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Vector Class In Java: Java Explained

Table of Contents

The Vector class is a powerful collection class from the Java programming language that provides a dynamic array that can be used to store and manipulate data. A vector is similar to an array but has extra abilities such as dynamically growing and shrinking in size when needed. The Vector class is part of the Java Collection Framework, which provides a unified data structure for managing collections of objects. In this article, we will cover what a Vector is and how to work with it, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of using this class.

What Is The Vector Class?

The Vector class is a data structure that provides an array-like structure in which data can be stored and retrieved. It is similar to an array but with the difference that a Vector can dynamically resize itself as and when required. The Vector class provides methods to access, add, remove and search elements, as well as methods to iterate or sort its elements. It also provides methods to modify its elements.

The Vector class is a powerful tool for managing data in a program. It is often used in situations where the size of the data set is unknown or may change over time. It is also useful for storing data that needs to be accessed in a specific order, such as a list of names or a list of numbers. The Vector class is an important part of many programming languages, and is often used in conjunction with other data structures such as stacks and queues.

How To Create And Initialize A Vector

A Vector can be created and initialized in three different ways. The first way is to simply declare the Vector variable:

Vector vector;

The second way is to create a Vector with an initial capacity. This is the maximum number of elements that the vector can hold before it needs to expand:

Vector vector = new Vector(10);

The third way is to create a Vector with an initial capacity and a capacity increment. The capacity increment is the number of items the vector will grow by when it needs to expand:

Vector vector = new Vector(10, 5);

It is important to note that the capacity increment is optional. If it is not specified, the vector will double its capacity each time it needs to expand.

Accessing Vector Elements

You can access the elements of a Vector using the get() method. This method takes an int as an argument and will return the element at that position in the Vector. You can also access the first element of a Vector using the firstElement() method and the last element of a Vector using the lastElement() method.

Object obj = vector.get(int);  Object obj2 = vector.firstElement();  Object obj3 = vector.lastElement();

You can also use the set() method to modify the elements of a Vector. This method takes two arguments, an int and an Object, and will set the element at the given position to the given Object. Additionally, you can use the add() method to add an element to the end of a Vector. This method takes an Object as an argument and will add it to the end of the Vector.

vector.set(int, Object);  vector.add(Object);

Adding Elements To A Vector

To add elements to a Vector, you can use the addElement() method. This method takes an object as an argument and adds it to the end of the Vector. If the Vector has reached its initial capacity, it will expand automatically and create space for new elements.

vector.addElement(Object);

It is important to note that the addElement() method does not return a value. If you need to check if the element was successfully added, you can use the contains() method to check if the Vector contains the element you added.

vector.contains(Object);

Removing Elements From A Vector

You can remove elements from a Vector using the removeElement() method or removeElementAt() method. The removeElement() method takes an object as an argument and removes it from the Vector if it is present. The removeElementAt() method takes an int as an argument and removes the element at that position if present.

vector.removeElement(Object);  vector.removeElementAt(int);

It is important to note that the removeElement() method will remove all occurrences of the specified element from the Vector, while the removeElementAt() method will only remove the element at the specified index. Additionally, the removeElementAt() method will shift all elements after the specified index down one position.

Iterating Through A Vector

To iterate through a Vector, you can use the iterator() method, which returns an Iterator object for the Vector which can then be used to loop through the elements. You can also use the for-each statement to loop through the elements of a Vector.

Iterator iterator = vector.iterator();  for (Object element : vector) {      // do something  }

When using the iterator() method, you can use the hasNext() and next() methods to check if there are more elements in the Vector and to get the next element respectively. You can also use the remove() method to remove the current element from the Vector.

Sorting A Vector

To sort a Vector, you can use the sort() method, which takes a Comparator object as an argument. A Comparator object is responsible for comparing two objects for sorting purposes. You can also use the Collections sort() method, which takes a list and a Comparator object as arguments.

vector.sort(Comparator);  Collections.sort(List, Comparator);

When sorting a Vector, it is important to note that the sort() method is not guaranteed to be stable. This means that the relative order of elements that are equal may not be preserved. If you need to ensure that the relative order of elements is preserved, you can use the stableSort() method instead.

Searching In A Vector

To search in a Vector, you can use either of two methods: indexOf() or contains(). The indexOf() method takes an object as an argument and returns its position in the Vector if it is present, or -1 otherwise. The contains() method takes an object as an argument and returns true if it is present in the Vector, false otherwise.

int index = vector.indexOf(Object);  boolean contains = vector.contains(Object);

Modifying Vector Elements

You can modify the elements of a Vector using the set() method, which takes two arguments: an int for the location of the element to be modified, and an object for the value to which it should be modified.

vector.set(int, Object);

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Using The Vector Class

The Vector class has some advantages over other data structures such as arrays: it allows for dynamic sizing which helps free up memory resources when needed, and it also provides useful methods for accessing, adding and removing elements which make working with data easier. One of its main disadvantages is that because it is a dynamic data structure, it requires more memory than fixed-size structures such as arrays or linked lists.

Conclusion

The Vector class is a powerful collection class provided by the Java programming language which provides a dynamic array structure with useful methods for accessing and manipulating data. Even though it has some advantages over other data structures, its main disadvantage is its increased memory consumption due to its dynamic size. Knowing when and how to use this class effectively can make programming easier and more efficient.

Nisha Kumari

Nisha Kumari

Nisha Kumari, a Founding Engineer at Bito, brings a comprehensive background in software engineering, specializing in Java/J2EE, PHP, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and web development. Her career highlights include significant roles at Accenture, where she led end-to-end project deliveries and application maintenance, and at PubMatic, where she honed her skills in online advertising and optimization. Nisha's expertise spans across SAP HANA development, project management, and technical specification, making her a versatile and skilled contributor to the tech industry.

Written by developers for developers

This article was handcrafted with by the Bito team.

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