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java custom annotation tutorial

Java custom annotation:

We can also create our own java annotations. Like a Java class or interface, java annotations are also defined in their own file. Java custom annotations are created by using @interface, followed by annotation name. An annotation can have elements which looks like methods. Annotation elements can have default values. For those elements values can be skipped while using annotation.

Syntax:

@interface CustomAnnotationName{}

Types of Custom Java Annotation

  • Marker Annotation
  • Single-Value Annotation
  • Multi-Value Annotation

Marker Annotation: An annotation with no element. The @Override and @Deprecated are marker annotations.

Example:

@interface CustomAnnotation{}

Single-Value Annotation: An annotation with single element. Element can have default value.

Example:

@interface CustomAnnotation {  
int value();  
}

Example with default value:

@interface CustomAnnotation {  
 int value() default 0;  
}

Multi-Value Annotation: An annotation with multiple elements. Elements can have default values.

Example:

@interface CustomAnnotation {  
 int value1();  
 String value2();
}

Java Built-in Annotations used in custom annotations:

  • @Target
  • @Retention
  • @Inherited
  • @Documented

@Target annotation

The @Target annotation is used to specify where we can use the annotation. The ElementType enum contains the following possible targets for a java annotation:
ElementType.METHOD
ElementType.PACKAGE
ElementType.PARAMETER
ElementType.TYPE
ElementType.ANNOTATION_TYPE
ElementType.CONSTRUCTOR
ElementType.LOCAL_VARIABLE
ElementType.FIELD

Note: If we no Target type is defined for an annotation that means annotation can be applied to any element.

Example to create annotation for a class

@Target(ElementType.TYPE)  
@interface CustomAnnotation{  
 int value1();  
 String value2();  
}

Example to create annotation for a class or methods

@Target({ElementType.TYPE, ElementType.METHOD})  
@interface CustomAnnotation{  
 int value1();  
 String value2();  
}

@Retention annotation:

The @Retention annotation is used to specify how long annotations with the annotated type will be available. RetentionPolicy provides following types of retentions:

  • RetentionPolicy.RUNTIME: The annotation will be available at runtime. It will be available to java compiler and JVM.
  • RetentionPolicy.CLASS: The annotation would be in the .class file but it would not be available at runtime. i.e. available to java compiler but not to JVM.
  • RetentionPolicy.SOURCE: The annotation would be available in the source code. It would neither be available to java compiler nor to JVM.

Example:

@Retention(RetentionPolicy.RUNTIME)  
@Target(ElementType.TYPE)  
@interface MyAnnotation{  
 int value1();  
 String value2();  
}

@Inherited annotation:

The @Inherited annotation indicates that a custom Java annotation used in a class should be inherited by all its subclasses.

In the below example the ParentClass class is using annotation @CustomAnnotation which is marked with @inherited annotation. So the sub class ChildClass inherits the @CustomAnnotation because ChildClass inherits from ParentClass.

Example:

java.lang.annotation.Inherited
 
@Inherited
public @interface CustomAnnotation {
 
}
 
@CustomAnnotation
public class ParentClass { 
  ... 
}
 
public class ChildClass extends ParentClass { 
   ... 
}

@Documented annotation:

The @Documented annotation is used to indicate the JavaDoc tool that custom annotation should be visible in the JavaDoc for classes using custom annotation.

Example:

import java.lang.annotation.Documented;
 
@Documented
public @interface CustomAnnotation {
 
}
 
@CustomAnnotation
public class TestClass { ... }

Download this example.

Java custom annotation example

package com.tutorialspointexamples;
 
//Creating annotation  
import java.lang.annotation.*;  
import java.lang.reflect.*;  
 
@Retention(RetentionPolicy.RUNTIME)  
@Target(ElementType.METHOD)  
@interface MyAnnotation{  
 int value();  
}  
 
//Using annotation  
class Hello{  
@MyAnnotation(value=50)  
 public void sayHello(){
	System.out.println("Hello java annotations");
 }  
}  
 
//Accessing annotation 
public class CustomAnnotationTest {	
	public static void main(String args[]) throws Exception{
		Hello hello=new Hello();  
		Method method=hello.getClass().getMethod("sayHello");  
 
		MyAnnotation manno=method.getAnnotation(MyAnnotation.class);  
		System.out.println("Value is: "+manno.value());
	}
}

Output:

Value is: 50

Download this example.

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