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java.util
public interface: Map [javadoc | source] An object that maps keys to values. A map cannot contain duplicate keys; each key can map to at most one value.

This interface takes the place of the Dictionary class, which was a totally abstract class rather than an interface.

The Map interface provides three collection views, which allow a map's contents to be viewed as a set of keys, collection of values, or set of key-value mappings. The order of a map is defined as the order in which the iterators on the map's collection views return their elements. Some map implementations, like the TreeMap class, make specific guarantees as to their order; others, like the HashMap class, do not.

Note: great care must be exercised if mutable objects are used as map keys. The behavior of a map is not specified if the value of an object is changed in a manner that affects equals comparisons while the object is a key in the map. A special case of this prohibition is that it is not permissible for a map to contain itself as a key. While it is permissible for a map to contain itself as a value, extreme caution is advised: the equals and hashCode methods are no longer well defined on such a map.

All general-purpose map implementation classes should provide two "standard" constructors: a void (no arguments) constructor which creates an empty map, and a constructor with a single argument of type Map, which creates a new map with the same key-value mappings as its argument. In effect, the latter constructor allows the user to copy any map, producing an equivalent map of the desired class. There is no way to enforce this recommendation (as interfaces cannot contain constructors) but all of the general-purpose map implementations in the JDK comply.

The "destructive" methods contained in this interface, that is, the methods that modify the map on which they operate, are specified to throw UnsupportedOperationException if this map does not support the operation. If this is the case, these methods may, but are not required to, throw an UnsupportedOperationException if the invocation would have no effect on the map. For example, invoking the #putAll(Map) method on an unmodifiable map may, but is not required to, throw the exception if the map whose mappings are to be "superimposed" is empty.

Some map implementations have restrictions on the keys and values they may contain. For example, some implementations prohibit null keys and values, and some have restrictions on the types of their keys. Attempting to insert an ineligible key or value throws an unchecked exception, typically NullPointerException or ClassCastException. Attempting to query the presence of an ineligible key or value may throw an exception, or it may simply return false; some implementations will exhibit the former behavior and some will exhibit the latter. More generally, attempting an operation on an ineligible key or value whose completion would not result in the insertion of an ineligible element into the map may throw an exception or it may succeed, at the option of the implementation. Such exceptions are marked as "optional" in the specification for this interface.

This interface is a member of the Java Collections Framework.

Many methods in Collections Framework interfaces are defined in terms of the equals method. For example, the specification for the containsKey(Object key) method says: "returns true if and only if this map contains a mapping for a key k such that (key==null ? k==null : key.equals(k))." This specification should not be construed to imply that invoking Map.containsKey with a non-null argument key will cause key.equals(k) to be invoked for any key k. Implementations are free to implement optimizations whereby the equals invocation is avoided, for example, by first comparing the hash codes of the two keys. (The Object#hashCode() specification guarantees that two objects with unequal hash codes cannot be equal.) More generally, implementations of the various Collections Framework interfaces are free to take advantage of the specified behavior of underlying Object methods wherever the implementor deems it appropriate.

