.

Literals

You may have noticed that the new keyword isn't used when initializing a variable of a primitive type. Primitive types are special data types built into the language; they are not objects created from a class. A literal is the source code representation of a fixed value; literals are represented directly in your code without requiring computation. As shown below, it's possible to assign a literal to a variable of a primitive type:

boolean result = true;
char capitalC = 'C';
byte b = 100;
short s = 10000;
int i = 100000;

Integer Literals

An integer literal is of type long if it ends with the letter L or l; otherwise it is of type int. It is recommended that you use the upper case letter L because the lower case letter l is hard to distinguish from the digit 1.

Values of the integral types byteshortint, and long can be created from int literals. Values of type long that exceed the range of int can be created from long literals. Integer literals can be expressed by these number systems:

  • Decimal: Base 10, whose digits consists of the numbers 0 through 9; this is the number system you use every day
  • Hexadecimal: Base 16, whose digits consist of the numbers 0 through 9 and the letters A through F
  • Binary: Base 2, whose digits consists of the numbers 0 and 1 (you can create binary literals in Java SE 7 and later)

For general-purpose programming, the decimal system is likely to be the only number system you'll ever use. However, if you need to use another number system, the following example shows the correct syntax. The prefix 0x indicates hexadecimal and 0b indicates binary:

// The number 26, in decimal
int decVal = 26;
//  The number 26, in hexadecimal
int hexVal = 0x1a;
// The number 26, in binary
int binVal = 0b11010;

Floating-Point Literals

A floating-point literal is of type float if it ends with the letter F or f; otherwise its type is double and it can optionally end with the letter D or d.

The floating point types (float and double) can also be expressed using E or e (for scientific notation), F or f (32-bit float literal) and D or d (64-bit double literal; this is the default and by convention is omitted).

double d1 = 123.4;
// same value as d1, but in scientific notation
double d2 = 1.234e2;
float f1  = 123.4f;

Character and String Literals

Literals of types char and String may contain any Unicode (UTF-16) characters. If your editor and file system allow it, you can use such characters directly in your code. If not, you can use a "Unicode escape" such as '\u0108' (capital C with circumflex), or "S\u00ED Se\u00F1or" (Sí Señor in Spanish). Always use 'single quotes' for char literals and "double quotes" for String literals. Unicode escape sequences may be used elsewhere in a program (such as in field names, for example), not just in char or String literals.

The Java programming language also supports a few special escape sequences for char and String literals: \b (backspace), \t (tab), \n (line feed), \f (form feed), \r (carriage return), \" (double quote), \' (single quote), and \\ (backslash).

There's also a special null literal that can be used as a value for any reference type. null may be assigned to any variable, except variables of primitive types. There's little you can do with a null value beyond testing for its presence. Therefore, null is often used in programs as a marker to indicate that some object is unavailable.

Finally, there's also a special kind of literal called a class literal, formed by taking a type name and appending ".class"; for example, String.class. This refers to the object (of type Class) that represents the type itself.

Using Underscore Characters in Numeric Literals

In Java SE 7 and later, any number of underscore characters (_) can appear anywhere between digits in a numerical literal. This feature enables you, for example. to separate groups of digits in numeric literals, which can improve the readability of your code.

For instance, if your code contains numbers with many digits, you can use an underscore character to separate digits in groups of three, similar to how you would use a punctuation mark like a comma, or a space, as a separator.

The following example shows other ways you can use the underscore in numeric literals:

long creditCardNumber = 1234_5678_9012_3456L;
long socialSecurityNumber = 999_99_9999L;
float pi =  3.14_15F;
long hexBytes = 0xFF_EC_DE_5E;
long hexWords = 0xCAFE_BABE;
long maxLong = 0x7fff_ffff_ffff_ffffL;
byte nybbles = 0b0010_0101;
long bytes = 0b11010010_01101001_10010100_10010010;

You can place underscores only between digits; you cannot place underscores in the following places:

  • At the beginning or end of a number
  • Adjacent to a decimal point in a floating point literal
  • Prior to an F or L suffix
  • In positions where a string of digits is expected

The following examples demonstrate valid and invalid underscore placements (which are highlighted) in numeric literals:

// Invalid: cannot put underscores
// adjacent to a decimal point
float pi1 = 3_.1415F;
// Invalid: cannot put underscores 
// adjacent to a decimal point
float pi2 = 3._1415F;
// Invalid: cannot put underscores 
// prior to an L suffix
long socialSecurityNumber1 = 999_99_9999_L;

// OK (decimal literal)
int x1 = 5_2;
// Invalid: cannot put underscores
// At the end of a literal
int x2 = 52_;
// OK (decimal literal)
int x3 = 5_______2;

// Invalid: cannot put underscores
// in the 0x radix prefix
int x4 = 0_x52;
// Invalid: cannot put underscores
// at the beginning of a number
int x5 = 0x_52;
// OK (hexadecimal literal)
int x6 = 0x5_2; 
// Invalid: cannot put underscores
// at the end of a number
int x7 = 0x52_;

Good Explaination

By Jayden Bell on   one year ago
Very good Explanation...keep it up !!

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