String Concatenation in JAVA

Published Apr 30, 2017
String Concatenation in JAVA

Let's say you have 1000 numbers and you want to concatenate all of them to a String. The Naive approach is using a concatenate operator (+).

public class StringConcatenate {

  public static void main(String[] args) 
  {
    int n = 1000;
    String result = "";
    
    for(int i=0;i<n;i++)
    {
      result = result + i;
    }
    
    System.out.println(result);
  }

}

/*
Output
0123456789101112131415161718192021222324252627282930313233343536373839404142434445464748495051525354555657585960616263646566676869707172737475767778798081828384858687888990919293949596979899100101102103104105106107108109110111112113114115116117118119120121122123124125126127128129130131132133134135136137138139140141142143144145146147148149150151152153154155156157158159160161162163164165166167168169170171172173174175176177178179180181182183184185186187188189190191192193194195196197198199200201202203204205206207208209210211212213214215216217218219220221222223224225226227228229230231232233234235236237238239240241242243244245246247248249250251252253254255256257258259260261262263264265266267268269270271272273274275276277278279280281282283284285286287288289290291292293294295296297298299300301302303304305306307308309310311312313314315316317318319320321322323324325326327328329330331332333334335336337338339340341342343344345346347348349350351352353354355356357358359360361362363364365366367368369370371372373374375376377378379380381382383384385386387388389390391392393394395396397398399400401402403404405406407408409410411412413414415416417418419420421422423424425426427428429430431432433434435436437438439440441442443444445446447448449450451452453454455456457458459460461462463464465466467468469470471472473474475476477478479480481482483484485486487488489490491492493494495496497498499500501502503504505506507508509510511512513514515516517518519520521522523524525526527528529530531532533534535536537538539540541542543544545546547548549550551552553554555556557558559560561562563564565566567568569570571572573574575576577578579580581582583584585586587588589590591592593594595596597598599600601602603604605606607608609610611612613614615616617618619620621622623624625626627628629630631632633634635636637638639640641642643644645646647648649650651652653654655656657658659660661662663664665666667668669670671672673674675676677678679680681682683684685686687688689690691692693694695696697698699700701702703704705706707708709710711712713714715716717718719720721722723724725726727728729730731732733734735736737738739740741742743744745746747748749750751752753754755756757758759760761762763764765766767768769770771772773774775776777778779780781782783784785786787788789790791792793794795796797798799800801802803804805806807808809810811812813814815816817818819820821822823824825826827828829830831832833834835836837838839840841842843844845846847848849850851852853854855856857858859860861862863864865866867868869870871872873874875876877878879880881882883884885886887888889890891892893894895896897898899900901902903904905906907908909910911912913914915916917918919920921922923924925926927928929930931932933934935936937938939940941942943944945946947948949950951952953954955956957958959960961962963964965966967968969970971972973974975976977978979980981982983984985986987988989990991992993994995996997998999
*/

But this is not the best approach to concatenate the numbers. Strings are immutable in JAVA which means every time we are using '+' operator to concatenate a number to result, a new String Object is created. 'i' is first converted to String by JAVA automatically. Then a new memory allocation is done to store the concatenation of 'result' and 'i' (discarding the previous space for result). Hence, creating a lot of temporary garbage in the heap memory. The memory allocation for each iteration makes the program very slow and could eventually eat up all your heap memory for larger n. To prevent this situation, JAVA has two classes StringBuffer and StringBuilder.

StringBuffer Vs StringBuilder

StringBuffer and StringBuilder are mutable in JAVA. So, we can modify any of them without creating a new object. Hence, making the program faster and saving a lot of space. The difference between StringBuffer and StringBuilder is that StringBuffer is thread safe whereas StringBuilder is not thread safe. Therefore, StringBuilder is faster. StringBuffer should be used only when we have a shared buffer space between threads otherwise StringBuilder should be used.

public class StringConcatenate 
{
  public static void main(String[] args) 
  {
    int n = 1000;
    /*
    * Using StringBuffer in JAVA
    */
    String result_buffer = "";
    StringBuilder sbuffer = new StringBuilder();
    for(int i=0;i<n;i++)
    {
      sbuffer.append(i);
    }
    result_buffer = sbuffer.toString();
    System.out.println(result_buffer);

    /*
    * Using StringBuilder in JAVA
    */

    String result_builder = "";
    StringBuilder sbuilder = new StringBuilder();
    for(int i=0;i<n;i++)
    {
      sbuilder.append(i);
    }
    result_builder = sbuilder.toString();		
    System.out.println(result_builder);      
    }
}

