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compare between type of two objects

Posted on 2002-05-29
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Last Modified: 2010-03-31
I want to compare between type of two objects:
Which method is better and why?

class MyClass
{
  boolean equals(Object obj)
  {
    return (obj instanceof MyClass);
  }
//or:
  boolean equals(Object obj)
  {
    return (obj.getClass().equals(this.getClass()))
  }
}
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Question by:s_lavie
5 Comments
 
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Jim Cakalic earned 200 total points
ID: 7042344
I would go with instanceof. 1) It is substantially faster -- 5x faster on JDK 1.3 -- as it is evaluated entirely within the interpreter as opposed to the getClass method which requires three additional method calls. 2) The instanceof operator inherently deals with null references whereas you would have to do an explicit null check on the supplied argument to avoid throwing NullPointerException using getClass.

Jim
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Expert Comment

by:CEHJ
ID: 7042362
The former - it produces fewer instructions.
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Expert Comment

by:Igor Bazarny
ID: 7044597
Hi,

Method to choose depends on what you want to achieve. Fist method will return true if obj's class is subclass of MyClass, while second checks for precise class equality.

I'm afraid there is no way to check for class equality using instanceof operator. But if you want comparison to return true for subclasses, than instanceof is a good choice.

You might want to consider another subclassing issue. If you make subclass of MyClass, what your equals() would mean? Would you like to rewrite equals() for each subclass? Or rewrite your first approach to reflection:

boolean equals(Object obj)
 {
   return getClass().isInstance(obj);
 }

Or choose second approach?

Regards,
Igor Bazarny,
Brainbench MVP for Java 1

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by:girionis
ID: 8813228
No comment has been added lately, so it's time to clean up this TA.

I will leave a recommendation in the Cleanup topic area that this question is:

- points to jim_cakalic@idg

Please leave any comments here within the
next seven days.

PLEASE DO NOT ACCEPT THIS COMMENT AS AN ANSWER !

girionis
Cleanup Volunteer
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Expert Comment

by:Jim Cakalic
ID: 8813727
OK. Thanks. :-)
Jim
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