Call : +11234567895
October 30, 2023

String Comparison in Java

String Comparison in Java

String Comparison In Java

String comparison is a fundamental operation in programming, allowing developers to evaluate the equality or sequence of strings. Within the Java programming language, a rich repertoire of methods has been designed to facilitate these comparisons with precision and efficiency. This article discusses the six distinct methodologies for comparing string objects, emphasizing the significance of prudent comparison practices and elucidating the pitfalls of utilizing the '==' operator for such purposes within Java programming. Through a thorough examination of these comparison techniques, this article equips developers with a comprehensive understanding of how to navigate string comparisons effectively in the Java environment, fostering the creation of robust and accurate applications.

How to Compare Two Strings in Java?

In Java, comparing two strings involves scrutinizing their characters to ascertain if they are equal or if one precedes the other in lexicographic order. Let's have a look at the six prominent methods employed for string comparison.

Using User-defined Function

In Java, comparing strings necessitates a meticulous approach, especially when precision and custom comparison logic are required. One method to achieve this is by creating a user-defined function for string comparison. By encapsulating the comparison logic within a function, it becomes easier to create the comparison process as per specific requirements.

Here's an illustrative example demonstrating the utilization of a user-defined function for comparing two strings:

In this example, we define a user-defined function named compareStrings. This function encapsulates the comparison logic utilizing the equals() method. Within the main method, we call compareStrings and provide two strings, "Java" and "Java", for comparison. The function internally invokes the equals() method to ascertain equality and returns the result, which is then printed.

Using user-defined functions in this manner not only enhances code modularity but also facilitates the implementation of custom comparison rules, if necessary. Developers can tailor these functions to accommodate specific comparison requirements, providing a flexible and adaptable approach to string comparison.

Using String.equals()

The equals() method in Java is a fundamental approach to string comparison, allowing precise evaluation of the contents of two string objects. By invoking this method on a string, one can effortlessly determine whether the compared strings are equal or not.

Let's check an example showcasing the application of equals() for string comparison:

In this example, we instantiate two string objects, str1 and str2, both containing "Java". We then invoke the equals() method on str1 and provide str2 as an argument. The equals() method evaluates the content of the strings and returns true since they are equal.

The equals() method acts as a powerful tool for precise string comparison in Java, enabling developers to confidently ascertain whether two strings have identical content. Its easy usage and accurate results make it prominent for string comparison in Java, particularly when content comparison is the primary concern.

Using String.equalsIgnoreCase()

In Java, the equalsIgnoreCase() method lets developers compare two strings without taking their case into account. This makes it a useful tool for situations where case sensitivity is not important. This way of comparing lets developers be more flexible, especially when the exact case of the characters is not important.

Let's examine a practical example demonstrating the use of equalsIgnoreCase() for string comparison:

In this example, we define two string objects, str1 and str2, with slightly different cases: "Java" and "java". We then use the equalsIgnoreCase() method to compare these strings, instructing the method to ignore case differences during the comparison. As a result, the method returns true, signifying that the strings are equal, even though their cases differ.

The equalsIgnoreCase() method is immensely useful in scenarios where case sensitivity is not important. For instance, when handling user inputs or comparing file extensions, ignoring cases can simplify the comparison process and enhance the robustness of the application.

Using Objects.equals()

The Objects.equals() method in Java is a versatile utility that enables comparison between two objects, including strings, while gracefully handling null values. This method is particularly useful when a comparison needs to be made without risking a null pointer exception.

Let's explore a practical example that showcases the use of Objects.equals() for string comparison:

In this example, we create two string objects, str1 and str2, both containing "Java". We then utilize the Objects.equals() method to compare these strings. This method evaluates the contents of the strings and returns true since they are indeed equal.

The Objects.equals() method is a reliable tool for general object comparison, ensuring accurate evaluation without the risk of null-related issues. Its ability to handle null values gracefully adds an extra layer of safety, making it a preferred choice for comparisons in various Java applications.

Using String.compareTo()

The compareTo() method in Java is fundamental for string comparison, allowing developers to establish the lexicographic order between two strings. This method is a critical tool when precise ordering of strings based on their Unicode values is necessary.

