Does Java have pointers?

No, Java does not have pointers. This was an intentional decision by the creators of Java, because most people would agree that having pointers creates a lot of potential for bugs in the code – pointers can be quite confusing, especially to new programmers. Because arrays and strings are provided as class types in Java, there is no need for pointers to those constructs. By not allowing pointers, Java provides effectively provides another level of abstraction to the programmer.

Java has references, but not pointers

But, what Java does have is references, which are different from pointers. Here are some of the differences between references in Java and pointers in C++:


1.  References store an address.  That address is the address 
in memory of the object.  So, when a class is declared like so: 
"PersonClass y = new PersonClass();", the "y" variable actually 
stores an address in memory.  If you were to look at that 
address in memory you would see the details of the 
PersonClass object.  Pointers in C++, however, point directly 
to the object.

2.  You can not perform arithmetic operations on references.  
So, adding 1 to a pointer is not possible, but is possible
 in C++.

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4 Responses to “Does Java have pointers?”

  1. komal pandit says:

    Nice website i have also seen yesterday one website which have interview question http://www.tutorial4us.com/java/java-interview-question

  2. the guy says:

    “References store an address. That address is the address in memory of the object. … Pointers in C++, however, point directly to the object.” This is inaccurate. In C++, a pointer DOES store an address, and a REFERENCE points directly to the object. So it’s only a difference of terminology. Really, the ONLY difference between C++’s pointers and Java’s so-called “references” is that you can’t do pointer arithmetic in Java. And also that “references” in Java are deallocated automatically via garbage collection.

  3. gaura says:

    but this pointer is used in java if both local and member parameter are same in program then this pointer is used to differ them??

  4. Swoop Diggity says:

    “You can not perform arithmetic operations on references.
    So, adding 1 to a pointer is not possible, but is possible
    in C++.”

    I think you mean “… So, adding 1 to a reference is not possible…”. Since you’ve stated Java doesnt have pointers, that line, as it is currently written, is confusing.

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