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Tip of the Day
Language: Java Language
Expertise: Beginner
Apr 7, 2000

Enumerating Methods of a Class

Question:
How can I enumerate the methods of an object? I know there must be a way since JBuilder and other IDEs know how to populate a list of methods from a class.

Answer:
Java possesses a mechanism called reflection, which allows you to dynamically discover things about classes. The Object class contains a method called getClass() which enables you to obtain a reference to a Class object that contains all sorts of wonderful information about the class. getMethods() will return all the methods of a class, stored as an array of java.lang.reflect.Method objects.

The Method class lets you learn the name, parameters, return type, exceptions, and other information about a method. The following program demonstrates a trivial printMethods() function that will print the string representation of all the methods of an object.

import java.lang.reflect.*;

public class ListMethods {

  public static void printMethods(Object obj) {
    Method[] methods;

    methods = obj.getClass().getMethods();

    for(int i = 0; i < methods.length; ++i)
      System.out.println(methods[i].toString());
  }

  public static final void main(String[] args) {
    printMethods(new String());
  }
}
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