Let's illustrate the application of compareTo() with a code example:

In this case, we create two string objects, str1  and str2, which each contains the words "Apple" and "Banana." Then, we use the compareTo() method to see which of these strings is the same based on their Unicode values. Depending on the outcome of the comparison, we print the right message that shows the string's order.

When developers need to precisely order strings based on Unicode values, the compareTo() method proves to be very beneficial. In many Java applications, lexicographic sorting is built on top of it, and it is essential when string arrangement needs to be exact.

Using String.regionMatches()

The regionMatches() method in Java enables a more flexible approach to string comparison by allowing the comparison of specific regions within two strings. This method is beneficial when partial comparison of strings is required, providing a way to compare substrings without comparing the entire strings.

Let's explore a code example showcasing the use of regionMatches() for string comparison:

In this example, we have two string objects, str1 and str2, with values "Hello World" and "World" respectively. We use the regionMatches() method to compare a specific region of str1 (starting at index 6) with str2. The method returns a boolean value indicating whether the specified regions match.

The regionMatches() method is a versatile tool for substring comparison, providing a flexible approach when the precise region-based comparison is required. Its ability to compare specific portions of strings is beneficial in various scenarios, enhancing the accuracy and efficiency of string comparison operations.

Why Not to Use '==' to Compare Strings in Java?

In Java, the == operator is commonly used for comparison; however, when it comes to comparing strings, this approach can be misleading and lead to unexpected results. The == operator, when applied to objects like strings, compares the memory addresses of the objects rather than their actual content. Consequently, using == to compare strings may not yield the desired results.

Let's have a look at this issue by examining a code example:

In this example, we have three string objects: str1, str2, and str3, all containing the string "Java". We use the == operator to compare str1 with str2 and then with str3. The result of each comparison is printed.

However, the use of == to compare strings is ill-advised. The output of this comparison may seem unexpected; str1 and str2 show true, indicating they are equal, while str1 and str3 display false, implying they are not equal.

This apparent contradiction arises due to the way Java handles string literals. When using string literals like "Java", Java employs a concept called string pooling. It ensures that only one copy of each distinct string is stored in a common pool, allowing str1 and str2 to point to the same memory address, hence the true result.

However, when we use the new keyword to create a string object, as in str3, a new memory address is allocated for the string, leading to a false result when compared with str1.

Hence, employing == to compare strings can be misleading and counterintuitive. For precise content comparison, it's essential to use methods like equals() or other appropriate comparison techniques, which consider the actual content of the strings.


Mastering the art of string comparison in Java is more than a programming requisite; it's a meticulous process that impacts the correctness and efficiency of the code. Java offers an array of methods to compare strings, each serving distinct purposes based on the comparison requirements. However, a critical point to note is the potential misguidance stemming from using '==' for string comparison, which solely checks references rather than the actual content.

Key Takeaways:

  • Diverse Comparison Methods: Java provides multiple comparison methods like equals(), equalsIgnoreCase(), compareTo(), each catering to specific comparison needs.
  • Avoid '==' for Strings: Using == for string comparison can lead to unintended outcomes. Always use proper comparison methods.

String comparison is a complex topic that all Java developers need to know about. It's not enough to just get the right answers; developers also need to understand how comparisons work and choose the right method for the job. Java has a lot of comparison methods that help programmers deal with a wide range of situations.

To delve deeper into Java, its features, and best practices, developers can check the interesting articles available on our platform. Cogent University aims at bridging the technical gap by training the next generation of developers.

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system.

Ever wondered how computer programming works, but haven't done anything more complicated on the web than upload a photo to Facebook?

Then you're in the right place.

To someone who's never coded before, the concept of creating a website from scratch -- layout, design, and all -- can seem really intimidating. You might be picturing Harvard students from the movie, The Social Network, sitting at their computers with gigantic headphones on and hammering out code, and think to yourself, 'I could never do that.

'Actually, you can. ad phones on and hammering out code, and think to yourself, 'I could never do that.'

Start today and get certified in fundamental course.
We offer guaranteed placements.