The set interface present in the java.util package and extends the Collection interface is an unordered collection of objects in which duplicate values cannot be stored. It is an interface which implements the mathematical set. This interface contains the methods inherited from the Collection interface and adds a feature which restricts the insertion of the duplicate elements. There are two interfaces which extend the set implementation namely SortedSet and NavigableSet.
In the above image, the navigable set extends the sorted set interface. Since a set doesn’t retain the insertion order, the navigable set interface provides the implementation to navigate through the Set. The class which implements the navigable set is a TreeSet which is an implementation of a self-balancing tree. Therefore, this interface provides us with a way to navigate through this tree.
Declaration: The Set interface is declared as:
public interface Set extends Collection
Example of a Set:
[Set, Example, Geeks, For]
Creating Set Objects
Since Set is an interface, objects cannot be created of the type set. We always need a class which extends this list in order to create an object. And also, after the introduction of Generics in Java 1.5, it is possible to restrict the type of object that can be stored in the Set. This type-safe set can be defined as:
// Obj is the type of the object to be stored in Set
Set<Obj> set = new HashSet<Obj> ();
Operations on the Set Interface
The set interface allows the users to perform the basic mathematical operation on the set. Lets take two arrays to understand these basic operations. Let set1 = [1, 3, 2, 4, 8, 9, 0] and set2 = [1, 3, 7, 5, 4, 0, 7, 5]. Then the possible operations on the sets are:
1. Intersection: This operation returns all the common elements from the given two sets. For the above two sets, the intersection would be:
Intersection = [0, 1, 3, 4]
2. Union: This operation adds all the elements in one set with the other. For the above two sets, the union would be:
Union = [0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9]
3. Difference: This operation removes all the values present in one set from the other set. For the above two sets, the difference would be:
Difference = [2, 8, 9]
Below is the implementation demonstrating the above operations:
Union of the two Set[0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9] Intersection of the two Set[0, 1, 3, 4] Difference of the two Set[2, 8, 9]
Performing Various Operations on SortedSet
After the introduction of Generics in Java 1.5, it is possible to restrict the type of object that can be stored in the Set. Since Set is an interface, it can be used only with a class that implements this interface. HashSet is one of the widely used classes which implements the Set interface. Now, let’s see how to perform a few frequently used operations on the HashSet.
1. Adding Elements: In order to add an element to the Set, we can use the add() method. However, the insertion order is not retained in the Set. Internally, for every element, a hash is generated and the values are stored with respect to the generated hash. the values are compared and sorted in the ascending order. We need to keep a note that duplicate elements are not allowed and all the duplicate elements are ignored. And also, Null values are not accepted by the Set.
[A, B, C]
2. Accessing the Elements: After adding the elements, if we wish to access the elements, we can use inbuilt methods like contains().
Set is [A, B, C] Contains D false
3. Removing the Values: The values can be removed from the Set using the remove() method.
Initial HashSet [A, B, C, D, E] After removing element [A, C, D, E]
4. Iterating through the Set: There are various ways to iterate through the Set. The most famous one is to use the enhanced for loop.
A, B, C, D, E,
Classes which implement the Set interface in Java Collections
1. HashSet: Hashset class which is implemented in the collection framework is an inherent implementation of the hash table datastructure. The objects that we insert into the hashset does not guarantee to be inserted in the same order. The objects are inserted based on their hashcode. This class also allows the insertion of NULL elements. Let’s see how to create a set object using this class.
[South Africa, Australia, India] Set after removing Australia:[South Africa, India] Iterating over set: South Africa India
2. EnumSet: EnumSet class which is implemented in the collections framework is one of the specialized implementation of Set interface for use with the enumeration type. It is a high performance set implementation, much faster than HashSet. All of the elements in an enum set must come from a single enumeration type that is specified when the set is created either explicitly or implicitly. Lets see how to create a set object using this class.
Set 1: [CODE, LEARN, CONTRIBUTE, QUIZ]
3. LinkedHashSet: LinkedHashSet class which is implemented in the collections framework is an ordered version of HashSet that maintains a doubly-linked List across all elements. When the iteration order is needed to be maintained this class is used. When iterating through a HashSet the order is unpredictable, while a LinkedHashSet lets us iterate through the elements in the order in which they were inserted. Let’s see how to create a set object using this class.
[India, Australia, South Africa] Set after removing Australia:[India, South Africa] Iterating over set: India South Africa
4. TreeSet: TreeSet class which is implemented in the collections framework an implementation of the SortedSet Interface and SortedSet extends Set Interface. It behaves like simple set with the exception that it stores elements in sorted format. TreeSet uses tree data structure for storage. Objects are stored in sorted, ascending order. But we can iterate in descending order using method TreeSet.descendingIterator(). Let’s see how to create a set object using this class.
[Australia, India, South Africa] Set after removing Australia:[India, South Africa] Iterating over set: India South Africa
Methods Present in the Set Interface
The following methods are present in the set interface:
|add(element)||This method is used to add a specific element to the set. The function adds the element only if the specified element is not already present in the set else the function returns False if the element is already present in the Set.|
|addAll(collection)||This method is used to append all of the elements from the mentioned collection to the existing set. The elements are added randomly without following any specific order.|
|clear()||This method is used to remove all the elements from the set but not delete the set. The reference for the set still exists.|
|contains(element)||This method is used to check whether a specific element is present in the Set or not.|
|containsAll(collection)||This method is used to check whether the set contains all the elements present in the given collection or not. This method returns true if the set contains all the elements and returns false if any of the elements are missing.|
|hashCode()||This method is used to get the hashCode value for this instance of the Set. It returns an integer value which is the hashCode value for this instance of the Set.|
|isEmpty()||This method is used to check whether the set is empty or not.|
|iterator()||This method is used to return the iterator of the set. The elements from the set are returned in a random order.|
|remove(element)||This method is used to remove the given element from the set. This method returns True if the specified element is present in the Set otherwise it returns False.|
|removeAll(collection)||This method is used to remove all the elements from the collection which are present in the set. This method returns true if this set changed as a result of the call.|
|retainAll(collection)||This method is used to retain all the elements from the set which are mentioned in the given collection. This method returns true if this set changed as a result of the call.|
|size()||This method is used to get the size of the set. This returns an integer value which signifies the number of elements.|
|toArray()||This method is used to form an array of the same elements as that of the Set.|
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