Why are interface variables static and final by default? – Dev

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Why are interface variables static and final by default in Java?


public: for the accessibility across all the classes, just like the methods present in the interface

static: as interface cannot have an object, the interfaceName.variableName can be used to reference it or directly the variableName in the class implementing it.

final: to make them constants. If 2 classes implement the same interface and you give both of them the right to change the value, conflict will occur in the current value of the var, which is why only one time initialization is permitted.

Also all these modifiers are implicit for an interface, you dont really need to specify any of them.


From the Java interface design FAQ by Philip Shaw:

Interface variables are static because Java interfaces cannot be instantiated in their own right; the value of the variable must be assigned in a static context in which no instance exists. The final modifier ensures the value assigned to the interface variable is a true constant that cannot be re-assigned by program code.



(This is not a philosophical answer but more of a practical one). The requirement for static modifier is obvious which has been answered by others. Basically, since the interfaces cannot be instantiated, the only way to access its fields are to make them a class field — static.

The reason behind the interface fields automatically becoming final (constant) is to prevent different implementations accidentally changing the value of interface variable which can inadvertently affect the behavior of the other implementations. Imagine the scenario below where an interface property did not explicitly become final by Java:

public interface Actionable {
    public static boolean isActionable = false;

    public void performAction();

public NuclearAction implements Actionable {

    public void performAction() {
        // Code that depends on isActionable variable
        if (isActionable) {
            // Launch nuclear weapon!!!

Now, just think what would happen if another class that implements Actionable alters the state of the interface variable:

public CleanAction implements Actionable  {

    public void performAction() {
        // Code that can alter isActionable state since it is not constant
        isActionable = true;

If these classes are loaded within a single JVM by a classloader, then the behavior of NuclearAction can be affected by another class, CleanAction, when its performAction() is invoke after CleanAction‘s is executed (in the same thread or otherwise), which in this case can be disastrous (semantically that is).

Since we do not know how each implementation of an interface is going to use these variables, they must implicitly be final.


Since interface doesn’t have a direct object, the only way to access them is by using a class/interface and hence that is why if interface variable exists, it should be static otherwise it wont be accessible at all to outside world. Now since it is static, it can hold only one value and any classes that implements it can change it and hence it will be all mess.

Hence if at all there is an interface variable, it will be implicitly static, final and obviously public!!!