generics - Computer Science 211 Data Structures Mount...

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Computer Science 211 Data Structures Mount Holyoke College Fall 2009 Topic Notes: Generics We saw in our examples using Vector s that the items stored within our Vector s are treated as instances of class Object . This is quite convenient in that we can store whatever type of objects we wish, and until version 1.4 of the Java Development Kit, this was the preferred approach. This approach does have a few disadvantages: 1. When we retrieve an item from our Vector , we need to use a cast before we can treat it as an instance of its own specific type. 2. If we make a programming error and mistakenly place an object of one type into the Vector but then cast it to a different type upon retrieval, your program will crash with a runtime error . Ideally, we would be able to detect such errors sooner – when we compile. One approach to dealing with these disadvantages is to implement a specialized version of our Vector (or whatever other) data structure that holds exactly the type of items we wish, much like we can declare arrays of any type.
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