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Thinking in Java
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Iterators revisited

We can now demonstrate the true power of the Iterator: the ability to separate the operation of traversing a sequence from the underlying structure of that sequence. The class PrintData (defined earlier in the chapter) uses an Iterator to move through a sequence and call the toString( ) method for every object. In the following example, two different types of containers are created—an ArrayList and a HashMap—and they are each filled with, respectively, Mouse and Hamster objects. (These classes are defined earlier in this chapter.) Because an Iterator hides the structure of the underlying container, Printer.printAll( ) doesn’t know or care what kind of container the Iterator comes from:

// Revisiting Iterators.
import com.bruceeckel.simpletest.*;
import java.util.*;

public class Iterators2 {
  private static Test monitor = new Test();
  public static void main(String[] args) {
    List list = new ArrayList();
    for(int i = 0; i < 5; i++)
      list.add(new Mouse(i));
    Map m = new HashMap();
    for(int i = 0; i < 5; i++)
      m.put(new Integer(i), new Hamster(i));
    monitor.expect(new String[] {
      "This is Mouse #0",
      "This is Mouse #1",
      "This is Mouse #2",
      "This is Mouse #3",
      "This is Mouse #4",
      "4=This is Hamster #4",
      "3=This is Hamster #3",
      "2=This is Hamster #2",
      "1=This is Hamster #1",
      "0=This is Hamster #0"
    }, Test.IGNORE_ORDER);
} ///:~

For the HashMap, the entrySet( ) method produces a Set of Map.entry objects, which contain both the key and the value for each entry, so you see both of them printed.

Note that PrintData.print( ) takes advantage of the fact that the objects in these containers are of class Object so the call toString( ) by System.out.println( ) is automatic. It’s more likely that in your problem, you must make the assumption that your Iterator is walking through a container of some specific type. For example, you might assume that everything in the container is a Shape with a draw( ) method. Then you must downcast from the Object that ) returns to produce a Shape.
Thinking in Java
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   Reproduced courtesy of Bruce Eckel, MindView, Inc. Design by Interspire