Method Types in Java

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As Java developers, we talk about query methods, command methods, and factory methods. We talk about convenience methods, helper methods, and assertion methods. We talk about primitive methods, composed methods, and template methods.

Obviously, we have a rich vocabulary for talking about methods of a class or interface. We use this vocabulary to quickly communicate and document what a method does, who it may be used by, and how it is implemented. Understanding this vocabulary is key to fast and effective communication among developers.

This article presents three method type categories and nine key method types that we use in our daily work. It presents them using a running example and then catalogs them for use as part of a shared vocabulary. Each of the method types comes with its own naming convention. Mastering this vocabulary helps us better implement our methods, better document our classes and interfaces, and communicate more effectively.


Dirk Riehle. "Method Types in Java." Java Report 5, 2 (February 2000). Page 22pp.

For the time being, a copy is available as a PDF file.

Copyright (©) 2000 by Dirk Riehle and SIGS Publications. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright (©) 2007 Dirk Riehle. Some rights reserved. (Creative Commons License BY-NC-SA.) Original Web Location: http://www.riehle.org