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Thread: Passing by reference in Java?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
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    Default Passing by reference in Java?

    I have a pretty complicated program in which I need to pass by reference. But it seems I can't.

    Rather than post the entire code of my complicated program, I wrote a much simpler program with the same exact problem.

    I want to change the value of the Character object in the function "changechObj7" but it won't change. I keep getting the output 'P' both times.

    How do I fix this? It's so easy in C++.....

    import java.util.Scanner;
    public class Play
            public static void main(String[] args)
                    Play play = new Play();
            public void dance()
                    Character chObj7 = new Character('P');
            public void changechObj7(Character chObj7)
                    chObj7 = 'K';

    I know that the character object is a reference to an address that holds the value "P".

    So, in my "changechObj7" function, I pass the ADDRESS location that holds "P".

    I change what the address holds by setting it equal to 'K'.

    I don't change the address, I change the value the address holds. Shouldn't that be a permanent change?

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Thanked 121 Times in 105 Posts

    Default Re: Passing by reference in Java?

    This does not work this way in java. All you do in your changechObj7 method is to reassign a value to your parameter variable.
    You can still achieve what you want in java, but you have to approach it a little bit differently.
    The fastest and simplest way is to cheat a little and use a one-element char array instead. Then you can change the value at position 0 at the array.
    A cleaner solution would be to define a new class which has a character as public attribute. If you pass an instance of that class you can simply change the value of the attribute.

  3. #3
    Forum VIP
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Thanked 329 Times in 305 Posts

    Default Re: Passing by reference in Java?

    Cornix provided the best advice if you want to restrict yourself to your design.
    The reason being for this behavior is something called immutability. Here is oracle's brief description: Immutable Objects (The Java™ Tutorials > Essential Classes > Concurrency)

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