• Understand final and its use on declaring variables.
  • Final

    final is a keyword that is applied to a variable declaration to indicate the variable cannot be re-assigned once it has been assigned.

    public final static double PI = 3.1415;
    PI = 3.14159;  // illegal assignment

    You can think of final variables as constants that do not change. You may declare a variablefinal``` without assigning a value as part of the declaration. In this case you can later perform on assignment statement.

    public final static String FAVORITE_COLOR;
    public Constructor() { FAVORITE_COLOR = "Blue" };

    We will not study final as applied to classes and methods.

    Use of final

    In addition to nice constants such as PI and FAVORITE_COLOR, final can be used to isolate changes of code to one place. The example uses a two-dimensional array which we study in Arrays and ArrayLists. Array have fixed dimensions. Suppose we write code for a 4 by 4 array, but we want our code to be easy to modify to process a 5 by 5 array. We do not want our code to reference constants 4 because then we would have to search throughout our code for array references. Instead we define two final constants ROW and COL. Our first implementation assigns 4. Then we can update our code simply by assigning 4 to ROW and COL. The following code demosntrates this.

    public final int ROW = 4;
    public final int COL = 4;
    for (int row = 0; row < ROW; row++)
       for (int col = 0; col < COL; col++)


    The grading policy of classes can evolve. The ranges of averages for A, B, C, D, and F can change. An A may be 92 to 100 one semester and 90 to 100 the next. The final modifier can be used to easily allow a program to accomodate changes to the ranges of average. The following Teacher class demonstrates this concept. Notice the final int A, B, C, D, which can be updated to new values without changing the code. Teacher is a subclass of Person. The details of subclasses are described in Subclasses.

    public class Teacher {
        private String name;
        private String courses;
        private String department;
        private final int A = 90;
        private final int B = 80;
        private final int C = 70;
        private final int D = 60;
        public Teacher(String name, String department) {
            this.name = name;
            courses = "";
            this.department = department;        
        public void addCourse(String course) {
            courses += course + " ";
        public String getCourses() { return courses; }
        public void setDepartment(String department) {
            this.department = department;
        public String getDepartment() { return this.department; }
        public String assignGrade(double average) {
            int aveRounded = (int)Math.round(average);
            if (aveRounded > A)
                return "A";
            else if (aveRounded > B)
                return "B";
            else if (aveRounded > C)
                return "C";
            else if (aveRounded > D)
                return "D";
                return "F";
    Tags: class object