Data Types in Java - Primitive and Non-Primitive Data Types

Data Types in Java - Primitive and Non-Primitive Data Types

25 Apr 2024
Beginner
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Data Types in Java: An Overview

In this Java tutorial, we'll learn the concepts of Data Types in Java. Data types are used in Java to categorize and specify the kinds of data that can be stored in a variable. Primitive and reference data types are the two basic categories of data types offered by Java.  For more details, consider our Java Certification.

Data Types in Java

Data types can describe the various sizes and values that can be stored in that particular variable.

  1. Primitive data type: This particular data type includes float, short, boolean, byte, char, long, int, and double.
  2. Non-primitive data type: This particular data type includes arrays, interfaces, strings, and classes.

1. Primitive Data Types in Java

The primitive data type is primarily a set of primary data from which other data and data types could be constructed. Primitive data refers to some limited set of data that is represented by an individual processor. So that all the compiled programs could use this data type. Primitive data is already defined in Java and does not need to be created by programmers. There are 8 types of primitive data which will be discussed further.

Read More - Advanced Java Interview Questions

1. Integer Types

Integer types store whole numbers, positive or negative like 233 or -457, without decimals. There are four data types for storing whole numbers. Amongst the four, the choice depends on the numeric value.

  1. Byte data type

    The byte data type is an 8-bit signed two’s complement integer. It can store whole numbers from -128 to 127. Its default value is 0. It is used to save memory in large arrays where memory savings are most required. The byte data type saves space because a byte is 4 times smaller than an integer. It can also be used in place of the int data type.

    Syntax

    
    byte variable_name;
    

    Example of Byte Data Type in Java

    
    public class Main {
      public static void main(String[] args) {
        byte myNum = 126;
        System.out.println(myNum);  
      }
    }
    

    Output

    126
    
  2. Short data type

    The short data type is a 16-bit signed two’s complement integer. It can store whole numbers from -32768 to 32767. Its default value is 0. A short data type is 2 times smaller than an integer. It can be used when a small range of integer values is required. We will understand through illustration in the Java Compiler.

    Syntax

    
    short variable_name;
    

    Example of Short Data Type in Java

    
    public class Main {
      public static void main(String[] args) {
        short myNum = 30000;
        System.out.println(myNum);  
      }
    }
    

    Output

    30000
    
  3. Integer Data Type

    It is a 32-bit signed two’s complement integer. It is a 4-byte integer type with a range of -2^31 to 2^31-1. Its default value is 0. The int data type is generally used as a default data type for integral values.

    Syntax

    
    short variable_name;
    

    Example of Int Data Type in Java

    
    public class Main {
      public static void main(String[] args) {
        int myNum = 300000;
        System.out.println(myNum);  
      }
    }
    

    Output

    300000
    
  4. Long Data Type

    The long data type is a 64-bit two’s complement integer. Its value-range lies between -9,223,372,036,854,775,808(-2^63) to 9,223,372,036,854,775,807(2^63 -1). It is used in situations when int is not large enough to store the value. Here, you should end the value with an "L". Its default value is 0.

    Syntax

    
    long variable_name;
    

    Example of Long Data Type in Java

    
    public class Main {
      public static void main(String[] args) {
        long myNum = 15000000000L;
        System.out.println(myNum);  
      }
    }
    

    Output

    15000000000
    

2. Floating Point Types

This data type is used when there is a requirement for decimal numbers like 2.33, 3.2, etc. There are two data types for storing fractional or decimal numbers.

  1. Float data type

    This data type has a "single precision 32 bits IEEE 754" floating point. The value of this range is unlimited. The size of the float data type is 4 bytes (32 bits). It stores fractional numbers. Sufficient for storing 6 to 7 decimal digits. Its default value is 0.0F. You must end the value with an "f" for floats.

    Syntax

    
    float variable_name;
    

    Example of float Data Type in Java

    
    public class Main {
      public static void main(String[] args) {
        float myNum = 8.79f;
        System.out.println(myNum);  
      }
    }
    

    Output

    8.79
    
  2. Double data type

    This data type is a "64-bit Double precision IEEE 754 floating point". The size of the double data type is 8 bytes or 64 bits. It has greater precision than `float'. It also stores fractional numbers. Sufficient for storing 15 decimal digits. Its default value is 0.0d. You should end the value with "d" for doubles. You'll understand completely by executing the below code in the Java Playground.

    Syntax

    
    float variable_name;
    

    Example of double Data Type in Java

    
    public class Main {
      public static void main(String[] args) {
        double myNum = 78.36d;
        System.out.println(myNum);  
      }
    }
    

    Output

    78.36
    

Read More - Java Developer Salary

float vs. double

  • The precision of a floating point value indicates how many digits the value can have after the decimal point.
  • The precision of float is six or seven decimal digits, while double variables have a precision of about 15 digits.
  • Therefore, it is recommended to use double for most calculations. However, double takes up twice as much memory as float (8 bytes vs. 4 bytes).

3. Char data type

The char data type is used to store single 16-bit Unicode characters like 'A', '1', or '$'. The character must be surrounded by single quotes. Its value range lies between '\u0000' (or 0) to '\uffff'.

