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Day 0: Java Tutorial

This is an Android workshop, not a Java workshop. This tutorial is tailored to teach you the Java that is necessary for the workshop, and is not exhaustive.

We assume you have some Python experience from Computatoinal Thinking for Design or Digital World

Psst, for now, use for an easy-to-use online Java code editor (instead of having to figure out Android Studio). Press the execute on the top left to run your code.

Code Comments

Recall that in Python, you used # and """ """" for code comments. E.g.

# This is a python comment

print("Not a comment") # Now this is a comment after some code

This is a
multiline python

In Java, you use // and /* */ for code comments.

Below is an example (Note that this is not a full program, see the next section for more information):

// This is a Java comment

System.out.println("Not a comment"); // This is a comment after some code

This is a
multiline Java

Printing Hello World To Terminal (Full program)

Below is a Python3 command-line program that prints Hello World.

print("Hello World") # Prints Hello World

Here is a Java command-line program that prints Hello World.

public class Test { // Define class with same name as file
  public static void main(String[] args) { // Defining 'main' function
    System.out.println("Hello World"); // Print "Hello World". Note the ;
  } // Denotes the end of the 'main' function
} // Denotes the end of the 'Test' class


  • In a typical Java file, any runnable code must be contained within a class. A class is usually specified using the class keyword, followed by the name you want to give to the class.
  • The public keyword before the class is to make the class visible to other Java files.
  • The name of the class is usually the same as the name of the file (without the .java)
  • By convention, Java class names (and file names) begin with a capital letter (e.g. Test)
  • Curly braces { } are used to section/encapsulate blocks of code (in Python you used tabs or spaces to section blocks of code for cases like for loops)
  • All java files end with a .java file extension
  • For a Java Command Line Program (Not an Android App), the code you want to run at program execution has to be encapsulated inside a function named main (i.e. public static void main(String[] args)) and curly braces.
  • The equivalent of print() in Java is System.out.println()
  • The end of a line of code must be denoted by a semicolon ; (You usually don't put ; after braces)

Try it out on the online Java editor!

Variables and Functions

In Java, all variables have types. Some common variable types include:

  • String (Notice the first letter of String is capitalised)
  • int
  • double (Floating-point number)
  • boolean

Python also has types for its variables, but you dont explicitly declare them. You may have learnt that Python is a dynamically-typed language. That is to say, the types of your variables (as well as the return type of your functions) are resolved only at runtime. Consider the following Python program that declares a few variables of different types:

a = "I am a string" # A string
b = 2 # An int
c = 2.0 # A floating-point number
d = False # A boolean
print(addOne(b)) # Prints 3

def addOne(x): # A function that returns an int
  return x + 1

Java is a statically-typed language, meaning types of your variables must be resolved at compile time. Therefore, you must declare the types of your variables and the return types of your functions.

This is the Java equivalent program:

public class Test {
  public static void main(String[] args) {
    String a = "I am a string"; // A string
    int b = 2; // An int
    double c = 2.0; // A floating-point number
    boolean d = false; // A boolean
    System.out.println(addOne(b)); // Prints 3

  // Functions called from another static function (e.g. main) must also be static
  // First int denotes return type of function
  // Second int denotes type of function parameter
  static int addOne(int x) { // Start of function
    return x + 1;
  } // End of function

Type-casting (Strings and Integers)

Recall that in Python, sometimes you need to convert a variable from one type to another (most commonly from int to String and vice versa). Here is an example

a = 1 # An int
b = str(a) # Convert a to string

c = "2" # A string
d = int(c) # Convert c to int

In Java, you perform type-casting this way:

public class Test {
  public static void main(String[] args) {
    int a = 1; // An int
    String b = Integer.toString(a); // Convert a to string

    String c = "2"; // A string
    int d = Integer.parseInt(c); // Convert c to int

If Statements

Recall in python how to write if/else statements to compare strings:

a = "cat"

if a == "dog":
  print("I am a dog")
elif a == "cat":
  print("I am a cat")
  print("I am not a cat or dog")

In Java, not only do if statements have a slightly different syntax, String comparison is different.

  • elif is else if in java
  • Use curly braces instead of semi-colon
  • Use .equals() instead of == to compare strings (NOTE: == works sometimes (such as in this case), but many other times it doesn't work the way we want it to. See this post for a good explanation why)
public class Test {
  public static void main(String[] args) {
    String a = "cat";

    if (a.equals("dog")) {
      System.out.println("I am a dog");
    } else if (a.equals("cat")) {
      System.out.println("I am a cat");
    } else {
      System.out.println("I am not a cat or dog");

Object-Oriented Programming

Declaring a class in Python and creating an instance:

class SomeClass:
  def __init__(self, x, y): # Class constructor
    self.x = x  # Class attribute declared and assigned here
    self.y = y

sc = SomeClass(1, 2) # Instantiate an object of x = 1 and y = 2
print(sc.x) # Prints 1

In Java:

  • Class attributes (which are also variables) must be declared within the class itself at the top level.
  • Constructors are defined using the name of the Class itself, instead of __init__
  • Use this instead of self to refer to class attributes.
  • Declare the type of the class object when instantiating it
  • Use new keyword during instantiation

Declaring a class in Java and creating an instance:

class SomeClass {
  int x; // Class attribute declared here
  int y;

  SomeClass(int x, int y) {
    this.x = x; // Class attribute assigned here
    this.y = y;

public class Test {
  public static void main(String[] args) {
    SomeClass sc = new SomeClass(1, 2); // Instantiate an object of x = 1 and y = 2
    System.out.println(sc.x); // Prints 1


Java Tutorial