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A Closer Look at Methods and Classes

Have you ever wanted to get an in-depth understanding of methods and classes in Java? Look no further. This article is excerpted from chapter 7 of Java: the Complete Reference, J2SE 5 Edition, written by Herbert Schildt (McGraw-Hill/Osborne, 2004; ISBN: 0072230738). 

Author Info:
By: McGraw-Hill/Osborne
Rating: 4 stars4 stars4 stars4 stars4 stars / 22
June 30, 2005
  1. · A Closer Look at Methods and Classes
  2. · Overloading Constructors
  3. · Using Objects as Parameters
  4. · A Closer Look at Argument Passing
  5. · Returning Objects
  6. · Recursion
  7. · Introducing Access Control
  8. · Understanding static
  9. · Introducing final
  10. · Introducing Nested and Inner Classes
  11. · Exploring the String Class
  12. · Using Command-Line Arguments

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A Closer Look at Methods and Classes - Returning Objects
(Page 5 of 12 )

A method can return any type of data, including class types that you create. For example, in the following program, the incrByTen( ) method returns an object in which the value of a is ten greater than it is in the invoking object.

// Returning an object.
class Test {
  int a;
Test(int i) {
    a = i;
Test incrByTen() {
    Test temp = new Test(a+10);
    return temp;
class RetOb {
public static void main(String args[]) {
    Test ob1 = new Test(2);
    Test ob2;
ob2 = ob1.incrByTen();
    System.out.println("ob1.a: " + ob1.a); 
    System.out.println("ob2.a: " + ob2.a);
ob2 = ob2.incrByTen();
    System.out.println("ob2.a after second increase: "
                        + ob2.a);

The output generated by this program is shown here:

ob1.a: 2
ob2.a: 12
ob2.a after second increase: 22

As you can see, each time incrByTen( ) is invoked, a new object is created, and a reference to it is returned to the calling routine.

The preceding program makes another important point: Since all objects are dynamically allocated using new, you donít need to worry about an object going out-of-scope because the method in which it was created terminates. The object will continue to exist as long as there is a reference to it somewhere in your program. When there are no references to it, the object will be reclaimed the next time garbage collection takes place.

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