How to add new elements to an array?


I have the following code:

String[] where;
where.append(ContactsContract.Contacts.HAS_PHONE_NUMBER + "=1");
where.append(ContactsContract.Contacts.IN_VISIBLE_GROUP + "=1");

Those two appends are not compiling. How would that work correctly?

2/13/2013 5:11:40 AM

Accepted Answer

The size of an array can't be modified. If you want a bigger array you have to instantiate a new one.

A better solution would be to use an ArrayList which can grow as you need it. The method ArrayList.toArray( T[] a ) gives you back your array if you need it in this form.

List<String> where = new ArrayList<String>();
where.add( ContactsContract.Contacts.HAS_PHONE_NUMBER+"=1" );
where.add( ContactsContract.Contacts.IN_VISIBLE_GROUP+"=1" );

If you need to convert it to a simple array...

String[] simpleArray = new String[ where.size() ];
where.toArray( simpleArray );

But most things you do with an array you can do with this ArrayList, too:

// iterate over the array
for( String oneItem : where ) {

// get specific items
where.get( 1 );
2/13/2013 5:26:16 AM

Use a List<String>, such as an ArrayList<String>. It's dynamically growable, unlike arrays (see: Effective Java 2nd Edition, Item 25: Prefer lists to arrays).

import java.util.*;

List<String> list = new ArrayList<String>();
System.out.println(list); // prints "[1, 2, 3]"

If you insist on using arrays, you can use java.util.Arrays.copyOf to allocate a bigger array to accomodate the additional element. This is really not the best solution, though.

static <T> T[] append(T[] arr, T element) {
    final int N = arr.length;
    arr = Arrays.copyOf(arr, N + 1);
    arr[N] = element;
    return arr;

String[] arr = { "1", "2", "3" };
System.out.println(Arrays.toString(arr)); // prints "[1, 2, 3]"
arr = append(arr, "4");
System.out.println(Arrays.toString(arr)); // prints "[1, 2, 3, 4]"

This is O(N) per append. ArrayList, on the other hand, has O(1) amortized cost per operation.

See also


Apache Commons Lang has

T[] t = ArrayUtils.add( initialArray, newitem );

it returns a new array, but if you're really working with arrays for some reason, this may be the ideal way to do this.


There is another option which i haven't seen here and which doesn't involve "complex" Objects or Collections.

String[] array1 = new String[]{"one", "two"};
String[] array2 = new String[]{"three"};
String[] array = new String[array1.length + array2.length];
System.arraycopy(array1, 0, array, 0, array1.length);
System.arraycopy(array2, 0, array, array1.length, array2.length);

There is no method append() on arrays. Instead as already suggested a List object can service the need for dynamically inserting elements eg.

List<String> where = new ArrayList<String>();
where.add(ContactsContract.Contacts.HAS_PHONE_NUMBER + "=1");
where.add(ContactsContract.Contacts.IN_VISIBLE_GROUP + "=1");

Or if you are really keen to use an array:

String[] where = new String[]{
    ContactsContract.Contacts.HAS_PHONE_NUMBER + "=1",
    ContactsContract.Contacts.IN_VISIBLE_GROUP + "=1"

but then this is a fixed size and no elements can be added.


As tangens said, the size of an array is fixed. But you have to instantiate it first, else it will be only a null reference.

String[] where = new String[10];

This array can contain only 10 elements. So you can append a value only 10 times. In your code you're accessing a null reference. That's why it doesnt work. In order to have a dynamically growing collection, use the ArrayList.