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Literal

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Definition:

A literal is a value that can be written directly into a Java program. The compiler can calculate the value it represents because most primitive data types have their own literal pattern.

Literal patterns:
  • whole numbers are int values (e.g., 123).
  • whole numbers followed by an "L" (or "l") are long values (e.g., 6720000000L). Note, long variables can be assigned a value using an int literal - a long literal is only needed when it is greater than the value an int data type can hold.
  • decimal numbers are double values (e.g., 1.2) Note, you can also follow a decimal number with a "D" or "d" to explicitly define it as a double value.
  • decimal numbers followed by an "F" or "f" are float values (e.g., 0.2F).
  • truth values are boolean values (i.e., true, false).
  • single characters in single quotes are character values (e.g., 'a').

  • characters in double quotes are string values (e.g., "abc").
  • whole numbers preceded by "0x" are hexadecimal numbers (e.g., 0xFF).
  • whole numbers preceded by "0" are octal numbers (e.g., 0647).
Examples:

Using literals to assign a value to an int variable. An int literal:

 int numOfDays = 7; 
A hexadecimal literal:
 int hexNumber = 0x5F; 

Glossary:

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