Ashish Agarwal Ashish Agarwal - 1 month ago 5
Java Question

Is CONSTANT.equals(VARIABLE) faster than VARIABLE.equals(CONSTANT)?

I had an interesting conversation with one of my team mate.

Is

CONSTANT.equals(VARIABLE)
faster than
VARIABLE.equals(CONSTANT)
in Java?

I suspect this to be a false statement. But I am trying to figure out what should be qualitative reasoning behind this?

I know in both the cases the performance will not differ to any kind of significant state. But it was a recommendation under BEST PRACTICES which is making me uncomfortable. That's the reason I am looking towards a good reasoning that I want to present with this case.

Please HELP

Answer

Interesting question. Here is the test I wrote:

public class EqualsTest {
    public static String CONST = "const";
    public void constEqVar(String var) {
        CONST.equals(var);
    }
    public void varEqConst(String var) {
        var.equals(CONST);
    }
}

Then I compiled it using javac: javac EqualsTest.java and disassembled it using javap: javap -c EqualsTest.

Here is the relevant snippet of javap output:

public void constEqVar(java.lang.String);
  Code:
   0:   getstatic       #2; //Field CONST:Ljava/lang/String;
   3:   aload_1
   4:   invokevirtual   #3; //Method java/lang/String.equals:(Ljava/lang/Object;)Z
   7:   pop
   8:   return

public void varEqConst(java.lang.String);
  Code:
   0:   aload_1
   1:   getstatic       #2; //Field CONST:Ljava/lang/String;
   4:   invokevirtual   #3; //Method java/lang/String.equals:(Ljava/lang/Object;)Z
   7:   pop
   8:   return

As you can see the only difference between theses 2 methods is order of operations: getstatic and then aload_1 in first case and aload_1 + getstatic in second case.

Pretty obvious that the execution time should not depend on this order.

The only reason to prefer const.equals(var) rather than var.equals(const) is to avoid NullPointerException.

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