What are the differences between compareTo() and compare() methods in Java?

JavaObject Oriented ProgrammingProgramming

The Comparable interface provides a compareTo() method for the ordering of objects. This ordering is called the class’s natural ordering and the compareTo() method is called its natural comparison method. The Comparator interface provides the methods for performing sorting operations. By using the Comparator interface we can do multiple sorting sequences. We can sort the objects with respect to multiple data members.

compareTo()

compareTo() method compares this object with an o1 object and returns an integer.

Syntax

public int compareTo(Object o1)
  • It returns –ve number if & only if this object is less than o1.
  • It returns +ve number if & only if this object is greater than o1.
  • It returns 0 if & only if this object is equal to o1.

Example

Live Demo

import java.util.*;
class Employee implements Comparable {
   String name;
   int age;
   Employee(String name, int age) {
      this.name = name;
      this.age = age;
   }
   //overridden compareTo method
   @Override
   public int compareTo(Object o) {
      return this.age - ((Employee) o).age;
   }
}
public class ComparableDemo {
   public static void main(String[] args) {
      // CREATION
      List list = new ArrayList<>();
      //INSERTION
      list.add(new Employee("Krishna", 30));
      list.add(new Employee("Archana", 28));
      list.add(new Employee("Vineet", 25));
      list.add(new Employee("Ramesh", 38));
      list.add(new Employee("Alok", 28));
      System.out.println("Before sorting: ");
      for (Employee e : list) {
         System.out.print("[ EMP : age = " + e.age + " ] ");
      }
      //SORTING
      Collections.sort(list);
      System.out.println("After sorting: ");
      for (Employee e : list) {
         System.out.print("[ EMP : age = " + e.age + " ] ");
      }
   }
}

Output

Before sorting:
[ EMP : age = 2 ] [ EMP : age = 33 ] [ EMP : age = 11 ] [ EMP : age = 34 ] [ EMP : age = 7 ]
After sorting:
[ EMP : age = 2 ] [ EMP : age = 7 ] [ EMP : age = 11 ] [ EMP : age = 33 ] [ EMP : age = 34 ]

compare()

compare() method compares the first object with the second object and returns an integer

Syntax

public int compare (Object o1,Object o2)
  • It returns –ve number if & only if o1 is less than o2
  • It returns +ve number if & only if o1 is greater than o2
  • It returns 0 if & only if o1 is equal to o2

Example

Live Demo

import java.util.*;
class Student {
   String name;
   int age, roll;
   Student(String name, int age, int roll) {
      this.name = name;
      this.age = age;
      this.roll = roll;
   }
}
class AgeComparator implements Comparator {
   @Override
   public int compare(Object o1, Object o2) {
      return ((Student) o1).age - ((Student) o2).age;
   }
}
class RollComparator implements Comparator {
   @Override
   public int compare(Object o1, Object o2) {
      return ((Student) o1).roll - ((Student) o2).roll;
   }
}
public class ComparatorDemo {
   public static void main(String[] args) {
      List list = new ArrayList<>();
      list.add(new Student("Ramesh", 30, 20));
      list.add(new Student("Adithya", 7, 10));
      list.add(new Student("Krishna", 25, 5));
      list.add(new Student("Vineet", 24, 15));
      System.out.println("BEFORE SORTING");
      for (Student e : list) {
         System.out.println("[ STU : name = " + e.name + " age = " + e.age + " roll = " + e.roll + "]");
      }
      Collections.sort(list,new AgeComparator());
      System.out.println("AFTER SORTING WITH AGE");
      for (Student e : list) {
         System.out.println("[ STU : name = " + e.name + " age = " + e.age + " ]");
      }
      Collections.sort(list,new RollComparator());
      System.out.println("AFTER SORTING WITH ROLL");
      for (Student e : list) {
         System.out.println("[ STU : name = " + e.name + " roll = " + e.roll + " ]");
      }
   }
}

Output

BEFORE SORTING
[ STU : name = Ramesh age = 30 roll = 20 ]
[ STU : name = Adithya age = 7 roll = 10 ]
[ STU : name = Krishna age = 25 roll = 5 ]
[ STU : name = Vineet age = 24 roll = 15 ]
AFTER SORTING WITH AGE
[ STU : name = Adithya age = 7 ]
[ STU : name = Vineet age = 24 ]
[ STU : name = Krishna age = 25 ]
[ STU : name = Ramesh age = 30 ]
AFTER SORTING WITH ROLL
[ STU : name = Krishna roll = 5 ]
[ STU : name = Adithya roll = 10 ]
[ STU : name = Vineet roll = 15 ]
[ STU : name = Ramesh roll = 20 ]
raja
Published on 21-Jun-2019 16:05:01
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