Thursday, June 20, 2024

Sorting Java objects with Comparable and Comparator

Programmers regularly must kind parts from a database into a group, array, or map. In Java, we will implement no matter sorting algorithm we would like with any kind.

Utilizing the Comparable interface and compareTo() methodology, we will kind utilizing alphabetical order, String size, reverse alphabetical order, or numbers. The Comparator interface permits us to do the identical however in a extra versatile means.

No matter we need to do, we simply must know tips on how to implement the right kind logic for the given interface and kind.

Sorting with Java’s Comparable and Comparator interfaces

Here is what you will study on this article about sorting Java objects:

  • Sorting with Comparable:
    • Sorting a Java Checklist
    • How Java’s compareTo() works
    • Find out how to kind arrays in Java
    • Sorting a Java Map with TreeMap
    • Sorting a Java Set with TreeSet
    • Find out how to keep away from ClassCastExceptions when sorting
    • Utilizing Comparable with the core Java lessons
  • Sorting with Comparator:
    • Utilizing Comparator with nameless internal lessons
    • Utilizing Comparator with lambda expressions

Sorting with Comparable

We’ll begin with tips on how to kind utilizing Java’s Comparable interface. We use Comparable when there’s a single, default comparability for the article we would like sorted.

Sorting a Java Checklist

On this first instance, we implement Comparable in a Simpson class, utilizing Simpson within the generic kind:

class Simpson implements Comparable<Simpson> {
    String title;

    Simpson(String title) {
        this.title = title;

    public int compareTo(Simpson simpson) {
        return this.title.compareTo(simpson.title);

public class SimpsonSorting {

     public static void major(String... sortingWithList) {
        Checklist<SimpsonCharacter> simpsons = new ArrayList<>();
        simpsons.add(new SimpsonCharacter("Homer "));
        simpsons.add(new SimpsonCharacter("Marge "));
        simpsons.add(new SimpsonCharacter("Bart "));
        simpsons.add(new SimpsonCharacter("Lisa "));

        Collections.kind(simpsons); -> s.title).forEach(System.out::print);



Be aware that we’ve overridden the compareTo() methodology and handed in one other Simpson object. We’ve additionally overridden the toString() methodology, simply to make the instance simpler to learn.

How Java’s compareTo() works

The compareTo() methodology compares a given object or the present occasion with a specified object to find out the order of objects. Right here’s a fast have a look at how compareTo() works.

We will solely use lessons which are comparable with the kind() methodology. If we attempt to go a Simpson that doesn’t implement Comparable, we’ll obtain a compilation error.

The kind() methodology makes use of polymorphism by passing any object that’s Comparable. Objects will then be sorted as anticipated.

The output from the earlier code can be:

Bart Homer Lisa Marge 

If we wished to reverse the order, we might alternate the kind() for a reverse(); from:




Deploying the reverse() methodology would change the earlier output to:

Marge Lisa Homer Bart 

Find out how to kind a Java array

In Java, we will kind an array with any kind we would like so long as it implements the Comparable interface. Right here’s an instance:

public class ArraySorting {

    public static void major(String... moeTavern) {
        int[] moesPints = new int[] {9, 8, 7, 6, 1};


        Simpson[] simpsons = new Simpson[]{new Simpson("Lisa"), new Simpson("Homer")};


Within the first kind() invocation, the array is sorted to:

1 6 7 8 9

Within the second kind() invocation, it’s sorted to:

Homer Lisa

Take into account that customized objects should implement Comparable to be sorted, at the same time as an array.

Find out how to keep away from ClassCastExceptions when sorting Java objects

If the Simpson object wasn’t implementing Comparable, a ClassCastException can be thrown. For those who run this as a check, you will note one thing like the next output:

Error:(16, 20) java: no appropriate methodology discovered for kind(java.util.Checklist<com.javaworld.javachallengers.sortingcomparable.Simpson>)
    methodology java.util.Collections.<T>kind(java.util.Checklist<T>) isn't relevant
      (inference variable T has incompatible bounds
        equality constraints: com.javaworld.javachallengers.sortingcomparable.Simpson
        decrease bounds: java.lang.Comparable<? tremendous T>)
    methodology java.util.Collections.<T>kind(java.util.Checklist<T>,java.util.Comparator<? tremendous T>) isn't relevant
      (can't infer type-variable(s) T
        (precise and formal argument lists differ in size))

This log could also be complicated however don’t fear. Simply needless to say a ClassCastException shall be thrown for any sorted object that doesn’t implement the Comparable interface.

Sorting a Map with TreeMap

The Java API contains many lessons to help with sorting, together with TreeMap. Within the instance beneath, we use TreeMap to kind keys right into a Map.

public class TreeMapExample {

    public static void major(String... barney) {
        Map<SimpsonCharacter, String> simpsonsCharacters = new TreeMap<>();
        simpsonsCharacters.put(new SimpsonCharacter("Moe"), "shotgun");
        simpsonsCharacters.put(new SimpsonCharacter("Lenny"), "Carl");
        simpsonsCharacters.put(new SimpsonCharacter("Homer"), "tv");
        simpsonsCharacters.put(new SimpsonCharacter("Barney"), "beer");


TreeMap makes use of the compareTo() methodology applied by the Comparable interface. Every component within the ensuing Map is sorted by its key. On this case, the output can be:

Barney=beer, Homer=tv, Lenny=Carl, Moe=shotgun

Bear in mind, although: if the article doesn’t implement Comparable, you’re going to get a ClassCastException.

Sorting a Set with TreeSet

The Set interface is accountable for storing distinctive values, however after we use the TreeSet implementation, inserted parts shall be mechanically sorted as we add them:

public class TreeSetExample {

    public static void major(String... barney) {
        Set<SimpsonCharacter> simpsonsCharacters = new TreeSet<>();
        simpsonsCharacters.add(new SimpsonCharacter("Moe"));
        simpsonsCharacters.add(new SimpsonCharacter("Lenny"));
        simpsonsCharacters.add(new SimpsonCharacter("Homer"));
        simpsonsCharacters.add(new SimpsonCharacter("Barney"));


The output from this code is:

Barney, Homer, Lenny, Moe

Once more, if we use an object that isn’t Comparable, we’ll get a ClassCastException.

Up subsequent: Utilizing Comparable with the core Java lessons

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Stay Connected

- Advertisement -spot_img

Latest Articles