What is Diamond operator in Java? How and When to use? - Example Tutorial

The Diamond operator is a relatively new operator in Java which was first introduced in JDK 7  to improve type inference and reduce boilerplate Java coding. It is denoted with a closed angle bracket that resembles the shape of a diamond (<>) and that's why it's called the Diamond operator. If used correctly it can reduce typing and boilerplate coding in Java and result in much cleaner and readable code especially when you use Generics.  

I regularly use the Diamond operator in Java while declaring and initializing objects involving multiple Generic types like Map which holds another Map and because of improved type inference, I only need to declare the type information on the left-hand side of declartion. It reduces my typing by half, hence result in a faster coding experience. 

Before Java 6, generic type inference was poor in Java. You need to declare type information on both the right and left-hand sides of the variable declaration. This makes code unnecessary complicated, and hard to read, especially when using nested types, like Map with Entry whose key is String and value is List of Integers


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Diamond Operator Example in Java

Here is how you can simplify code by using the diamond operator in Java; remember, this feature is only available from Java SE 7 release, so you can use it in JDK 7 and 8 but not in Java 6. If you want to improve type inference in Java 6, take advantage of static factory methods, as suggested by Joshua Bloch in his book Effective Java.






When to use Diamond Operator in Java

Here are some examples of using the Diamond operator in Java. These are the places where I found myself using diamond operator again and again. 

1. Reference variable Initialization

// without diamond operator
Map<String, Map<Long, Employ> = new HashMap<String, Map<Long, Employee>>();

// with diamond operator
Map<String, Map<Long, Employ> = new HashMap<>();


2. passing arguments to methods

public void print(Map<String, Map<Long, Employ> data){
     
   // code to print map content

}

when you call this method, you can use the Diamond operator as shown below

print ( new HashMap<>());




Advantages of using Diamond Operator

Here are some key advantages of using the Diamond operator in Java:

1. Less typing

2. Improved readability

3. Concise code

That's all about how to use the Diamond operator in Java. If you are writing Java 7, then it's always better to use the diamond operator; there is no reason not to use it. You can always save few keystrokes even if your type declaration is simple, but you will gain more in the case of complex and nested type declarations. You can also use the diamond operator while passing arguments to methods.

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Thanks for reading this article so far. If you like these Java Diamond operator tutorials and examples then please share them with your friends and colleagues. If you have any questions or feedback about this Java 8 tutorial then please drop a note.

P.S.: If you want to learn more about new core Java features like Diamond operator then please see these best Java 8 to Java 16 courses. It explains all important features of Java 8 like lambda expressions, streams, functional interface, Optionals, new date, and time API, and other miscellaneous changes.    

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