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Thinking in Java
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Local inner classes

As noted earlier, inner classes can also be created inside code blocks, typically inside the body of a method. A local inner class cannot have an access specifier because it isn’t part of the outer class, but it does have access to the final variables in the current code block and all the members of the enclosing class. Here’s an example comparing the creation of a local inner class with an anonymous inner class:

//: c08:LocalInnerClass.java
// Holds a sequence of Objects.
import com.bruceeckel.simpletest.*;

interface Counter {
  int next();
}

public class LocalInnerClass {
  private static Test monitor = new Test();
  private int count = 0;
  Counter getCounter(final String name) {
    // A local inner class:
    class LocalCounter implements Counter {
      public LocalCounter() {
        // Local inner class can have a constructor
        System.out.println("LocalCounter()");
      }
      public int next() {
        System.out.print(name); // Access local final
        return count++;
      }
    }
    return new LocalCounter();
  }
  // The same thing with an anonymous inner class:
  Counter getCounter2(final String name) {
    return new Counter() {
      // Anonymous inner class cannot have a named
      // constructor, only an instance initializer:
      {
        System.out.println("Counter()");
      }
      public int next() {
        System.out.print(name); // Access local final
        return count++;
      }
    };
  }
  public static void main(String[] args) {
    LocalInnerClass lic = new LocalInnerClass();
    Counter
      c1 = lic.getCounter("Local inner "),
      c2 = lic.getCounter2("Anonymous inner ");
    for(int i = 0; i < 5; i++)
      System.out.println(c1.next());
    for(int i = 0; i < 5; i++)
      System.out.println(c2.next());
    monitor.expect(new String[] {
      "LocalCounter()",
      "Counter()",
      "Local inner 0",
      "Local inner 1",
      "Local inner 2",
      "Local inner 3",
      "Local inner 4",
      "Anonymous inner 5",
      "Anonymous inner 6",
      "Anonymous inner 7",
      "Anonymous inner 8",
      "Anonymous inner 9"
    });
  }
} ///:~


Counter returns the next value in a sequence. It is implemented as both a local class and an anonymous inner class, both of which have the same behaviors and capabilities. Since the name of the local inner class is not accessible outside the method, the only justification for using a local inner class instead of an anonymous inner class is if you need a named constructor and/or overloaded constructor, since an anonymous inner class can only use instance initialization.

The only reason to make a local inner class rather than an anonymous inner class is if you need to make more than one object of that class.
Thinking in Java
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   Reproduced courtesy of Bruce Eckel, MindView, Inc. Design by Interspire