int bar = 1;
// creates a new scope
int bar = 2; // Compile-time error bar already defined!
Type Conversion and Casting
If you have previous programming experience, then you already know that it is fairly common
to assign a value of one type to a variable of another type. If the two types are compatible,
then Java will perform the conversion automatically. For example, it is always possible to
assign an int value to a long variable. However, not all types are compatible, and thus, not
all type conversions are implicitly allowed. For instance, there is no automatic conversion
defined from double to byte. Fortunately, it is still possible to obtain a conversion between
incompatible types. To do so, you must use a cast, which performs an explicit conversion
between incompatible types. Let's look at both automatic type conversions and casting.
Java's Automatic Conversions
When one type of data is assigned to another type of variable, an automatic type conversion
will take place if the following two conditions are met:
· The two types are compatible.
· The destination type is larger than the source type.
When these two conditions are met, a widening conversion takes place. For example, the
int type is always large enough to hold all valid byte values, so no explicit cast statement is
For widening conversions, the numeric types, including integer and floating-point types,
are compatible with each other. However, there are no automatic conversions from the
numeric types to char or boolean. Also, char and boolean are not compatible with each other.
As mentioned earlier, Java also performs an automatic type conversion when storing a
literal integer constant into variables of type byte, short, long, or char.
Casting Incompatible Types
Although the automatic type conversions are helpful, they will not fulfill all needs. For
example, what if you want to assign an int value to a byte variable? This conversion will not
be performed automatically, because a byte is smaller than an int. This kind of conversion is
sometimes called a narrowing conversion, since you are explicitly making the value narrower
so that it will fit into the target type.
To create a conversion between two incompatible types, you must use a cast. A cast is
simply an explicit type conversion. It has this general form:
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