What is an efficient way to implement a singleton pattern in Java? [closed] – Dev

The best answers to the question “What is an efficient way to implement a singleton pattern in Java? [closed]” in the category Dev.

QUESTION:

What is an efficient way to implement a singleton design pattern in Java?

ANSWER:

Depending on the usage, there are several “correct” answers.

Since Java 5, the best way to do it is to use an enum:

public enum Foo {
   INSTANCE;
}

Pre Java 5, the most simple case is:

public final class Foo {

    private static final Foo INSTANCE = new Foo();

    private Foo() {
        if (INSTANCE != null) {
            throw new IllegalStateException("Already instantiated");
        }
    }

    public static Foo getInstance() {
        return INSTANCE;
    }

    public Object clone() throws CloneNotSupportedException{
        throw new CloneNotSupportedException("Cannot clone instance of this class");
    }
}

Let’s go over the code. First, you want the class to be final. In this case, I’ve used the final keyword to let the users know it is final. Then you need to make the constructor private to prevent users to create their own Foo. Throwing an exception from the constructor prevents users to use reflection to create a second Foo. Then you create a private static final Foo field to hold the only instance, and a public static Foo getInstance() method to return it. The Java specification makes sure that the constructor is only called when the class is first used.

When you have a very large object or heavy construction code and also have other accessible static methods or fields that might be used before an instance is needed, then and only then you need to use lazy initialization.

You can use a private static class to load the instance. The code would then look like:

public final class Foo {

    private static class FooLoader {
        private static final Foo INSTANCE = new Foo();
    }

    private Foo() {
        if (FooLoader.INSTANCE != null) {
            throw new IllegalStateException("Already instantiated");
        }
    }

    public static Foo getInstance() {
        return FooLoader.INSTANCE;
    }
}

Since the line private static final Foo INSTANCE = new Foo(); is only executed when the class FooLoader is actually used, this takes care of the lazy instantiation, and is it guaranteed to be thread safe.

When you also want to be able to serialize your object you need to make sure that deserialization won’t create a copy.

public final class Foo implements Serializable {

    private static final long serialVersionUID = 1L;

    private static class FooLoader {
        private static final Foo INSTANCE = new Foo();
    }

    private Foo() {
        if (FooLoader.INSTANCE != null) {
            throw new IllegalStateException("Already instantiated");
        }
    }

    public static Foo getInstance() {
        return FooLoader.INSTANCE;
    }

    @SuppressWarnings("unused")
    private Foo readResolve() {
        return FooLoader.INSTANCE;
    }
}

The method readResolve() will make sure the only instance will be returned, even when the object was serialized in a previous run of your program.

ANSWER:

Use an enum:

public enum Foo {
    INSTANCE;
}

Joshua Bloch explained this approach in his Effective Java Reloaded talk at Google I/O 2008: link to video. Also see slides 30-32 of his presentation (effective_java_reloaded.pdf):

The Right Way to Implement a Serializable Singleton

public enum Elvis {
    INSTANCE;
    private final String[] favoriteSongs =
        { "Hound Dog", "Heartbreak Hotel" };
    public void printFavorites() {
        System.out.println(Arrays.toString(favoriteSongs));
    }
}

Edit: An online portion of “Effective Java” says:

“This approach is functionally equivalent to the public field approach, except that it is more concise, provides the serialization machinery for free, and provides an ironclad guarantee against multiple instantiation, even in the face of sophisticated serialization or reflection attacks. While this approach has yet to be widely adopted, a single-element enum type is the best way to implement a singleton.”

ANSWER:

The solution posted by Stu Thompson is valid in Java 5.0 and later. But I would prefer not to use it because I think it is error prone.

It’s easy to forget the volatile statement and difficult to understand why it is necessary. Without the volatile this code would not be thread safe any more due to the double-checked locking antipattern. See more about this in paragraph 16.2.4 of Java Concurrency in Practice. In short: This pattern (prior to Java 5.0 or without the volatile statement) could return a reference to the Bar object that is (still) in an incorrect state.

This pattern was invented for performance optimization. But this is really not a real concern any more. The following lazy initialization code is fast and – more importantly – easier to read.

class Bar {
    private static class BarHolder {
        public static Bar bar = new Bar();
    }

    public static Bar getBar() {
        return BarHolder.bar;
    }
}

ANSWER:

Disclaimer: I have just summarized all of the awesome answers and wrote it in my own words.


