Comparable vs. Comparator in Java

Safalta Expert Published by: Aryan Rana Updated Wed, 07 Dec 2022 10:57 PM IST

Highlights

An interface is used in the Java programming language to define a behaviour that classes must implement. Comparable and Comparator are two of these interfaces that the Java world provides! While Comparator is used to sort the properties of various objects, Comparable in Java is used to sort the objects in a natural ordering.

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Table of Content
What is Comparable in Java?
How does the compareTo method work and what does it do?
What is Comparator in Java?
Comparable v/s Comparator in Java





An interface is used in the Java programming language to define a behaviour that classes must implement. Comparable and Comparator are two of these interfaces that the Java world provides! While Comparator is used to sort the properties of various objects, Comparable in Java is used to sort the objects in a natural ordering. Let's use this article as a tool to grasp their APIs.

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What is Comparable in Java?

Comparable is an interface that defines a mechanism to compare an object with other objects of the same type, as the name suggests. Sorting objects that have a tendency to organise themselves, or that are self-aware enough to know how to arrange themselves, is helpful. For instance, roll number, age, or pay. This interface may be found in java.lang package and only has the compareTo method (). Comparable lacks the ability to rank objects on its own, but the interface specifies a method called int compareTo() that can.

Additionally, you must be wondering what the compareTo method is. Let me give you an explanation, though!


How does the compareTo method work and what does it do?

The specified object and the current object are compared using this function. The int value is returned by the compareTo() method. The value may be zero, positive, or negative. We now have a solid theoretical understanding of Java's Comparable interface and compareTo function.

Let's dive right in and learn about the implementation procedure. Let's first look at Comparable's implementation.


What is Comparator in Java?

An interface called Comparator is used to sort items of a certain class. The package java.util contains this interface. It uses two techniques;

equals compare(Object obj1, Object obj2) (Object element).
In the first method, compare(Object obj1,Object obj2), two input arguments are compared, and the results are displayed. If the first argument is less than, equal to, or larger than the second, it returns a negative integer, zero, or a positive integer.

The second function, equals(Object element), asks for an Object as an argument and indicates whether the input object matches the comparator. Only if the mentioned object is likewise a Comparator will the procedure return true. The ranking continues to be the same as it was for the Comparator.

 

Comparable v/s Comparator in Java

Comparable in Java Comparator in Java
A comparable interface is used to sort the objects with natural ordering. Comparator in Java is used to sort attributes of different objects.
A comparable interface compares “this” reference with the object specified. Comparator in Java compares two different class objects provided.
Comparable is present in java.lang package.

 

 

A Comparator is present in java.util package.
Comparable affects the original class, i.e., the actual class is modified. The comparator doesn’t affect the original class
Comparable provides the compareTo() method to sort elements. The comparator provides compare() method, and the equals() method to sort elements.


I hope the distinctions between the two concepts discussed above helped to clarify things.

We are now getting close to the end of our article. I hope the information was useful and helped your Java world gain expertise. Remain tuned!


 

What distinguishes Comparator from comparable Java?

In Java, a Comparable object compares itself to another object, but a Comparator object compares objects of several classes. Comparator offers the compare() method to order components in Java, whereas Comparable offers the compareTo() method.

Why is Java using Comparator?

Java Comparator may compare objects and return an integer based on a positive, equal, or negative comparison using programmable methods. Since it is not restricted to number comparisons, Java Comparator can be used to sort lists either numerically or alphabetically.

Can we use ArrayList and Comparator together?

We can sort an ArrayList based on many variables by using a Comparator. Without changing the original User-defined class, we can just implement Comparator. We must override the compare() method offered by the comparator interface in order to sort an ArrayList using the comparator.

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