1. Lesson: Language Basics
  2. Variables
    1. Naming
    2. Primitive Data Types
    3. Default Values
    4. Literals
    5. Using Underscore Characters in Numeric Literals
    6. Arrays
    7. Declaring a Variable to Refer to an Array
    8. Creating, Initializing, and Accessing an Array
    9. Copying Arrays
    10. Summary of Variables
    11. Questions and Exercises: Variables
  3. Expressions, Statements, and Blocks
    1. Expressions
    2. Statements
    3. Blocks
    4. Questions and Exercises: Expressions, Statements, and Blocks
  4. Control Flow Statements
    1. The if-then Statement
    2. The if-then-else Statement
    3. The switch Statement
    4. Using Strings in switch Statements
    5. The while and do-while Statements
    6. The for Statement
    7. The break Statement
    8. The continue Statement
    9. The return Statement
    10. Summary of Control Flow Statements
    11. Questions and Exercises: Control Flow Statements
  5. Lesson: Classes and Objects
    1. Classes
    2. Declaring Classes
    3. Declaring Member Variables
    4. Access Modifiers
    5. Types
    6. Variable Names
    7. Defining Methods
    8. Naming a Method
    9. Overloading Methods
    10. Providing Constructors for Your Classes
    11. Passing Information to a Method or a Constructor
    12. Parameter Types
    13. Arbitrary Number of Arguments
    14. Parameter Names
    15. Passing Primitive Data Type Arguments
    16. Passing Reference Data Type Arguments
    17. Objects
    18. Creating Objects
    19. Declaring a Variable to Refer to an Object
    20. Instantiating a Class
    21. Initializing an Object
    22. Using Objects
    23. Referencing an Object's Fields
    24. Calling an Object's Methods
    25. The Garbage Collector
    26. More on Classes
    27. Returning a Value from a Method
    28. Returning a Class or Interface
    29. Using the this Keyword
    30. Using this with a Field
    31. Using this with a Constructor
    32. Controlling Access to Members of a Class
    33. Understanding Instance and Class Members
    34. Class Variables
    35. Class Methods
    36. Constants
    37. The Bicycle Class
    38. Initializing Fields
    39. Static Initialization Blocks
    40. Initializing Instance Members
    41. Summary of Creating and Using Classes and Objects
    42. Questions and Exercises: Classes
    43. Questions and Exercises: Objects
  6. Nested Classes
    1. Why Use Nested Classes?
    2. Static Nested Classes
    3. Inner Classes
    4. Inner Class Example
    5. Local and Anonymous Inner Classes
    6. Modifiers
    7. Summary of Nested Classes
    8. Questions and Exercises: Nested Classes
  7. Enum Types
    1. Questions and Exercises: Enum Types
  8. Annotations
    1. Documentation
    2. Annotations Used by the Compiler
    3. Annotation Processing
    4. Questions and Exercises: Annotations
  9. Lesson: Interfaces and Inheritance
    1. Interfaces
    2. Interfaces in Java
    3. Interfaces as APIs
    4. Interfaces and Multiple Inheritance
    5. Defining an Interface
    6. The Interface Body
    7. Implementing an Interface
    8. A Sample Interface, Relatable
    9. Implementing the Relatable Interface

2.2.Primitive Data Types

The Java programming language is statically-typed, which means that all variables must first be declared before they can be used. This involves stating the variable’s type and name, as you’ve already seen:

int gear = 1;

Doing so tells your program that a field named “gear” exists, holds numerical data, and has an initial value of “1”. A variable’s data type determines the values it may contain, plus the operations that may be performed on it. In addition to int, the Java programming language supports seven other primitive data types. A primitive type is predefined by the language and is named by a reserved keyword. Primitive values do not share state with other primitive values. The eight primitive data types supported by the Java programming language are:

  • byte: The byte data type is an 8-bit signed two’s complement integer. It has a minimum value of -128 and a maximum value of 127 (inclusive). The byte data type can be useful for saving memory in large arrays, where the memory savings actually matters. They can also be used in place of int where their limits help to clarify your code; the fact that a variable’s range is limited can serve as a form of documentation.
  • short: The short data type is a 16-bit signed two’s complement integer. It has a minimum value of -32,768 and a maximum value of 32,767 (inclusive). As with byte, the same guidelines apply: you can use a short to save memory in large arrays, in situations where the memory savings actually matters.
  • int: The int data type is a 32-bit signed two’s complement integer. It has a minimum value of -2,147,483,648 and a maximum value of 2,147,483,647 (inclusive). For integral values, this data type is generally the default choice unless there is a reason (like the above) to choose something else. This data type will most likely be large enough for the numbers your program will use, but if you need a wider range of values, use long
  • long: The long data type is a 64-bit signed two’s complement integer. It has a minimum value of -9,223,372,036,854,775,808 and a maximum value of 9,223,372,036,854,775,807 (inclusive). Use this data type when you need a range of values wider than those provided by int.
  • float: The float data type is a single-precision 32-bit IEEE 754 floating point. Its range of values is beyond the scope of this discussion, but is specified in section 4.2.3 of the Java Language Specification. As with the recommendations for byte and short, use a float (instead of double) if you need to save memory in large arrays of floating point numbers. This data type should never be used for precise values, such as currency. For that, you will need to use the java.math.BigDecimal class instead. Numbers and Strings covers BigDecimal and other useful classes provided by the Java platform.
  • double: The double data type is a double-precision 64-bit IEEE 754 floating point. Its range of values is beyond the scope of this discussion, but is specified in section 4.2.3 of the Java Language Specification. For decimal values, this data type is generally the default choice. As mentioned above, this data type should never be used for precise values, such as currency.
  • boolean: The boolean data type has only two possible values: true and false. Use this data type for simple flags that track true/false conditions. This data type represents one bit of information, but its “size” isn’t something that’s precisely defined.
  • char: The char data type is a single 16-bit Unicode character. It has a minimum value of ‘u0000’ (or 0) and a maximum value of ‘uffff’ (or 65,535 inclusive).

In addition to the eight primitive data types listed above, the Java programming language also provides special support for character strings via the java.lang.String class. Enclosing your character string within double quotes will automatically create a new String object; for example, String s = “this is a string”;. String objects are immutable, which means that once created, their values cannot be changed. The String class is not technically a primitive data type, but considering the special support given to it by the language, you’ll probably tend to think of it as such. You’ll learn more about the String class in Simple Data Objects.

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