Java Language Lists

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A list is an ordered collection of values. In Java, lists are part of the Java Collections Framework. Lists implement the java.util.List interface, which extends java.util.Collection.


  • ls.add(E element); //Adds an element
  • ls.remove(E element); //Removes an element
  • for(E element : ls){} //Iterates over each element
  • ls.toArray(new String[ls.length]); //Converts a List of Strings to an array of Strings
  • ls.get(int index); //Returns the element at the specified index.
  • ls.set(int index, E element); //Replaces the element at a specified position .
  • ls.isEmpty(); //Returns true if the array contains no elements, otherwise it returns false.
  • ls.indexOf(Object o); //Returns the index of the first location of the specified element o, or, if it is not present, returns -1.
  • ls.lastIndexOf(Object o); //Returns the index of the last location of the specified element o, or, if it is not present, returns -1.
  • ls.size(); //Returns the number of elements in the List.


A list is an object which stores a an ordered collection of values. "Ordered" means the values are stored in a particular order--one item comes first, one comes second, and so on. The individual values are commonly called "elements". Java lists typically provide these features:

  • Lists may contain zero or more elements.
  • Lists may contain duplicate values. In other words, an element can be inserted into a list more than once.
  • Lists store their elements in a particular order, meaning one element comes first, one comes next, and so on.
  • Each element has an index indicating its position within the list. The first element has index 0, the next has index 1, and so on.
  • Lists permit inserting elements at the beginning, at the end, or at any index within the list.
  • Testing whether a list contains a particular value generally means examining each element in the list. This means that the time to perform this check is O(n), proportional to the size of the list.

Adding a value to a list at some point other than the end will move all of the following elements "down" or "to the right". In other words, adding an element at index n moves the element which used to be at index n to index n+1, and so on. For example:

List<String> list = new ArrayList<>();
System.out.println(list.indexOf("world"));      // Prints "0"
// Inserting a new value at index 0 moves "world" to index 1
list.add(0, "Hello");
System.out.println(list.indexOf("world"));      // Prints "1"
System.out.println(list.indexOf("Hello"));      // Prints "0"

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