/*
Output 
0123456789101112131415161718192021222324252627282930313233343536373839404142434445464748495051525354555657585960616263646566676869707172737475767778798081828384858687888990919293949596979899100101102103104105106107108109110111112113114115116117118119120121122123124125126127128129130131132133134135136137138139140141142143144145146147148149150151152153154155156157158159160161162163164165166167168169170171172173174175176177178179180181182183184185186187188189190191192193194195196197198199200201202203204205206207208209210211212213214215216217218219220221222223224225226227228229230231232233234235236237238239240241242243244245246247248249250251252253254255256257258259260261262263264265266267268269270271272273274275276277278279280281282283284285286287288289290291292293294295296297298299300301302303304305306307308309310311312313314315316317318319320321322323324325326327328329330331332333334335336337338339340341342343344345346347348349350351352353354355356357358359360361362363364365366367368369370371372373374375376377378379380381382383384385386387388389390391392393394395396397398399400401402403404405406407408409410411412413414415416417418419420421422423424425426427428429430431432433434435436437438439440441442443444445446447448449450451452453454455456457458459460461462463464465466467468469470471472473474475476477478479480481482483484485486487488489490491492493494495496497498499500501502503504505506507508509510511512513514515516517518519520521522523524525526527528529530531532533534535536537538539540541542543544545546547548549550551552553554555556557558559560561562563564565566567568569570571572573574575576577578579580581582583584585586587588589590591592593594595596597598599600601602603604605606607608609610611612613614615616617618619620621622623624625626627628629630631632633634635636637638639640641642643644645646647648649650651652653654655656657658659660661662663664665666667668669670671672673674675676677678679680681682683684685686687688689690691692693694695696697698699700701702703704705706707708709710711712713714715716717718719720721722723724725726727728729730731732733734735736737738739740741742743744745746747748749750751752753754755756757758759760761762763764765766767768769770771772773774775776777778779780781782783784785786787788789790791792793794795796797798799800801802803804805806807808809810811812813814815816817818819820821822823824825826827828829830831832833834835836837838839840841842843844845846847848849850851852853854855856857858859860861862863864865866867868869870871872873874875876877878879880881882883884885886887888889890891892893894895896897898899900901902903904905906907908909910911912913914915916917918919920921922923924925926927928929930931932933934935936937938939940941942943944945946947948949950951952953954955956957958959960961962963964965966967968969970971972973974975976977978979980981982983984985986987988989990991992993994995996997998999
0123456789101112131415161718192021222324252627282930313233343536373839404142434445464748495051525354555657585960616263646566676869707172737475767778798081828384858687888990919293949596979899100101102103104105106107108109110111112113114115116117118119120121122123124125126127128129130131132133134135136137138139140141142143144145146147148149150151152153154155156157158159160161162163164165166167168169170171172173174175176177178179180181182183184185186187188189190191192193194195196197198199200201202203204205206207208209210211212213214215216217218219220221222223224225226227228229230231232233234235236237238239240241242243244245246247248249250251252253254255256257258259260261262263264265266267268269270271272273274275276277278279280281282283284285286287288289290291292293294295296297298299300301302303304305306307308309310311312313314315316317318319320321322323324325326327328329330331332333334335336337338339340341342343344345346347348349350351352353354355356357358359360361362363364365366367368369370371372373374375376377378379380381382383384385386387388389390391392393394395396397398399400401402403404405406407408409410411412413414415416417418419420421422423424425426427428429430431432433434435436437438439440441442443444445446447448449450451452453454455456457458459460461462463464465466467468469470471472473474475476477478479480481482483484485486487488489490491492493494495496497498499500501502503504505506507508509510511512513514515516517518519520521522523524525526527528529530531532533534535536537538539540541542543544545546547548549550551552553554555556557558559560561562563564565566567568569570571572573574575576577578579580581582583584585586587588589590591592593594595596597598599600601602603604605606607608609610611612613614615616617618619620621622623624625626627628629630631632633634635636637638639640641642643644645646647648649650651652653654655656657658659660661662663664665666667668669670671672673674675676677678679680681682683684685686687688689690691692693694695696697698699700701702703704705706707708709710711712713714715716717718719720721722723724725726727728729730731732733734735736737738739740741742743744745746747748749750751752753754755756757758759760761762763764765766767768769770771772773774775776777778779780781782783784785786787788789790791792793794795796797798799800801802803804805806807808809810811812813814815816817818819820821822823824825826827828829830831832833834835836837838839840841842843844845846847848849850851852853854855856857858859860861862863864865866867868869870871872873874875876877878879880881882883884885886887888889890891892893894895896897898899900901902903904905906907908909910911912913914915916917918919920921922923924925926927928929930931932933934935936937938939940941942943944945946947948949950951952953954955956957958959960961962963964965966967968969970971972973974975976977978979980981982983984985986987988989990991992993994995996997998999
*/

Performance: StringBuffer Vs '+'

public class StringConcatenate {

  public static void main(String[] args) 
  {
    int n = 10000;
    String result_op = "";
    long t1 = System.currentTimeMillis();
    for(int i=0;i<n;i++)
    {
      result_op = result_op + i;
    }
    t1 = System.currentTimeMillis()-t1;
    System.out.println("time taken by + : " + t1 + " ms");
    
    
    String result_builder = "";
    StringBuilder sbuilder = new StringBuilder();
    long t2 = System.currentTimeMillis();
    for(int i=0;i<n;i++)
    {
      sbuilder.append(i);
    }
    result_builder = sbuilder.toString();
    t2 = System.currentTimeMillis()-t2;
    System.out.println("time taken by StringBuilder : " + t2 + " ms");
    
    
  }

}

/*
Output
time taken by + : 266 ms
time taken by StringBuilder : 1 ms
*/

NOTE

It is to be noted that if there is a single statement containing multiple '+' operators to concatenate strings then JAVA automatically uses StringBuffer/StringBuilder. For eg:

public class StringConcatenate {

  public static void main(String[] args) 
  {
    String t = "Hello!" + " This" + " is" + " my" + " first" + " post.";
    System.out.println(t);
  }
}
/*
Output
Hello! This is my first post.
*/

Here, StringBuilder will be used by JAVA. Therefore, no new object will be created.

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