Zlelik Zlelik - 1 year ago 129
Java Question

Getter and Setters in Java

Is it a good practice to make some data processing/validation in getters and setters? In wikipedia here there are 2 examples:

  • setDate method stores java.util.Date date in 3 separate private fields like year, month, day

  • getAmount method concatenate 2 fields number and currency and return something like "100 USD". And maybe amount field itself does not exist at all and getAmount is just a calculation method.

Are these good examples or it is better to avoid it? If it is better to avoid it, how can I implement these 2 examples above in a better way?

Please, Do not take examples with date and etc serious. It is just an example, of course it can be stupid.

Real example which I had.

I have an external third party system and I have to make integration. This external system expect from me some data as class with getters and setters. I have to pass 2 fields there, id (something like 09df723987cd7 (let's say GUID)) and formattedID something like "objecttype/09df723987cd7". I cannot change this external system.

I want to implement it like

getId() {
return id

getFormattedId() {
return objectType + "/" + id;

objectType is another field in this class.

My Question: is it OK, or there is some more elegant way to implement it?

Answer Source

The examples you provided are not good fit, at least not in the form and with the names you mentioned.

I'll try with some better examples:


You might want to use them for validation mostly. As an example setDate(Date d) could check the data is in a certain range, e.g. not more than 20 years into the future etc. (depends on your requirements).


If those contain more than simple logic they probably represent virtual properties, i.e. properties that don't have an underlying field but are calculated on the fly.

Let's take getAmount() for example: there might not be any field amount or the amount might be stored in cents (or smaller) for some reason (e.g. no precision issues). Thus getAmount() might look like this:

public double getAmount() {
  return amountInCents / 100.0;

Note that the name getAmount() might be misleading though, so you might be better off using a name like getAmountInUSD() or similar.


Using getters and setters in Java is adviceable in most cases since you'd be able to the following (list not complete):

  • add validation logic (to the setters)
  • add transformation logic (setters, getters) for virtual properties
  • define access, i.e. read-only would mean there is no public setter
  • use libraries that are based on the Java Beans specification (which requires the use of setters and getters)
  • decouple the client/caller of the getter/setter, i.e. if at some point you want to add validation having field access done via a setter would not require the client to change (unless validation errors would need to be handled) etc.
  • use setters and getters for debugging purposes, e.g. by putting a breakpoint at the method and have a look at the stack trace to see who called it (mentioned by dsp_user)
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