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33_[자바] this

The this keyword

 

Suppose you’re inside a method and you’d like to get the reference to the current object. Since that reference is passed secretly by the compiler, there’s no identifier for it. However, for this purpose there’s a keyword: this. The this keyword—which can be used only inside a non-static method—produces the reference to the object that the method has been called for. You can treat the reference just like any other object reference. Keep in mind that if you’re calling a method of your class from within another method of your class, you don’t need to use this. You simply call the method. The current this reference is automatically used for the other method. Thus you can say:

//: initialization/Apricot.java

public class Apricot {

    void pick() { /* ... */ }

    void pit() { pick(); /* ... */ }

} ///:~

Inside pit( ), you could say this.pick( ) but there’s no need to.1 The compiler does it for you automatically. The this keyword is used only for those special cases in which you need to explicitly use the reference to the current object. For example, it’s often used in return statements when you want to return the reference to the current object:

//: initialization/Leaf.java
// Simple use of the "this" keyword.

public class Leaf {
  int i = 0;
  Leaf increment() {
    i++;
    return this;
  }
  void print() {
    System.out.println("i = " + i);
  }
  public static void main(String[] args) {
    Leaf x = new Leaf();
    x.increment().increment().increment().print();
  }
} /* Output:
i = 3
*///:~

Because increment( ) returns the reference to the current object via the this keyword, multiple operations can easily be performed on the same object.

The this keyword is also useful for passing the current object to another method:

//: initialization/PassingThis.java

class Person {
  public void eat(Apple apple) {
    Apple peeled = apple.getPeeled();
    System.out.println("Yummy");
  }
}

class Peeler {
  static Apple peel(Apple apple) {
    // ... remove peel
    return apple; // Peeled
  }
}

class Apple {
  Apple getPeeled() { return Peeler.peel(this); }
}

public class PassingThis {
  public static void main(String[] args) {
    new Person().eat(new Apple());
  }
} /* Output:
Yummy
*///:~

Apple needs to call Peeler.peel( ), which is a foreign utility method that performs an operation that, for some reason, needs to be external to Apple (perhaps the external method can be applied across many different classes, and you don’t want to repeat the code). To pass itself to the foreign method, it must use this.

 

Calling constructors from constructors

When you write several constructors for a class, there are times when you’d like to call one constructor from another to avoid duplicating code. You can make such a call by using the this keyword.

Normally, when you say this, it is in the sense of “this object” or “the current object,” and by itself it produces the reference to the current object. In a constructor, the this keyword takes on a different meaning when you give it an argument list. It makes an explicit call to the constructor that matches that argument list. Thus you have a straightforward way to call other constructors:

//: initialization/Flower.java
// Calling constructors with "this"
import static net.mindview.util.Print.*;

public class Flower {
  int petalCount = 0;
  String s = "initial value";
  Flower(int petals) {
    petalCount = petals;
    print("Constructor w/ int arg only, petalCount= "
      + petalCount);
  }
  Flower(String ss) {
    print("Constructor w/ String arg only, s = " + ss);
    s = ss;
  }
  Flower(String s, int petals) {
    this(petals);
//!    this(s); // Can't call two!
    this.s = s; // Another use of "this"
    print("String & int args");
  }
  Flower() {
    this("hi", 47);
    print("default constructor (no args)");
  }
  void printPetalCount() {
//! this(11); // Not inside non-constructor!
    print("petalCount = " + petalCount + " s = "+ s);
  }
  public static void main(String[] args) {
    Flower x = new Flower();
    x.printPetalCount();
  }
} /* Output:
Constructor w/ int arg only, petalCount= 47
String & int args
default constructor (no args)
petalCount = 47 s = hi
*///:~

 

The constructor Flower(String s, int petals) shows that, while you can call one constructor using this, you cannot call two. In addition, the constructor call must be the first thing you do, or you’ll get a compiler error message.

This example also shows another way you’ll see this used. Since the name of the argument s and the name of the member data s are the same, there’s an ambiguity. You can resolve it using this.s, to say that you’re referring to the member data. You’ll often see this form used in Java code, and it’s used in numerous places in this book.

In printPetalCount( ) you can see that the compiler won’t let you call a constructor from inside any method other than a constructor.

The meaning of static

With the this keyword in mind, you can more fully understand what it means to make a method static. It means that there is no this for that particular method. You cannot call non-static methods from inside static methods (although the reverse is possible), and you can call a static method for the class itself, without any object. In fact, that’s primarily what a static method is for. It’s as if you’re creating the equivalent of a global method. However, global methods are not permitted in Java, and putting the static method inside a class allows it access to other static methods and to static fields.

Some people argue that static methods are not object-oriented, since they do have the semantics of a global method; with a static method, you don’t send a message to an object, since there’s no this. This is probably a fair argument, and if you find yourself using a lot of static methods, you should probably rethink your strategy. However, statics are pragmatic, and there are times when you genuinely need them, so whether or not they are “proper OOP” should be left to the theoreticians.

 

[Thinking in Java 116-]

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