Nested Class Summary:
interface  Map.Entry  A map entry (key-value pair). The Map.entrySet method returns a collection-view of the map, whose elements are of this class. The only way to obtain a reference to a map entry is from the iterator of this collection-view. These Map.Entry objects are valid only for the duration of the iteration; more formally, the behavior of a map entry is undefined if the backing map has been modified after the entry was returned by the iterator, except through the setValue operation on the map entry. 
Method from java.util.Map Summary:
clear,   containsKey,   containsValue,   entrySet,   equals,   get,   hashCode,   isEmpty,   keySet,   put,   putAll,   remove,   size,   values
Method from java.util.Map Detail:
 public  void clear()
    Removes all of the mappings from this map (optional operation). The map will be empty after this call returns.
 public boolean containsKey(Object key)
    Returns true if this map contains a mapping for the specified key. More formally, returns true if and only if this map contains a mapping for a key k such that (key==null ? k==null : key.equals(k)). (There can be at most one such mapping.)
 public boolean containsValue(Object value)
    Returns true if this map maps one or more keys to the specified value. More formally, returns true if and only if this map contains at least one mapping to a value v such that (value==null ? v==null : value.equals(v)). This operation will probably require time linear in the map size for most implementations of the Map interface.
 public Set<K, V> entrySet()
    Returns a Set view of the mappings contained in this map. The set is backed by the map, so changes to the map are reflected in the set, and vice-versa. If the map is modified while an iteration over the set is in progress (except through the iterator's own remove operation, or through the setValue operation on a map entry returned by the iterator) the results of the iteration are undefined. The set supports element removal, which removes the corresponding mapping from the map, via the Iterator.remove, Set.remove, removeAll, retainAll and clear operations. It does not support the add or addAll operations.
 public boolean equals(Object o)
    Compares the specified object with this map for equality. Returns true if the given object is also a map and the two maps represent the same mappings. More formally, two maps m1 and m2 represent the same mappings if m1.entrySet().equals(m2.entrySet()). This ensures that the equals method works properly across different implementations of the Map interface.
 public V get(Object key)
    Returns the value to which the specified key is mapped, or {@code null} if this map contains no mapping for the key.

    More formally, if this map contains a mapping from a key {@code k} to a value {@code v} such that {@code (key==null ? k==null : key.equals(k))}, then this method returns {@code v}; otherwise it returns {@code null}. (There can be at most one such mapping.)

    If this map permits null values, then a return value of {@code null} does not necessarily indicate that the map contains no mapping for the key; it's also possible that the map explicitly maps the key to {@code null}. The containsKey operation may be used to distinguish these two cases.

 public int hashCode()
    Returns the hash code value for this map. The hash code of a map is defined to be the sum of the hash codes of each entry in the map's entrySet() view. This ensures that m1.equals(m2) implies that m1.hashCode()==m2.hashCode() for any two maps m1 and m2, as required by the general contract of Object#hashCode .
 public boolean isEmpty()
    Returns true if this map contains no key-value mappings.
 public Set<K> keySet()
    Returns a Set view of the keys contained in this map. The set is backed by the map, so changes to the map are reflected in the set, and vice-versa. If the map is modified while an iteration over the set is in progress (except through the iterator's own remove operation), the results of the iteration are undefined. The set supports element removal, which removes the corresponding mapping from the map, via the Iterator.remove, Set.remove, removeAll, retainAll, and clear operations. It does not support the add or addAll operations.
 public V put(K key,
    V value)
    Associates the specified value with the specified key in this map (optional operation). If the map previously contained a mapping for the key, the old value is replaced by the specified value. (A map m is said to contain a mapping for a key k if and only if m.containsKey(k) would return true.)
 public  void putAll(Map<? extends K, ? extends V> m)
    Copies all of the mappings from the specified map to this map (optional operation). The effect of this call is equivalent to that of calling put(k, v) on this map once for each mapping from key k to value v in the specified map. The behavior of this operation is undefined if the specified map is modified while the operation is in progress.
 public V remove(Object key)
    Removes the mapping for a key from this map if it is present (optional operation). More formally, if this map contains a mapping from key k to value v such that (key==null ? k==null : key.equals(k)), that mapping is removed. (The map can contain at most one such mapping.)

    Returns the value to which this map previously associated the key, or null if the map contained no mapping for the key.

    If this map permits null values, then a return value of null does not necessarily indicate that the map contained no mapping for the key; it's also possible that the map explicitly mapped the key to null.

    The map will not contain a mapping for the specified key once the call returns.

 public int size()
    Returns the number of key-value mappings in this map. If the map contains more than Integer.MAX_VALUE elements, returns Integer.MAX_VALUE.
 public Collection<V> values()
    Returns a Collection view of the values contained in this map. The collection is backed by the map, so changes to the map are reflected in the collection, and vice-versa. If the map is modified while an iteration over the collection is in progress (except through the iterator's own remove operation), the results of the iteration are undefined. The collection supports element removal, which removes the corresponding mapping from the map, via the Iterator.remove, Collection.remove, removeAll, retainAll and clear operations. It does not support the add or addAll operations.