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Java - Basic Syntax


When we consider a Java program, it can be defined as a collection of objects that communicate via invoking each other's methods. Let us now briefly look into what do class, object, methods, and instance variables mean.

  • Object − Objects have states and behaviors. Example: A dog has states - color, name, breed as well as behavior such as wagging their tail, barking, eating. An object is an instance of a class.

  • Class − A class can be defined as a template/blueprint that describes the behavior/state that the object of its type supports.

  • Methods − A method is basically a behavior. A class can contain many methods. It is in methods where the logics are written, data is manipulated and all the actions are executed.

  • Instance Variables − Each object has its unique set of instance variables. An object's state is created by the values assigned to these instance variables.

First Java Program

Let us look at a simple code that will print the words Hello World.

Example

public class MyFirstJavaProgram {

   /* This is my first java program.
    * This will print 'Hello World' as the output
    */

   public static void main(String []args) {
      System.out.println("Hello World"); // prints Hello World
   }
}

Let's look at how to save the file, compile, and run the program. Please follow the subsequent steps −

  • Open notepad and add the code as above.

  • Save the file as: MyFirstJavaProgram.java.

  • Open a command prompt window and go to the directory where you saved the class. Assume it's C:\.

  • Type 'javac MyFirstJavaProgram.java' and press enter to compile your code. If there are no errors in your code, the command prompt will take you to the next line (Assumption : The path variable is set).

  • Now, type ' java MyFirstJavaProgram ' to run your program.

  • You will be able to see ' Hello World ' printed on the window.

Output

C:\> javac MyFirstJavaProgram.java
C:\> java MyFirstJavaProgram 
Hello World

Basic Syntax

About Java programs, it is very important to keep in mind the following points.

  • Case Sensitivity − Java is case sensitive, which means identifier Hello and hello would have different meaning in Java.

  • Class Names − For all class names the first letter should be in Upper Case. If several words are used to form a name of the class, each inner word's first letter should be in Upper Case.

    Example: class MyFirstJavaClass

  • Method Names − All method names should start with a Lower Case letter. If several words are used to form the name of the method, then each inner word's first letter should be in Upper Case.

    Example: public void myMethodName()

  • Program File Name − Name of the program file should exactly match the class name.

    When saving the file, you should save it using the class name (Remember Java is case sensitive) and append '.java' to the end of the name (if the file name and the class name do not match, your program will not compile).

    But please make a note that in case you do not have a public class present in the file then file name can be different than class name. It is also not mandatory to have a public class in the file.

    Example: Assume 'MyFirstJavaProgram' is the class name. Then the file should be saved as 'MyFirstJavaProgram.java'

  • public static void main(String args[]) − Java program processing starts from the main() method which is a mandatory part of every Java program.

Java Identifiers

All Java components require names. Names used for classes, variables, and methods are called identifiers.

In Java, there are several points to remember about identifiers. They are as follows −

  • All identifiers should begin with a letter (A to Z or a to z), currency character ($) or an underscore (_).

  • After the first character, identifiers can have any combination of characters.

  • A key word cannot be used as an identifier.

  • Most importantly, identifiers are case sensitive.

  • Examples of legal identifiers: age, $salary, _value, __1_value.

  • Examples of illegal identifiers: 123abc, -salary.

Java Modifiers

Like other languages, it is possible to modify classes, methods, etc., by using modifiers. There are two categories of modifiers −

  • Access Modifiers − default, public , protected, private

  • Non-access Modifiers − final, abstract, strictfp

We will be looking into more details about modifiers in the next section.

Java Variables

Following are the types of variables in Java −

  • Local Variables
  • Class Variables (Static Variables)
  • Instance Variables (Non-static Variables)

Java Arrays

Arrays are objects that store multiple variables of the same type. However, an array itself is an object on the heap. We will look into how to declare, construct, and initialize in the upcoming chapters.

Java Enums

Enums were introduced in Java 5.0. Enums restrict a variable to have one of only a few predefined values. The values in this enumerated list are called enums.

With the use of enums it is possible to reduce the number of bugs in your code.

For example, if we consider an application for a fresh juice shop, it would be possible to restrict the glass size to small, medium, and large. This would make sure that it would not allow anyone to order any size other than small, medium, or large.

Example

class FreshJuice {
   enum FreshJuiceSize{ SMALL, MEDIUM, LARGE }
   FreshJuiceSize size;
}

public class FreshJuiceTest {

   public static void main(String args[]) {
      FreshJuice juice = new FreshJuice();
      juice.size = FreshJuice.FreshJuiceSize.MEDIUM ;
      System.out.println("Size: " + juice.size);
   }
}

Output

Size: MEDIUM

Note − Enums can be declared as their own or inside a class. Methods, variables, constructors can be defined inside enums as well.

Java Keywords

The following list shows the reserved words in Java. These reserved words may not be used as constant or variable or any other identifier names.

Sr.No Reserved Words & Description
1 abstract

As per dictionary, abstraction is the quality of dealing with ideas rather than events.

