Mercer Mercer - 3 months ago 6
Java Question

How to remove duplicates from a list?

I want to remove duplicates from a list but what I am doing is not working:

List<Customer> listCustomer = new ArrayList<Customer>();
for (Customer customer: tmpListCustomer)
{
if (!listCustomer.contains(customer))
{
listCustomer.add(customer);
}
}

Answer

If that code doesn't work, you probably have not implemented equals(Object) on the Customer class appropriately.

Presumably there is some key (let us call it customerId) that uniquely identifies a customer; e.g.

class Customer {
    private String customerId;
    ...

An appropriate definition of equals(Object) would look like this:

    public boolean equals(Object obj) {
        if (obj == this) {
            return true;
        }
        if (!(obj instanceof Customer)) {
            return false;
        }
        Customer other = (Customer) obj;
        return this.customerId.equals(other.customerId);
    }

For completeness, you should also implement hashCode so that two Customer objects that are equal will return the same hash value. A matching hashCode for the above definition of equals would be:

    public int hashCode() {
        return customerId.hashCode();
    }

It is also worth noting that this is not an efficient way to remove duplicates if the list is large. (For a list with N customers, you will need to perform N*(N-1)/2 comparisons in the worst case; i.e. when there are no duplicates.) For a more efficient solution you should use something like a HashSet to do the duplicate checking.

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