Java Made Simple: What is final keyword with Example?

Java comes with a final keyword that can be applied to variables, classes and methods and in each place when applied gives different meaning.
  1. A final variable cannot be reassigned.
  2. A final method cannot be overridden.
  3. A final class cannot be extended.

Eventhough, final keyword works differently, one common purpose(functionality) we can derive is something cannot be changed or cannot be done.

Let us apply final to the above three entities programmatically one-by-one.

final keyword with Variable: 1. A final variable cannot be reassigned

Java does not support const keyword of C/C++. In its place, in Java, final keyword is used. Once a final variable is given a value, it cannot be changed again. final variable value is fixed.

public class Demo
{
  public static void main(String args[])
  {
    int x = 10;		        // non-final and CAN be changed (or reassigned)
    System.out.println(x);	// prints 10
    x = 20;			// reassigned
    System.out.println(x);	// prints 20

    final int y = 100;		// final and CANNOT be changed
    System.out.println(y);	// prints 100
    // y = 200;		        // raises compilation error as y cannot be reassigned
  }
}

final keyword with Method: 2. A final method cannot be overridden

Super class methods can be overridden by subclass with its own functionality. That is, subclass uses the same method name of super class and gives different output. This is called "method overriding”, a feature Java supports.

Sometimes, the super class can impose a restriction on subclass saying that its methods (may be one or all) cannot be overridden by subclass. Then, the super class simply adds "final" to its method declaration. By adding final to its method, super class prevents subclass to override. That is, final methods of super class cannot be overridden by subclass. As usual, non-final methods can be overridden at the choice of the subclass.

Let us explain through an example.

class Test
{
  public final void display() 		// final method and CANNOT be overridden; else compilation error
  {				        // but can be called or used by subclass
    System.out.println("Fom super class Test display() method");
  }  
  public void show() 			// non-final method and CAN be overridden
  {				        // it is not compulsion; at the liberty of subclass it can be overridden
    System.out.println("Fom super class Test show() method");
  }  
}
public class Demo extends Test
{
  // public void display() {  }		// raises error as final dispaly() or Test cannot be overridden

  public void show() 			// as show() is non-final in Test, it can be overridden
  {	
    System.out.println("Fom sub class Demo show() method");
  }  
  public static void main(String args[])
  {
    Demo d1 = new Demo();
    d1.display();			// subclass can make use of super class final method by composition
    d1.show();			        // calls subclass own show() method
  }
}

Code is well commented.

final keyword with Class: 3. A final class cannot be extended

Sometimes, a class may not be willing to be inherited by other classes. That is, other classes cannot extend. To achieve this, the class simply adds final its class declaration. Explained with an example.

final class Test			// observe, Test is declared as final
{				        // so, no other class can extend
  public void display() 		
  {				
    System.out.println("Fom super class final Test display() method");
  }  
}
public class Demo  // extends Test	// gives compilation error if comments are removed
{
  public static void main(String args[])
  {
    Test t1 = new Test();	        // this is called composition	
    t1.display();			
  }
}

final keyword

final class methods can be used by other classes by composition.

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