Syntax


char variable_name;

Example of char Data Type in Java


public class Main {
  public static void main(String[] args) {
    char scholarHat = 'S';
    System.out.println(scholarHat);
  }
}

Output

S

Representing single characters using ASCII values

You can also use ASCII values to display certain characters. Here, these values are not surrounded by quotes (' '), as they are numbers

Example


public class Main {
  public static void main(String[] args) {
    char myVar1 = 79, myVar2 = 88, myVar3 = 97;
    System.out.println(myVar1);
    System.out.println(myVar2);
    System.out.println(myVar3);
  }
}

Output

O
X
a

4. Boolean data type

The Boolean data type is used to store only two possible values: true and false. It specifies one bit of information, but its "size" can't be defined precisely. Values of type boolean are not converted implicitly or explicitly (with casts) to any other type. This data type is used for simple flags that track true/false conditions.

Syntax


boolean variable_name;

Example of Boolean Data Type in Java


public class Main {
  public static void main(String[] args) {
    boolean isScholarHat = true;
    boolean isEmpty = false;    
    System.out.println(isScholarHat);
    System.out.println(isEmpty);
  }
}

Output

true
false

2. Non-Primitive Data Types in Java

Non-primitive data types are called reference types because they refer to objects. The value of a variable in the non-primitive data type could not be stored directly in the memory. This particular data stores the address of the memory of the variable. Non-primitive types are created by the programmer and are not defined by Java. There are mainly 5 non-primitive data types which will be discussed shortly.

1. Arrays

An array is a group of identically typed elements kept in consecutive memory regions. Multiple values of the same type can be stored and accessed using a single variable name.

Syntax


data_type array_name[array_size];

There are two types of arrays in Java, which are:

  1. Single-dimensional array: It is a collection of elements of the same data type that are stored in a contiguous block of memory.
  2. Multi-dimensional array: It is an array that contains one or more arrays as its elements.

For more details on arrays: Arrays in Java

2. Strings

The String data type represents sequences of characters. Strings are represented by various alphabets surrounded by double quotes.

Syntax


<String_Type> <string_variable> = “<sequence_of_string>”;

Demonstration of String Data Type in Java Online Editor


public class Main {
  public static void main(String[] args) {
    String greeting = "Welcome to ScholarHat";
    System.out.println(greeting);
  }
}

Output

Welcome to ScholarHat

Read Java Strings in detail: What is String in Java - Java String Types and Methods (With Examples)

3. Class

A class is a user-defined model or prototype from which objects are made. It stands for the collection of attributes or operations that are shared by all objects of a particular type. To create a class, use the keyword class.

Syntax


access_modifier class
{ 
  data members; 
  methods; 
}

Example of a Class in Java


public class ScholarHat {
  int x = 5;
}

Read More: What is Class in Java?

4. Object

An object represents real-life entities and is the fundamental building block of object-oriented programming. In Java, an object is created from a class. To create an object of a class, specify the class name, followed by the object name, and use the keyword new.

Demonstration of an Object in Java in Java Online Compiler


public class ScholarHat {
  int x = 50;

  public static void main(String[] args) {
    ScholarHat myObj = new ScholarHat();
    System.out.println(myObj.x);
  }
}

Output

50

Read More: What is an Object in Java?

5. Interfaces

Interfaces are the collection of "abstract methods". To achieve abstraction Java follows an interface mechanism. Interface data type contains "constants", "default methods", "static methods" and "nested type".

Example of an Interface in Java


interface ScholarHat {
  public void contentwriters(); // interface method (does not have a body)
  public void seo(); // interface method (does not have a body)
}

Read More: Abstraction in Java

Summary

Java categorizes and defines the sorts of data that variables can hold. Java has non-primitive types like arrays and classes for more complicated objects as well as primitive types like int and boolean for basic values. Because String is a class with additional capabilities, it is not a primitive. As a basic data type, a boolean represents true or false values. For Java programming to work properly, these kinds must be understood and used efficiently for memory allocation and data processing.

FAQs

Q1. What is a data type in Java?

In Java, a data type specifies the kind of data that a variable can store, such as characters, integers, or floating-point numbers.

Q2. What are primitive and non-primitive data types in Java?

Non-primitive data types are objects like arrays and classes, whereas primitive data types are simple data types like int and true.

Q3. Why String is non-primitive?

Because String is a class in Java and offers more than just data storage, it is not a primitive.

Q4. What data type is boolean?

Java's boolean data type is a simple way to store true or false values.

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About Author
Shailendra Chauhan (Microsoft MVP, Founder & CEO at Scholarhat by DotNetTricks)

Shailendra Chauhan is the Founder and CEO at ScholarHat by DotNetTricks which is a brand when it comes to e-Learning. He provides training and consultation over an array of technologies like Cloud, .NET, Angular, React, Node, Microservices, Containers and Mobile Apps development. He has been awarded Microsoft MVP 8th time in a row (2016-2023). He has changed many lives with his writings and unique training programs. He has a number of most sought-after books to his name which has helped job aspirants in cracking tough interviews with ease.
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