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Copying Arrays in Java 6

  • May 29, 2007
  • By Jeff Langr
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Performance and Alternatives

I can actually use the clone method to copy a source array into a target array, so technically copyOf isn't necessary. However, my hastily written performance tests demonstrate that clone is fairly slow. They also demonstrate that copyOf is a mite slower than arraycopy. It's probably not enough for me to worry about, so I'll use the new copyOf method. As always, I'll profile if necessary.

Is the new set of copyOf methods an essential addition to Java? Absolutely not. It could easily be looked at as syntactical sugar. There's no reason I couldn't continue to use arraycopy. However, it's in line with simplifying efforts to code Java applications, something that Sun promoted heavily with the introduction of Java 5.

My take is that small simplifications add up dramatically. I'm pleased with how much simpler I can get my Java 5 applications to look than code written with earlier versions of Java. With Java 6, Sun has introduced only a tiny amount of core Java simplification. I'll take it!

About the Author

Jeff Langr is a veteran software developer with a score and more years of experience. He's authored two books and dozens of published articles on software development, including Agile Java: Crafting Code With Test-Driven Development (Prentice Hall) in 2005. You can find out more about Jeff at his site, http://langrsoft.com, or you can contact him directly at jeff@langrsoft.com.

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