Programming Tutorials

append() in Java

By: Jagan in Java Tutorials on 2007-09-12  

The append() method concatenates the string representation of any other type of data to the end of the invoking StringBuffer object. It has overloaded versions for all the built-in types and for Object. Here are a few of its forms: StringBuffer append(String str)

StringBuffer append(int num)
StringBuffer append(Object obj)

String.valueOf() is called for each parameter to obtain its string representation. The result is appended to the current StringBuffer object. The buffer itself is returned by each version of append(). This allows subsequent calls to be chained together, as shown in the following example:

// Demonstrate append().
class appendDemo {
    public static void main(String args[]) {
        String s;
        int a = 42;
        StringBuffer sb = new StringBuffer(40);
        s = sb.append("a = ").append(a).append("!").toString();

The output of this example is shown here:

a = 42!

The append() method is most often called when the + operator is used on String objects. Java automatically changes modifications to a String instance into similar operations on a StringBuffer instance. Thus, a concatenation invokes append() on a StringBuffer object. After the concatenation has been performed, the compiler inserts a call to toString() to turn the modifiable StringBufferback into a constant String. All of this may seem unreasonably complicated. Why not just have one string class and have it behave more or less like StringBuffer? The answer is performance. There are many optimizations that the Java run time can make knowing that Stringobjects are immutable. Thankfully, Java hides most of the complexity of conversion between Strings and StringBuffers. Actually, many programmers will never feel the need to use StringBuffer directly and will be able to express most operations in terms of the + operator on String variables.

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