Skip to content

What’s the nearest substitute for a function pointer in Java?

I have a method that’s about ten lines of code. I want to create more methods that do exactly the same thing, except for a small calculation that’s going to change one line of code. This is a perfect application for passing in a function pointer to replace that one line, but Java doesn’t have function pointers. What’s my best alternative?



Anonymous inner class

Say you want to have a function passed in with a String param that returns an int.
First you have to define an interface with the function as its only member, if you can’t reuse an existing one.

interface StringFunction {
    int func(String param);

A method that takes the pointer would just accept StringFunction instance like so:

public void takingMethod(StringFunction sf) {
   int i = sf.func("my string");
   // do whatever ...

And would be called like so:

ref.takingMethod(new StringFunction() {
    public int func(String param) {
        // body

EDIT: In Java 8, you could call it with a lambda expression:

ref.takingMethod(param -> bodyExpression);
User contributions licensed under: CC BY-SA
3 People found this is helpful