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Working with Java Enumerated types (Enums)

December 1, 2009 10 comments

In this post I would like to explain about Enums in Java. Though in my 2 years of coding in Java I have seldom used Enums but they do provide a lot of features when we are required to create a say limited instances of certain type. In this post I have made use of an example written out of inspiration from the example program given in “A Programmer’s Guide to Java SCJP certification” by Khalid A. Mughal and Rolf W. Rasmussen. The example is given in the Section Enumerated Types. I will be developing the Enum as we go through the article.

What is an Enumerated Type or Enum tpye? Enum Type defines a finite set of symbolic names and their values. Suppose we have to define 3 constants- LOW, MEDIUM and HIGH to denote the 3 speeds of Rotation. We can do it by declaring static final variables as follows-

class Speed{
   public static final int LOW=1;
   public static final int MEDIUM=2;
   public static final int HIGH=3;
}

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