IMPORTANT NOTES ON HASHCODE() AND EQUALS() METHOD

Quick Facts

  • hashCode() and equals() are methods of Object class.
  • Default implementations
    • hashCode() – returns the address of the object
    • equals() – checks if the reference of current and passed object is same. Same as equality operator ==
  • Overwriting equals methods provides shallow comparison of the objects
  • equals will only take java object and not primitive datatypes
  • if null is passed as str.equals(null). it will return false and not NPE
  • If 2 objects have same hashcode it does not guarantee that they are equal
  • String class caches its hashcode() as it is immutable

Contract of equals()  and hashCode() method

  • Reflexive – Object must be equal to itself. s1.equals(s1) == true;
  • Symmetric – if s1.equals(s2)  then s2.equals(s1) should also be true.  Also custom class should never be equals to Java’s in-built classes
  • Transitive – if s1.equals(s2) and s2.equals(s3) then s1.equals(s3) should also be true
  • Consistent- if s1.equals(s2) then they should remain equal until one of them is modified.  Likewise if they are not equals then they should remain unequal until they are modified.’
  • Null Comparison- s1.equals(null)  should always return null and not NPE.
  • Equals & Hashcode relationship – If s1.equals(s2) then s1.hashCode() == s2.hashCode();  But if 2 objects hashcode is same it does not mean that those 2 objects as same
  • hashCode() is an hash of any object.  Always use the same data that is used in comparison in equals() method for generating hashCode().
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