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About Dustin Marx

Dustin Marx

Converting Collections to Maps with JDK 8

I have run into the situation several times where it is desirable to store multiple objects in a Map instead of a Set or List because there are some advantages from using a Map of unique identifying information to the objects. Java 8 has made this translation easier than ever with streams and the Collectors.toMap(…) methods.

One situation in which it has been useful to use a Map instead of a Set is when working with objects that lack or have sketchy equals(Object) or hashCode() implementations, but do have a field that uniquely identifies the objects. In those cases, if I cannot add or fix the objects’ underlying implementations, I can gain better uniqueness guarantees by using a Map of the uniquely identifying field of the class (key) to the class’s instantiated object (value). Perhaps a more frequent scenario when I prefer Map to List or Set is when I need to lookup items in the collection by a specific uniquely identifying field. A map lookup on a uniquely identifying key is speedy and often much faster than depending on iteration and comparing each object with invocation to the equals(Object) method.

With JDK 8, it’s easier than ever to construct a Map from an existing List or Set. To help demonstrate this, a simple Book class will be used. This Book class does not override equals(Object) or hashCode() from the Object class and so is not an appropriate class to use in a Set or as a Map key. However, its getIsbn() method returns an International Standard Book Number that is assumed unique for purposes of this demonstration.

Book.java

package dustin.examples.jdk8;

/**
 * Represents a book, but does not override {@code equals(Object)}
 * or {@code hashCode()}.
 */
public class Book
{
   /** International Standard Book Number (ISBN-13). */
   final String isbn;

   /** Title of book. */
   final String title;

   /** Edition of book. */
   final int edition;

   /**
    * Constructor.
    *
    * @param newIsbn International Standard Book Number (-13).
    * @param newTitle Title.
    * @param newEdition Edition.
    */
   public Book(final String newIsbn, final String newTitle, final int newEdition)
   {
      isbn = newIsbn;
      title = newTitle;
      edition = newEdition;
   }

   /**
    * Provide ISBN-13 identifier associated with this book.
    *
    * @return ISBN-13 identifier.
    */
   public String getIsbn()
   {
      return isbn;
   }

   /**
    * Provide title of this book.
    *
    * @return Book's title.
    */
   public String getTitle()
   {
      return title;
   }

   /**
    * Provide edition of this book.
    *
    * @return Book's edition.
    */
   public int getEdition()
   {
      return edition;
   }

   @Override
   public String toString()
   {
      return title + " (Edition " + edition + ") - ISBN-13: " + isbn;
   }
}

With this class in place, the demonstration class CollectionToMapDemo shows how easy it is with JDK 8 to convert various Java collection types (Set, List, and even arrays) to a Map.

CollectionToMapDemo.java

package dustin.examples.jdk8;

import static java.lang.System.out;

import java.util.Arrays;
import java.util.HashSet;
import java.util.List;
import java.util.Map;
import java.util.Set;
import java.util.stream.Collectors;

/**
 * Demonstrates conversion of Java collections to Java Maps.
 */
public class CollectionToMapDemo
{
   /**
    * Multiple instances of Book, a class that lacks a proper
    * equals(Object) method, but for which its getIsbn() method
    * is assumed to return a unique identifier for each instance.
    */
   private static final Book[] books;

   static
   {
      books = new Book[]
         {
            new Book("978-0-201-31005-4", "Effective Java", 1),
            new Book("978-0-321-35668-0", "Effective Java", 2),
            new Book("978-0-13-468599-1", "Effective Java", 3)
         };
   }

   /**
    * Convert provided array of Book instances to Map of each Book's ISBN to
    * that instance of the Book.
    * 
    * @param booksArray Array of Book instances.
    * @return Map of each book's ISBN (key) to the book's full instance (value).
    */
   private static Map<String, Book> convertArrayToMap(final Book[] booksArray)
   {
      return Arrays.stream(books).collect(
         Collectors.toMap(Book::getIsbn, book -> book));
   }

   /**
    * Convert provided List of Book instances to Map of each Book's ISBN to
    * that instance of the Book.
    *
    * @param booksList List of Book instances.
    * @return Map of each book's ISBN (key) to the book's full instance (value).
    */
   private static Map<String, Book> convertListToMap(final List<Book> booksList)
   {
      return booksList.stream().collect(
         Collectors.toMap(Book::getIsbn, book -> book));
   }

   /**
    * Convert provided Set of Book instances to Map of each Book's ISBN to
    * that instance of the Book.
    *
    * @param booksSet Set of Book instances.
    * @return Map of each book's ISBN (key) to the book's full instance (value).
    */
   private static Map<String, Book> convertSetToMap(final Set<Book> booksSet)
   {
      return booksSet.stream().collect(
         Collectors.toMap(Book::getIsbn, book -> book));
   }

   public static void main(final String[] arguments)
   {
      out.println("ARRAY->MAP:\n" + convertArrayToMap(books));

      final List<Book> booksList = Arrays.asList(books);
      out.println("LIST->MAP:\n" + convertListToMap(booksList));

      final Set<Book> booksSet
         = new HashSet<>(Arrays.stream(books).collect(Collectors.toSet()));
      out.println("SET->MAP:\n" + convertSetToMap(booksSet));
   }
}

The most important methods in the class listing just shown are convertArrayToMap(Book[]), convertListToMap(List<Book>), and convertSetToMap(Set<Book>). All three implementations are the same once a stream based on the underlying Set, List, or array has been accessed. In all three cases, it’s merely a matter of using one of the stream‘s collect() method (a reduction operator that is typically preferable over sequential iteration) and passing it an implementation of the Collector interface that is provided via a predefined toMap() Collector from the Collectors class.

The output from running this demonstration class against the instances of Book is shown next:

ARRAY->MAP:
{978-0-201-31005-4=Effective Java (Edition 1) - ISBN-13: 978-0-201-31005-4, 978-0-321-35668-0=Effective Java (Edition 2) - ISBN-13: 978-0-321-35668-0, 978-0-13-468599-1=Effective Java (Edition 3) - ISBN-13: 978-0-13-468599-1}
LIST->MAP:
{978-0-201-31005-4=Effective Java (Edition 1) - ISBN-13: 978-0-201-31005-4, 978-0-321-35668-0=Effective Java (Edition 2) - ISBN-13: 978-0-321-35668-0, 978-0-13-468599-1=Effective Java (Edition 3) - ISBN-13: 978-0-13-468599-1}
SET->MAP:
{978-0-201-31005-4=Effective Java (Edition 1) - ISBN-13: 978-0-201-31005-4, 978-0-321-35668-0=Effective Java (Edition 2) - ISBN-13: 978-0-321-35668-0, 978-0-13-468599-1=Effective Java (Edition 3) - ISBN-13: 978-0-13-468599-1}

I have run into several situations in which it has been advantageous to have multiple objects in a Map of unique identifier to full instance of those objects, but have been given the objects in a Set, List, or array. Although it’s never been particularly difficult to convert these Sets, Lists, and arrays to Maps in Java, it’s easier than ever in Java 8 to make this conversion.

Published on Java Code Geeks with permission by Dustin Marx, partner at our JCG program. See the original article here: Converting Collections to Maps with JDK 8

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