Java Reference
In-Depth Information
The local class MyIntHolder is sometimes called a closure . In
more general Java terms, a closure is an object that saves the
state of a scope and makes that scope available later.
Closures are useful in some styles of programming, and different programming lan‐
guages define and implement closures in different ways. Java implements closures as
local classes, anonymous classes, and lambda expressions.
Anonymous Classes
An anonymous class is a local class without a name. It is defined and instantiated in
a single succinct expression using the new operator. While a local class definition is a
statement in a block of Java code, an anonymous class definition is an expression,
which means that it can be included as part of a larger expression, such as a method
For the sake of completeness, we cover anonymous classes
here, but for most use cases in Java 8 and later, lambda expres‐
sions (see “Conclusion” on page 174 ) have replaced anony‐
mous classes.
Consider Example 4-5 , which shows the LinkedIterator class implemented as an
anonymous class within the iterator() method of the LinkedStack class. Compare
it with Example 4-4 , which shows the same class implemented as a local class.
Example 4-5. An enumeration implemented with an anonymous class
public Iterator < Linkable > iterator () {
// The anonymous class is defined as part of the return statement
return new Iterator < Linkable >() {
Linkable current ;
// Replace constructor with an instance initializer
{ current = head ; }
// The following 3 methods are defined by the Iterator interface
public boolean hasNext () { return current != null ; }
public Linkable next () {
if ( current == null )
throw new java . util . NoSuchElementException ();
Linkable value = current ;
current = current . getNext ();
return value ;
public void remove () { throw new UnsupportedOperationException (); }
}; // Note the required semicolon. It terminates the return statement
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