Generic Programming and Collection Classes
How to avoid reinventing the wheel? Many data structures and algorithms, such as those from Chapter 9, have been studied, programmed, and re-programmed by generations of computer science students. This is a valuable learning experience. Unfortunately, they have also been programmed and re-programmed by generations of working computer professionals, taking up time that could be devoted to new, more creative work. A programmer who needs a list or a binary tree shouldn't have to re-code these data structures from scratch. They are well-understood and have been programmed thousands of times before. The problem is how to make pre-written, robust data structures available to programmers. In this chapter, we'll look at Java's attempt to address this problem.