Bounded types with generics in Java

There may be times when you'll want to restrict the kinds of types that are allowed to be passed to a type parameter. For example, a method that operates on numbers might only want to accept instances of Number or its subclasses. This is what bounded type parameters are for.

To declare a bounded type parameter, list the type parameter's name, followed by the extends keyword, followed by its upper bound.


Following example illustrates how extends is used in a general sense to mean either "extend" (as in classes) or "implements" (as in interfaces). This example is a Generic method to return the largest of three Comparable objects −

Live Demo

public class MaximumTest {
   // determines the largest of three Comparable objects

   public static <T extends Comparable<T>> T maximum(T x, T y, T z) {
      T max = x;   // assume x is initially the largest

      if(y.compareTo(max) > 0) {
         max = y;   // y is the largest so far
      if(z.compareTo(max) > 0) {
         max = z;   // z is the largest now                
      return max;   // returns the largest object  
   public static void main(String args[]) {
      System.out.printf("Max of %d, %d and %d is %d

",3, 4, 5, maximum( 3, 4, 5 ));       System.out.printf("Max of %.1f,%.1f and %.1f is %.1f

",6.6, 8.8, 7.7, maximum( 6.6, 8.8, 7.7 ));       System.out.printf("Max of %s, %s and %s is %s
","pear","apple", "orange", maximum("pear", "apple", "orange"));    } }

This will produce the following result −


Max of 3, 4 and 5 is 5

Max of 6.6,8.8 and 7.7 is 8.8

Max of pear, apple and orange is pear
Samual Sam
Samual Sam

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