Map Interface

Map Interface

The Map interface is not an extension of Collection interface. Instead the interface starts of it’s own interface hierarchy, for maintaining key-value associations. The interface describes a mapping from keys to values, without duplicate keys, by definition.

The Map interface provides three collection views, which allow a map’s contents to be viewed as a set of keys, collection of values, or set of key-value mappings. The order of a map is defined as the order in which the iterators on the map’s collection views return their elements. Some map implementations, like the TreeMap class, make specific guarantees as to their order; others, like the HashMap class, do not.

Key-Value pairs

Key-value pairs are stored in maps.


  • A number of classes implement the Map interface, including HashMap, TreeMap, LinkedHashMap, WeakHashMap, ConcurrentHashMap, and Properties. The most generally useful class is HashMap.
  • java.util.HashMap is implemented with a hash table. Access time is O(1). Entries are unsorted.
  • java.util.LinkedHashMap is implemented with a hash table. Access time is O(1). Entries are sorted in either entry order or order of last access, which is useful for implementing a LRU (least recently used) caching policy.
  • java.util.TreeMap is implemented as a balanced binary tree. Access time is O(log N). Entries are sorted.
Map Interface

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