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Interesting Java Language Puzzle

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We ran into an unexpected result as part of Java's auto boxing feature. At least I think it is related to auto boxing. See the following code snippet
package com.foo;

public class AutoBoxTest {

	public static void main(String[] args) {
		Boolean abc = new Boolean(false);
		setMe(getThisValue() || abc == null? false: abc); 
	static public Boolean getThisValue() {
		return new Boolean(true);
	static public void setMe(Boolean pValue) {
		System.out.println("Value is : " + pValue);

The result? Value is : false

Huh? It turns out changing the call to setMe() as follows "fixes" the issue, I'd just like to know if anyone can explain why?

   Boolean abc = new Boolean(false);
   setMe(getThisValue() || (abc == null? false: abc)); 

The result is: Value is : true Strange.

Your rating: None Average: 2.3 (3 votes)
Published at DZone with permission of its author, Tyler Van Gorder.

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)


Mirosław Pluta replied on Fri, 2010/08/27 - 5:16am

Well, it's quite obvious. It's about operators precedence: http://download.oracle.com/javase/tutorial/java/nutsandbolts/operators.html   || binds stronger than the ternary operator, so what you're executing is :

(getThisValues() || abc == null ) ? false : abc

Philipp Neumann replied on Fri, 2010/08/27 - 5:16am

Look up operator precedence:

setMe(getThisValue() || abc == null? false: abc);   

is similar to

setMe((getThisValue() || abc == null) ? false: abc); 

and is always false.

Mustafa Dasgin replied on Fri, 2010/08/27 - 5:25am

It is about operator precedence. Try this: public class NormalTest { public static void main(String[] args) { boolean abc = false; setMe(getThisValue() || abc != false? false: abc); } static public boolean getThisValue() { return true; } static public void setMe(boolean pValue) { System.out.println("Value is : " + pValue); } } Again false..

Jim Frohnhofer replied on Fri, 2010/08/27 - 8:13am

While you're at it, check the Javadocs on Boolean:


Note: It is rarely appropriate to use this constructor. Unless a new instance is required, the static factory valueOf(boolean) is generally a better choice. It is likely to yield significantly better space and time performance.


Tyler Van Gorder replied on Fri, 2010/08/27 - 10:58am

Thanks, makes total sense.

Vassil Stoyanov replied on Fri, 2010/08/27 - 11:38am

Operator priority ??

Claude Lalyre replied on Fri, 2010/08/27 - 7:13pm

1) First case, we have
(getThisValue() || abc == null? false: abc);
i.e  (getThisValue() || abc == null) ? false: abc;
i.e (True || abc == null) ? false : abc
i.e True ? false : abc
i.e false

2) Second case, we have
getThisValue() || (abc == null? false: abc)
i.e True || (abc == null ? false : abc)
i.e True || (whatever)
i.e True



Peter Karussell replied on Mon, 2010/08/30 - 2:36am

Hey folks ... why voting his post (so much) down?? Because he is courageous and posted his nescience?

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