While implementing Singleton we have two options:

  1. Lazy loading
  2. Early loading

Lazy loading adds bit overhead (lots of to be honest), so use it only when you have a very large object or heavy construction code and also have other accessible static methods or fields that might be used before an instance is needed, then and only then you need to use lazy initialization. Otherwise, choosing early loading is a good choice.

The most simple way of implementing a singleton is:

public class Foo {

    // It will be our sole hero
    private static final Foo INSTANCE = new Foo();

    private Foo() {
        if (INSTANCE != null) {
            // SHOUT
            throw new IllegalStateException("Already instantiated");
        }
    }

    public static Foo getInstance() {
        return INSTANCE;
    }
}

Everything is good except it’s an early loaded singleton. Lets try lazy loaded singleton

class Foo {

    // Our now_null_but_going_to_be sole hero
    private static Foo INSTANCE = null;

    private Foo() {
        if (INSTANCE != null) {
            // SHOUT
            throw new IllegalStateException("Already instantiated");
        }
    }

    public static Foo getInstance() {
        // Creating only  when required.
        if (INSTANCE == null) {
            INSTANCE = new Foo();
        }
        return INSTANCE;
    }
}

So far so good, but our hero will not survive while fighting alone with multiple evil threads who want many many instance of our hero.
So let’s protect it from evil multi threading:

class Foo {

    private static Foo INSTANCE = null;

    // TODO Add private shouting constructor

    public static Foo getInstance() {
        // No more tension of threads
        synchronized (Foo.class) {
            if (INSTANCE == null) {
                INSTANCE = new Foo();
            }
        }
        return INSTANCE;
    }
}

But it is not enough to protect out hero, really!!! This is the best we can/should do to help our hero:

class Foo {

    // Pay attention to volatile
    private static volatile Foo INSTANCE = null;

    // TODO Add private shouting constructor

    public static Foo getInstance() {
        if (INSTANCE == null) { // Check 1
            synchronized (Foo.class) {
                if (INSTANCE == null) { // Check 2
                    INSTANCE = new Foo();
                }
            }
        }
        return INSTANCE;
    }
}

This is called the “double-checked locking idiom”. It’s easy to forget the volatile statement and difficult to understand why it is necessary.
For details: The “Double-Checked Locking is Broken” Declaration

Now we are sure about evil threads, but what about the cruel serialization? We have to make sure even while de-serialiaztion no new object is created:

class Foo implements Serializable {

    private static final long serialVersionUID = 1L;

    private static volatile Foo INSTANCE = null;

    // The rest of the things are same as above

    // No more fear of serialization
    @SuppressWarnings("unused")
    private Object readResolve() {
        return INSTANCE;
    }
}

The method readResolve() will make sure the only instance will be returned, even when the object was serialized in a previous run of our program.

Finally, we have added enough protection against threads and serialization, but our code is looking bulky and ugly. Let’s give our hero a makeover:

public final class Foo implements Serializable {

    private static final long serialVersionUID = 1L;

    // Wrapped in a inner static class so that loaded only when required
    private static class FooLoader {

        // And no more fear of threads
        private static final Foo INSTANCE = new Foo();
    }

    // TODO add private shouting construcor

    public static Foo getInstance() {
        return FooLoader.INSTANCE;
    }

    // Damn you serialization
    @SuppressWarnings("unused")
    private Foo readResolve() {
        return FooLoader.INSTANCE;
    }
}

Yes, this is our very same hero 🙂

Since the line private static final Foo INSTANCE = new Foo(); is only executed when the class FooLoader is actually used, this takes care of the lazy instantiation, and is it guaranteed to be thread-safe.

And we have come so far. Here is the best way to achieve everything we did is best possible way:

public enum Foo {
    INSTANCE;
}

Which internally will be treated like

public class Foo {

    // It will be our sole hero
    private static final Foo INSTANCE = new Foo();
}

That’s it! No more fear of serialization, threads and ugly code. Also ENUMS singleton are lazily initialized.

This approach is functionally equivalent to the public field approach,
except that it is more concise, provides the serialization machinery
for free, and provides an ironclad guarantee against multiple
instantiation, even in the face of sophisticated serialization or
reflection attacks. While this approach has yet to be widely adopted,
a single-element enum type is the best way to implement a singleton.

-Joshua Bloch in “Effective Java”

Now you might have realized why ENUMS are considered as best way to implement a singleton and thanks for your patience 🙂

Updated it on my blog.