For a Java Developer, it is really important to know the huge array of interfaces and classes which ends with -able in its names. So, why do we have interfaces with such a name? Is it really difficult to answer? I don’t think so. We all know about interfaces like Serializable which assists a class object to be serialized. Apart from this, we still do have several interfaces and classes which have such a naming convention.
The class implementing java.io.Serializable interface enables its objects to be serialized. This interface doesn’t have any method. Such an interface is called Marker Interface.
If the classes need to handle the serialization and deserialization in a different way, the class implementing java.io.Serializable must implement special method.
The class that implements java.lang.Cloneable assures that it conforms to the contract of Object.clone() method to copy the instances of the class.
If a class implements java.lang.Readable assures that it provides source of characters to read from. The user can read the source of characters using its read() method.
This java.lang.Appendable interface specifies the contract to append character values to the implementing class object. As an example, the widely used java.lang.StringBuffer and java.lang.StringBuilder implement this interface to mutate the sequence of characters.
java.io.Closeable interface provides the contract for the user to close a source or a destination of data. It declares its contract through close() method which is invoked to release the currently acquired resources.
java.io.AutoCloseable has been introduces lately in Java 1.7 which ensures the source or destination of data implementing java.io.AutoCloseable interface can be used in accordance with try with resources block. The benefit of using try with resources block is that it automatically closes the data source and it releases the current resources.
This class ensures an object to be monitored in the Model-View Controller programming paradigm.
Implementing this interface allows an object to be the target of the foreach statement.
By implementing this interface, the class has the opportunity to compare the object with another specified object conforming to the order.
This interface is mainly used to facilitate users to provide Thread Task definition. The difficulty of using this SAM interface for Thread Task Definition is that it doesn’t return any value.
This interface is also used to provide Thread Task definition in a parameterized way which has the capability to return the computed value as well.
This is basically an annotation which has been introduced in Java 8. This annotation ensures to use it multiple times as mentioned below.
Prior to Java 8, we could achieve the same by annotating TechnicalUniversity interface with an array of Places which looks a bit cluttered.
Synchronizable : Not available but wish it were
In a DZone Java entry by Lucas Eder, it has been mentioned that it could have been in the JDK if Java has been developed today.
Just to give you a glimpse of it, in Java we hardly use the Synchronized modifier
This modifier is unnecessary at the method level as we need to synchronize a block of code. Hence, we mostly write the following way.
So, if we try to rewrite the same using the following version of code, it would work.
What is the problem?
The problem lies in allowing each and every object to be a monitor. Instead, Java could have provided a Synchronizable interface to allow specific objects which can only be used as monitors.
Threadable : Not available but wish it were
We all have seen that all the lower level threading API methods are in java.lang.Object class. But I believe it’s a bad design decision. Instead, we could have had the threading related method in a specific class/interface called Threadable. This would then conform to the Single Responsibility Principle.
So far we have seen currently available and commonly used interfaces and classes which have a specific naming convention that end with able word. The main purpose of this article is to let people aware of such a requirement of Interfaces and Classes. I believe such a naming convention helps people write classes/interfaces conforming to the Single Responsibility Principle. That means, your class/interface name would convey actually the intent or the purpose of the class/interace.
Let’s say we are developing an IDE. So, it is necessary to have huge array of actions or commands. We all have seen the specific command - Undo. The Undo operation is used to cancel the last applied command. Now, there can be lots of commands which can be cancelled using Undo operation and some which can’t be cancelled using Undo operation. We can clearly see that for such a requirement of commands we need Command Pattern to be used. We can write an interface named Undoable which can comprise all the necessary code to undo or cancel a specific command. If any of the existing commands extend this interface would have the privilege to cancel or undo its operation.
This is the reason I wrote this post to make people aware of the necessity of such a naming convention. It helps people integrate a good design decision for the application. According to the Open Closed Principle, software entities (classes, modules, functions, etc.) must be open for extension and closed for modification. So, before developing any application, the integral task is to find common properties - eg. the Undo command in the previous example. I would advise you to follow such a naming convention to adapt a better integrated design approach.