Surya Chandra Surya Chandra - 1 year ago 72
Java Question

Maps with multiple types of values in java

I have to accomplish a strange peculiar scenario. Its described as follows:

I have to design a Map where the 'Keys' are always of String type. However, the 'Value' for one of the key may be a String or a List(depends on the number of values a particular key can have. 'Value' will be a String if that particular key has only one value and it has to be a List if the key contains many values). How to accomplish this scenario?

For Example: there are 2 keys in a map namely "Name" and "Phone Nos". A person can have only one name and multiple phone numbers. So here the first key i.e. "Name" should have 'String' type for Value, whereas for the second key i.e. "Phone Nos" should have 'List' type for Value. How to declare such a Map. Is it possible?

Answer Source

It is possible to do something like Map<String, Object>.

But: I would strongly suggest to think your design over. You should use a class for your persons instead. That way you could do: Map<String, Person> with Person having getters and setters for names, phone numbers and other information.

Example Person class:

public class Person {

    private String name;
    private List<String> phoneNumbers = Collections.emptyList();

    public void setName(String name) { = name;

    public String getName() {
        return name;

    public void setPhoneNumbers(List<String> phoneNumbers) {
        this.phoneNumbers = phoneNumbers;

    public void addPhoneNumber(String number) {

    public List<String> getPhoneNumbers() {
        return phoneNumbers;
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