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Earlier modules have touched briefly on the topic of operators. This module discusses Java operators in depth.

Revised: Mon Mar 28 13:56:51 CDT 2016

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Earlier modules have touched briefly on the topic of operators . This module discusses Java operators in depth.

Viewing tip

I recommend that you open another copy of this module in a separate browser window and use the following links to easily find and view the listings while you are reading about them.


  • Listing 1 . Illustration of prefix and postfix notation.
  • Listing 2 . Illustration of relational operators.


The first step in learning to use a new programming language is usually to learn the foundation concepts such as

  • variables,
  • operators,
  • types,
  • expressions,
  • flow-of-control, etc.

This module concentrates on the operators used in Java.


Unary and binary operators

Java provides a set of operators that can be used to perform an action on one, two, or three operands. An operator that operates on one operand is called a unary operator. An operator that operates on two operands is called a binary operator. An operator that operates on three operands is called a ternary operator.

Some operators can behave either as a unary or as a binary operator. The best known such operator is probably the minus sign (-) . As a binary operator, the minus sign causes its right operand to be subtracted from its left operand. As a unaryoperator, the minus sign causes the algebraic sign of the right operand to be changed.

A ternary operator

Java has only one operator that takes three operands. It is a conditional operator, which I sometimes refer to as a cheap if statement.

The first operand is a boolean expression, which is followed by a questionmark character (?) . The question mark is followed by a second operand, which is followed by a colon character (:) . The colon character is followed by the third operand.

If the boolean expression evaluates to true, the value of the operand following the ? is returned. Otherwise, the value of the operand following the : is returned.

An example of the syntax follows:

Ternary operator syntax

boolean expression ? value1 : value2

Overloaded operators

Unlike C++, Java does not support the creation of overloaded operators in program code. (If you don't know what this means, don't worry about it.)

Operators from previous programs

The statements in the following note box illustrate the use of the following operators from Java programs in earlier modules :

  • =
  • !=
  • +
  • (char)
Operators from previous programs int ch1, ch2 = '0'; while( (ch1 = System.in.read() ) != '#') ch2 = ch1;System.out.println("The char before the # was " + (char)ch2);

The plus and cast operators

Of particular interest in this list is the plus sign (+) and the cast operator (char) .

Questions & Answers

How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
How can I make nanorobot?
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
how can I make nanorobot?
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
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