We’ll show you how to write a Comparator to sort a List using Java 8 Lambda expressions in this example.

Classic Comparator example

    Comparator<Developer> byName = new Comparator<Developer>() {
        @Override
        public int compare(Developer o1, Developer o2) {
            return o1.getName().compareTo(o2.getName());
        }
    };

Lambda expression equivalent.


    Comparator<Developer> byName = 
        (Developer o1, Developer o2)->o1.getName().compareTo(o2.getName());

Sort without Lambda

A comparison of Developer objects based on their age is an example. Normally, you use Collections.sort and pass an anonymous Comparator class like this :

//TestSorting.java

import java.math.BigDecimal;
import java.util.ArrayList;
import java.util.Collections;
import java.util.Comparator;
import java.util.List;

public class TestSorting {

    public static void main(String[] args) {

        List<Developer> listDevs = getDevelopers();

        System.out.println("Before Sort");
        for (Developer developer : listDevs) {
            System.out.println(developer);
        }
        
        //sort by age
        Collections.sort(listDevs, new Comparator<Developer>() {
            @Override
            public int compare(Developer o1, Developer o2) {
                return o1.getAge() - o2.getAge();
            }
        });
    
        System.out.println("After Sort");
        for (Developer developer : listDevs) {
            System.out.println(developer);
        }
        
    }

    private static List<Developer> getDevelopers() {

        List<Developer> result = new ArrayList<Developer>();

        result.add(new Developer("mkyong", new BigDecimal("70000"), 33));
        result.add(new Developer("alvin", new BigDecimal("80000"), 20));
        result.add(new Developer("jason", new BigDecimal("100000"), 10));
        result.add(new Developer("iris", new BigDecimal("170000"), 55));
        
        return result;

    }
    
}

Output


Before Sort
Developer [name=mkyong, salary=70000, age=33]
Developer [name=alvin, salary=80000, age=20]
Developer [name=jason, salary=100000, age=10]
Developer [name=iris, salary=170000, age=55]

After Sort
Developer [name=jason, salary=100000, age=10]
Developer [name=alvin, salary=80000, age=20]
Developer [name=mkyong, salary=70000, age=33]
Developer [name=iris, salary=170000, age=55]

You simply pass in a new anonymous Comparator class when the sorting criteria changes:

//sort by age
    Collections.sort(listDevs, new Comparator<Developer>() {
        @Override
        public int compare(Developer o1, Developer o2) {
            return o1.getAge() - o2.getAge();
        }
    });
    
    //sort by name	
    Collections.sort(listDevs, new Comparator<Developer>() {
        @Override
        public int compare(Developer o1, Developer o2) {
            return o1.getName().compareTo(o2.getName());
        }
    });
                
    //sort by salary
    Collections.sort(listDevs, new Comparator<Developer>() {
        @Override
        public int compare(Developer o1, Developer o2) {
            return o1.getSalary().compareTo(o2.getSalary());
        }
    });		

It works, but don’t you think it’s a little odd to build a class just to modify one line of code ?

Sort with Lambda

In Java 8, the List interface is supports the sort method directly, no need to use Collections.sort anymore.

       //List.sort() since Java 8
    listDevs.sort(new Comparator<Developer>() {
        @Override
        public int compare(Developer o1, Developer o2) {
            return o2.getAge() - o1.getAge();
        }
    });	

Lambda expression example :

import java.math.BigDecimal;
import java.util.ArrayList;
import java.util.List;

public class TestSorting {

    public static void main(String[] args) {

        List<Developer> listDevs = getDevelopers();
        
        System.out.println("Before Sort");
        for (Developer developer : listDevs) {
            System.out.println(developer);
        }
        
        System.out.println("After Sort");
        
        //lambda here!
        listDevs.sort((Developer o1, Developer o2)->o1.getAge()-o2.getAge());
    
        //java 8 only, lambda also, to print the List
        listDevs.forEach((developer)->System.out.println(developer));
    }

    private static List<Developer> getDevelopers() {

        List<Developer> result = new ArrayList<Developer>();

        result.add(new Developer("mkyong", new BigDecimal("70000"), 33));
        result.add(new Developer("alvin", new BigDecimal("80000"), 20));
        result.add(new Developer("jason", new BigDecimal("100000"), 10));
        result.add(new Developer("iris", new BigDecimal("170000"), 55));
        
        return result;

    }
    
}

Output

Before Sort
Developer [name=mkyong, salary=70000, age=33]
Developer [name=alvin, salary=80000, age=20]
Developer [name=jason, salary=100000, age=10]
Developer [name=iris, salary=170000, age=55]

After Sort
Developer [name=jason, salary=100000, age=10]
Developer [name=alvin, salary=80000, age=20]
Developer [name=mkyong, salary=70000, age=33]
Developer [name=iris, salary=170000, age=55]

References :

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