Memory and Copying

Arrays are a common data type utilized in the Java language, so it is worthwhile to mention
some of the details involved in copying arrays. In the next example you will see the difference
between copying an array's elements to another array called deep copying, and copying the
pointers from one array to another array.

Here is the example:
import java.awt.*; import java.awt.event.*; import java.awt.image.BufferedImage; class ArrayCopy extends Frame implements ActionListener, ItemListener { List lstArray1=new List(5); List lstArray2=new List(5); TextField txt1=new TextField(); TextField txt2=new TextField(); Button btnSet1=new Button("Set To Text"); Button btnSet2=new Button("Set To Text"); CheckboxGroup cbg=new CheckboxGroup(); Checkbox cbDeep=new Checkbox("Deep Copy", cbg, false); Checkbox cbShallow=new Checkbox("Shallow Copy", cbg, true); StringContainer strContainer1[]=new StringContainer[3]; StringContainer strContainer2[]=new StringContainer[3]; public static void main(String args[]) { try { ArrayCopy aFrame=new ArrayCopy(); Dimension dimScreen=Toolkit.getDefaultToolkit().getScreenSize(); aFrame.setSize(dimScreen.width, dimScreen.height-40); aFrame.setVisible(true); } catch(Exception ex) { ex.printStackTrace(); } } ArrayCopy() { super("Deep Copy vs Shallow Copy"); setIconImage(new BufferedImage(1, 1, BufferedImage.TYPE_INT_RGB)); addWindowListener(new WindowAdapter() { public void windowClosing(WindowEvent we) { System.exit(0); } }); strContainer1[0]=new StringContainer("Testing 1"); strContainer1[1]=new StringContainer("Testing 2"); strContainer1[2]=new StringContainer("Testing 3"); strContainer2=strContainer1; lstArray1.add(strContainer1[0].getString()); lstArray1.add(strContainer1[1].getString()); lstArray1.add(strContainer1[2].getString()); lstArray2.add(strContainer2[0].getString()); lstArray2.add(strContainer2[1].getString()); lstArray2.add(strContainer2[2].getString()); Panel tempPan=new Panel(); tempPan.setLayout(new GridLayout(1, 2)); Panel tempPanA=new Panel(); tempPanA.setLayout(new BorderLayout()); tempPanA.add("Center", lstArray1); Panel tempPanA1=new Panel(); tempPanA1.setLayout(new GridLayout(3, 1)); tempPanA1.add(txt1); tempPanA1.add(btnSet1); btnSet1.addActionListener(this); tempPanA1.add(cbDeep); cbDeep.addItemListener(this); tempPanA.add("South", tempPanA1); tempPan.add(tempPanA); Panel tempPanB=new Panel(); tempPanB.setLayout(new BorderLayout()); tempPanB.add("Center", lstArray2); Panel tempPanB1=new Panel(); tempPanB1.setLayout(new GridLayout(3, 1)); tempPanB1.add(txt2); tempPanB1.add(btnSet2); btnSet2.addActionListener(this); tempPanB1.add(cbShallow); cbShallow.addItemListener(this); tempPanB.add("South", tempPanB1); tempPan.add(tempPanB); add("Center", tempPan); } public void actionPerformed(ActionEvent ae) { Object evSource=ae.getSource(); if(evSource==btnSet1) { int intSelectedIndex=lstArray1.getSelectedIndex(); if(intSelectedIndex==-1) return; String strSet=txt1.getText(); strContainer1[intSelectedIndex].setString(strSet); lstArray1.replaceItem(strContainer1[intSelectedIndex].getString(), intSelectedIndex); lstArray2.replaceItem(strContainer2[intSelectedIndex].getString(), intSelectedIndex); } else if(evSource==btnSet2) { int intSelectedIndex=lstArray2.getSelectedIndex(); if(intSelectedIndex==-1) return; String strSet=txt2.getText(); strContainer2[intSelectedIndex].setString(strSet); lstArray1.replaceItem(strContainer1[intSelectedIndex].getString(), intSelectedIndex); lstArray2.replaceItem(strContainer2[intSelectedIndex].getString(), intSelectedIndex); } } public void itemStateChanged(ItemEvent ie) { Checkbox cbSelected=cbg.getSelectedCheckbox(); if(cbSelected==cbDeep) { strContainer2=new StringContainer[strContainer1.length]; for(int i=0;i<strContainer2.length;i++) strContainer2[i]=new StringContainer(strContainer1[i].getString()); } else if(cbSelected==cbShallow) { System.arraycopy(strContainer1, 0, strContainer2, 0, strContainer1.length); } } class StringContainer { String strStr=""; StringContainer() { } StringContainer(String strStr) { this.strStr=strStr; } public String getString() { return strStr; } public void setString(String strStr) { this.strStr=strStr; } } }
In the above example, scroll down to "itemStateChanged" that is where the array copying occurs. If cbDeep is selected then a new object is constructed for each element of the array which is called deep copying. If cbShallow is selected then the static function "arraycopy" of System is called and each of the pointers to the individual elements are copied which is called shallow copying. When using the "clone" function on Objects of the java.util package shallow copies are made unless otherwise noted. I am including two examples of how you can create deep copies using a static method call. This form of deep copying only works if the elements of the Vector or Hashtable are implementors of . Here is the example of deep copying a Vector. Here is the example of deep copying a Hashtable. In this lesson, you learned the difference between deep copying and shallow copying and how to implement arrays with either of the two. You also were provided with functions for deep copying Vectors and Hashtables which utilize object serialization.