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Java Collection Framework

Collection Framework provides an architecture to store and manipulate the group of objects.

All the operations that you perform on a data such as searching, sorting, insertion, deletion etc. can be performed by Java Collection Framework.

Collection simply means a single unit of objects. Collection framework provides many interfaces (Set, List, Queue, Deque etc.) and classes (ArrayList, Vector, LinkedList, PriorityQueue, HashSet, LinkedHashSet, TreeSet etc).

What is Collection?

Collection represents a single unit of objects i.e. a group.

What is framework?

  • provides readymade architecture.
  • represents set of classes and interface.
  • is optional.

Collection framework

Collection framework represents a unified architecture for storing and manipulating group of object. It has:

  1. Interfaces and its implementations i.e. classes
  2. Algorithm


Do You Know ?
  • What are the two ways to iterate the elements of a collection ?
  • What is the difference between ArrayList and LinkedList classes in collection framework ?
  • What is the difference between ArrayList and Vector classes in collection framework ?
  • What is the difference between HashSet and HashMap classes in collection framework ?
  • What is the difference between HashMap and Hashtable class ?
  • What is the difference between Iterator and Enumeration interface in collection framework ?
  • How can we sort the elements of an object. What is the difference between Comparable and Comparator interfaces ?
  • What does the hashcode() method ?

Hierarchy of Collection Framework

Let us see the hierarchy of collection framework.The java.util package contains all the classes and interfaces for Collection framework.

hierarchy of collection framework

Methods of Collection interface

There are many methods declared in the Collection interface. They are as follows:

No.MethodDescription
1public boolean add(Object element) is used to insert an element in this collection.
2public boolean addAll(collection c)is used to insert the specified collection elements in the invoking collection.
3public boolean remove(Object element)is used to delete an element from this collection.
4public boolean removeAll(Collection c)is used to delete all the elements of specified collection from the invoking collection.
5public boolean retainAll(Collection c)is used to delete all the elements of invoking collection except the specified collection.
6public int size()return the total number of elements in the collection.
7public void clear()removes the total no of element from the collection.
8public boolean contains(object element)is used to search an element.
9public boolean containsAll(Collection c)is used to search the specified collection in this collection.
10public Iterator iterator()returns an iterator.
11public Object[] toArray()converts collection into array.
12public boolean isEmpty()checks if collection is empty.
13public boolean equals(Object element)matches two collection.
14public int hashCode()returns the hashcode number for collection.

Iterator interface

Iterator interface provides the facility of iterating the elements in forward direction only.

Methods of Iterator interface

There are only three methods in the Iterator interface. They are:
  1. public boolean hasNext() it returns true if iterator has more elements.
  2. public object next() it returns the element and moves the cursor pointer to the next element.
  3. public void remove() it removes the last elements returned by the iterator. It is rarely used.
What we will learn in Collection Framework ?