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Java Interview Questions and Answers


What are some alternatives to inheritance?
Delegation is an alternative to inheritance. Delegation means that you include an instance of another class as an instance variable, and forward messages to the instance. It is often safer than inheritance because it forces you to think about each message you forward, because the instance is of a known class, rather than a new class, and because it doesn't force you to accept all the methods of the super class: you can provide only the methods that really make sense. On the other hand, it makes you write more code, and it is harder to re-use (because it is not a subclass).

Why isn't there operator overloading?
Because C++ has proven by example that operator overloading makes code almost impossible to maintain. In fact there very nearly wasn't even method overloading in Java, but it was thought that this was too useful for some very basic methods like print(). Note that some of the classes like DataOutputStream have unoverloaded methods like writeInt() and writeByte().

What does it mean that a method or field is "static"?
Static variables and methods are instantiated only once per class. In other words they are class variables, not instance variables. If you change the value of a static variable in a particular object, the value of that variable changes for all instances of that class.
Static methods can be referenced with the name of the class rather than the name of a particular object of the class (though that works too). That's how library methods like System.out.println() work. out is a static field in the java.lang.System class.

Why do threads block on I/O?
Threads block on i/o (that is enters the waiting state) so that other threads may execute while the i/o Operation is performed.

What is synchronization and why is it important?
With respect to multithreading, synchronization is the capability to control the access of multiple threads to shared resources. Without synchronization, it is possible for one thread to modify a shared object while another thread is in the process of using or updating that object's value. This often leads to significant errors.

Is null a keyword?
The null value is not a keyword.

Which characters may be used as the second character of an identifier,but not as the first character of an identifier?
The digits 0 through 9 may not be used as the first character of an identifier but they may be used after the first character of an identifier.

What is the difference between notify() and notifyAll()?
notify() is used to unblock one waiting thread; notifyAll() is used to unblock all of them. Using notify() is preferable (for efficiency) when only one blocked thread can benefit from the change (for example, when freeing a buffer back into a pool). notifyAll() is necessary (for correctness) if multiple threads should resume (for example, when releasing a "writer" lock on a file might permit all "readers" to resume).

Why can't I say just abs() or sin() instead of Math.abs() and Math.sin()?
The import statement does not bring methods into your local name space. It lets you abbreviate class names, but not get rid of them altogether. That's just the way it works, you'll get used to it. It's really a lot safer this way.
However, there is actually a little trick you can use in some cases that gets you what you want. If your top-level class doesn't need to inherit from anything else, make it inherit from java.lang.Math. That *does* bring all the methods into your local name space. But you can't use this trick in an applet, because you have to inherit from java.awt.Applet. And actually, you can't use it on java.lang.Math at all, because Math is a "final" class which means it can't be extended.

Why are there no global variables in Java?
Global variables are considered bad form for a variety of reasons: Adding state variables breaks referential transparency (you no longer can understand a statement or expression on its own: you need to understand it in the context of the settings of the global variables).
State variables lessen the cohesion of a program: you need to know more to understand how something works. A major point of Object-Oriented programming is to break up global state into more easily understood collections of local state.
When you add one variable, you limit the use of your program to one instance. What you thought was global, someone else might think of as local: they may want to run two copies of your program at once.
For these reasons, Java decided to ban global variables.

What does it mean that a class or member is final?
A final class can no longer be subclassed. Mostly this is done for security reasons with basic classes like String and Integer. It also allows the compiler to make some optimizations, and makes thread safety a little easier to achieve. Methods may be declared final as well. This means they may not be overridden in a subclass.
Fields can be declared final, too. However, this has a completely different meaning. A final field cannot be changed after it's initialized, and it must include an initializer statement where it's declared. For example,
public final double c = 2.998;
It's also possible to make a static field final to get the effect of C++'s const statement or some uses of C's #define, e.g. public static final double c = 2.998;

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