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Language: Java
Expertise: Beginner
Nov 21, 2018
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Dereferencing in Java

Dereferencing happens using the . operator:

Object object = new Object();

String text = object.toString(); // 'object' is dereferenced.

Dereferencing pursues the memory address placed in a reference, to the place in memory where the actual object is. When an object has been found, the requested method is called; if the reference has the value null, dereferencing results in a NullPointerException:

Object obj = null;

obj.toString(); // Throws a NullpointerException when this statement is executed.

Null indicates the absence of a value, so there is no object on which the requested method can be called.

Octavia Anghel
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