gatoatigrado gatoatigrado - 1 month ago 17
Java Question

is there a Java equivalent of Python's defaultdict?

In Python, the defaultdict class provides a convenient way to create a mapping from key -> [list of values], in the following example,

from collections import defaultdict
d = defaultdict(list)
# d is now {1: [2, 3]}

Is there an equivalent to this in Java?

Why I chose Tendayi Mawushe's solution

This solution is good because it more faithfully renders the idea of defaultdict. However, you're not quite recovering the Pythonic expressiveness -- defaultdict is actually taking a function, not a class (below). On the other hand, that would probably make the Java code using it more verbose

> python
>>> def f(): return x
>>> x = 3
>>> from collections import defaultdict
>>> y = defaultdict(f)
>>> y[2]

Sorry for the latency accepting this, and thanks to Luno and dfa for their helpful answers as well.

postscript -- if only Scala compiled faster, I would use it instead...


There is nothing that gives the behaviour of default dict out of the box. However creating your own default dict in Java would not be that difficult.

import java.util.ArrayList;
import java.util.HashMap;
import java.util.List;

public class DefaultDict<K, V> extends HashMap<K, V> {

    Class<V> klass;
    public DefaultDict(Class klass) {
        this.klass = klass;    

    public V get(Object key) {
        V returnValue = super.get(key);
        if (returnValue == null) {
            try {
                returnValue = klass.newInstance();
            } catch (Exception e) {
                throw new RuntimeException(e);
            this.put((K) key, returnValue);
        return returnValue;

This class could be used like below:

public static void main(String[] args) {
    DefaultDict<Integer, List<Integer>> dict =
        new DefaultDict<Integer, List<Integer>>(ArrayList.class);

This code would print: {1=[2, 3]}