Why aren't Java Collections remove methods generic?

Question!

Why isn't Collection.remove(Object o) generic?

Seems like Collection<E> could have boolean remove(E o);

Then, when you accidentally try to remove (for example) Set<String> instead of each individual String from a Collection<String>, it would be a compile time error instead of a debugging problem later.



Answers

Another reason is because of interfaces. Here is an example to show it :

public interface A {}

public interface B {}

public class MyClass implements A, B {}

public static void main(String[] args) {
   Collection<A> collection = new ArrayList<>();
   MyClass item = new MyClass();
   collection.add(item);  // works fine
   B b = item; // valid
   collection.remove(b); /* It works because the remove method accepts an Object. If it was generic, this would not work */
}
By : Patrick


Josh Bloch and Bill Pugh refer to this issue in Java Puzzlers IV: The Phantom Reference Menace, Attack of the Clone, and Revenge of The Shift.

Josh Bloch says (6:41) that they attempted to generify the get method of Map, remove method and some other, but "it simply didn't work".

There are too many reasonable programs that could not be generified if you only allow the generic type of the collection as parameter type. The example given by him is an intersection of a List of Numbers and a List of Longs.

By : dmeister


Assume one has a collection of Cat, and some object references of types Animal, Cat, SiameseCat, and Dog. Asking the collection whether it contains the object referred to by the Cat or SiameseCat reference seems reasonable. Asking whether it contains the object referred to by the Animal reference may seem dodgy, but it's still perfectly reasonable. The object in question might, after all, be a Cat, and might appear in the collection.

Further, even if the object happens to be something other than a Cat, there's no problem saying whether it appears in the collection--simply answer "no, it doesn't". A "lookup-style" collection of some type should be able to meaningfully accept reference of any supertype and determine whether the object exists within the collection. If the passed-in object reference is of an unrelated type, there's no way the collection could possibly contain it, so the query is in some sense not meaningful (it will always answer "no"). Nonetheless, since there isn't any way to restrict parameters to being subtypes or supertypes, it's most practical to simply accept any type and answer "no" for any objects whose type is unrelated to that of the collection.

By : supercat


This video can help you solving your question :)
By: admin