Cloning in java

  • The process of creating exactly duplicate object is called Cloning.
  • The main purpose of cloning is to maintain backup copy and to preserve state of an object.
  • We can perform cloning by using clone method of object class.
  • clone() method is present in Object class
    Syntax :
    protected native Object clone() throws CloneNotSupportedException;
  • Note : The default cloning provided by object class’s method is called shallow cloning. i.e if we clone an object which contains a object in it then that object is not cloned instead the cloned object point to the same sub object.

Demo Program of Cloning :

package com.clonable.demo1;

public class ClonableDemo {
	public static void main(String[] args) throws CloneNotSupportedException {
		Demo demoObj1 = new Demo();
		demoObj1.setX(10);
		demoObj1.setY(20);
		Demo demoObj2 = demoObj1;
		System.out.println("Initial Object : "+demoObj1);
		demoObj2.setX(30);
		System.out.println("Value is changes due to use of reference : "+demoObj1);
		Demo demoObj3 = (Demo)demoObj1.clone();
		demoObj3.setX(3333);
		demoObj3.setY(3333);
		System.out.println("Value does not change due to use of clone : "+demoObj1);
		System.out.println("Printing Cloned Object : "+demoObj3);
	}
}
class Demo implements Cloneable {
	int x;
	int y;
	public int getX() {
		return x;
	}
	public void setX(int x) {
		this.x = x;
	}
	public int getY() {
		return y;
	}
	public void setY(int y) {
		this.y = y;
	}
	public String toString(){
		return "X : " +x+ " Y : "+y;
	}
	public Object clone() throws CloneNotSupportedException {
		return super.clone();
	}
}

Points to remember while writing the above code :

  • clone() method is present in Object class and not in Cloneable Interface
  • clone() method is a protected method hence you may have to override the method to make it visible
  • clone() method returns an Object and we need to type cast it to our required method
  • Clonable Interface is a marker interface and it does not contain any methods.
  • Clonable Interface needs to be implemented to a class to call the clone() method on its object else may result into a runtime exception.

Shallow Cloning :

  • The process of creating bit wise copy of an object is called shallow cloning.
  • If the main object contain primitive variables then exactly duplicate copies will be created in the cloned object.
  • If the main object contain any reference variable then corresponding object wont be created just duplicate reference variable will be created pointing to old contained object
  • Object class clone method is meant for shallow cloning.
  • In shallow cloning by using cloned object reference if we perform any change to the contained object then those changes will be reflected to the main object.
  • To overcome this problem we should go for deep cloning.
  • If object contains only primitive variables then we should go for Shallow Cloning.
package com.cloneable.demo3;

public class DemoShallowCloning {
	public static void main(String[] args) throws CloneNotSupportedException {
		Person tyson = new Person(new Employee(1000),10);
		System.out.println("Tyson Object : "+tyson);
		Person justin = (Person)tyson.clone();
		justin.e.salary=2000;
		justin.age=12;
		System.out.println("Tyson Object's Salary changes even after clone since shallow clone : "+tyson);
	}
}
class Employee{
	public int salary;
	Employee(int salary){
		this.salary = salary;
	}
}
class Person implements Cloneable{
	public int age;
	public Employee e;
	Person(Employee e, int age){
		this.e = e;
		this.age = age;
	}
	public Object clone() throws CloneNotSupportedException {
		return super.clone();
	}
	public String toString() {
		return "Salary : "+e.salary+" Age : "+age;
	}
}
Output

Deep Cloning :

  • The process of creating exactly duplicate independent copy including contained object is called deep cloning.
  • In deep cloning if the main object contain any primitive variables then in the cloned object duplicates copies will be created.
  • If the parent object contains any reference variable then the corresponding contained objects will be created in the cloned copy.
  • By default object class clone method meant for shallow cloning but we can implement deep cloning explicitly by overriding clone method in our class.
  • By using cloned object reference if we perform any change to the contained object then those changes won’t be reflected to the main object.
  • If object contains reference variables then we should go for deep cloning
package com.cloneable.demo2;

public class DemoShallowCloning {
	public static void main(String[] args) throws CloneNotSupportedException {
		Person tyson = new Person(new Employee(1000),10);
		System.out.println("Tyson Object : "+tyson);
		Person justin = (Person)tyson.clone();
		justin.e.salary=2000;
		justin.age=12;
		System.out.println("Tyson Object's Salary remains same after clone since deep cloning : "+tyson);
	}
}
class Employee{
	public int salary;
	Employee(int salary){
		this.salary = salary;
	}
}
class Person implements Cloneable{
	public int age;
	public Employee e;
	Person(Employee e, int age){
		this.e = e;
		this.age = age;
	}
	public Object clone() throws CloneNotSupportedException {
		return new Person(new Employee(this.e.salary),this.age);
	}
	public String toString() {
		return "Salary : "+e.salary+" Age : "+age;
	}
}
Output

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