2 assert

assert keyword is used in Java to define assertion. An assertion is a statement in Java which ensures the correctness of any assumptions which have been done in the program.

3 boolean

boolean datatype is one of the eight primitive datatype supported by Java. It provides means to create boolean type variables which can accept a boolean value as true or false.

4 break

The break statement in Java programming language has the following two usages −

  • When the break statement is encountered inside a loop, the loop is immediately terminated and the program control resumes at the next statement following the loop.

  • It can be used to terminate a case in the switch statement.

5 byte

byte datatype is one of the eight primitive datatype supported by Java. It provides means to create byte type variables which can accept a byte value.

6 case

case keyword is part of switch statement which allows a variable to be tested for equality against a list of values.

7 catch

An exception (or exceptional event) is a problem that arises during the execution of a program.

8 char

char datatype is one of the eight primitive datatype supported by Java.

9 class

Java is an Object-Oriented Language. As a language that has the Object-Oriented feature.

10 const

final keyword is used to define constant value or final methods/classes in Java.

11 continue

The continue keyword can be used in any of the loop control structures.

12 default

default keyword is part of switch statement which allows a variable to be tested for equality against a list of values.

13 do

A do...while loop is similar to a while loop, except that a do...while loop is guaranteed to execute at least one time.

14 double

double datatype is one of the eight primitive datatype supported by Java.

15 if

An if statement can be followed by an optional else statement, which executes when the Boolean expression is false.

16 enum

The Java Enum class is the common base class of all Java language enumeration types.

17 extends

extends is the keyword used to inherit the properties of a class. Following is the syntax of extends keyword.

18 final

final keyword is used to define constant value or final methods/classes in Java.

19 finally

finally keyword is used to define a finally block. The finally block follows a try block or a catch block. A finally block of code always executes, irrespective of occurrence of an Exception.

20 float

float datatype is one of the eight primitive datatype supported by Java. It provides means to create float type variables which can accept a float value.

21 for

A for loop is a repetition control structure that allows you to efficiently write a loop that needs to be executed a specific number of times.

22 goto

goto statement is not supported by Java currrenly. It is kept as a reserved keyword for future. As an alternative, Java supports labels with break and continue statement.

23 if

An if statement consists of a Boolean expression followed by one or more statements.

24 implements

Generally, the implements keyword is used with classes to inherit the properties of an interface.

25 import

import keyboard is used in context of packages.

26 instanceof

instanceof keyword is an operator which is used only for object reference variables.

27 int

int datatype is one of the eight primitive datatype supported by Java.

28 interface

An interface is a reference type in Java. It is similar to class. It is a collection of abstract methods.

29 long

long datatype is one of the eight primitive datatype supported by Java.

30 package

Packages are used in Java in order to prevent naming conflicts, to control access, to make searching/locating and usage of classes, interfaces, enumerations and annotations easier, etc.

31 private

Methods, variables, and constructors that are declared private can only be accessed within the declared class itself.

32 protected

The protected access modifier cannot be applied to class and interfaces.

33 public

A class, method, constructor, interface, etc. declared public can be accessed from any other class.

34 short

By assigning different data types to variables, you can store integers, decimals, or characters in these variables.

35 static

The static keyword is used to create variables that will exist independently of any instances created for the class.

36 super

The super keyword is similar to this keyword.

37 switch

A switch statement allows a variable to be tested for equality against a list of values.

38 this

this keyword is a very important keyword to identify an object. Following are the usage of this keyword.

39 throw

If a method does not handle a checked exception, the method must declare it using the throws keyword.

40 transient

Serialization is a concept using which we can write the state of an object into a byte stream so that we can transfer it over the network (using technologies like JPA and RMI).

41 try

A method catches an exception using a combination of the try and catch keywords.

42 while

A while loop statement in Java programming language repeatedly executes a target statement as long as a given condition is true.

Comments in Java

Java supports single-line and multi-line comments very similar to C and C++. All characters available inside any comment are ignored by Java compiler.

Example

public class MyFirstJavaProgram {

   /* This is my first java program.
    * This will print 'Hello World' as the output
    * This is an example of multi-line comments.
    */

   public static void main(String []args) {
      // This is an example of single line comment
      /* This is also an example of single line comment. */
      System.out.println("Hello World");
   }
}

Output

Hello World

Using Blank Lines

A line containing only white space, possibly with a comment, is known as a blank line, and Java totally ignores it.

Inheritance

In Java, classes can be derived from classes. Basically, if you need to create a new class and here is already a class that has some of the code you require, then it is possible to derive your new class from the already existing code.

This concept allows you to reuse the fields and methods of the existing class without having to rewrite the code in a new class. In this scenario, the existing class is called the superclass and the derived class is called the subclass.

Interfaces

In Java language, an interface can be defined as a contract between objects on how to communicate with each other. Interfaces play a vital role when it comes to the concept of inheritance.

An interface defines the methods, a deriving class (subclass) should use. But the implementation of the methods is totally up to the subclass.

What is Next?

The next section explains about Objects and classes in Java programming. At the end of the session, you will be able to get a clear picture as to what are objects and what are classes in Java.

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