Overriding the java equals() method quirk

3 Answers

If you use eclipse just go to the top menu

Source --> Generate equals() and hashCode()


I ran into an interesting (and very frustrating) issue with the equals() method today which caused what I thought to be a well tested class to crash and cause a bug that took me a very long time to track down.

Just for completeness, I wasn't using an IDE or debugger - just good old fashioned text editor and System.out's. Time was very limited and it was a school project.

Anyhow -

I was developing a basic shopping cart which could contain an ArrayList of Book objects. In order to implement the addBook(), removeBook(), and hasBook() methods of the Cart, I wanted to check if the Book already existed in the Cart. So off I go -

public boolean equals(Book b) {
    ... // More code here - null checks
    if (b.getID() == this.getID()) return true;
    else return false;

All works fine in testing. I create 6 objects and fill them with data. Do many adds, removes, has() operations on the Cart and everything works fine. I read that you can either have equals(TYPE var) or equals(Object o) { (CAST) var } but assumed that since it was working, it didn't matter too much.

Then I ran into a problem - I needed to create a Book object with only the ID in it from within the Book class. No other data would be entered into it. Basically the following:

public boolean hasBook(int i) {
    Book b = new Book(i);
    return hasBook(b);

public boolean hasBook(Book b) {
    // .. more code here
    return this.books.contains(b);

All of a sudden, the equals(Book b) method no longer works. This took a VERY long time to track down without a good debugger and assuming the Cart class was properly tested and correct. After swaapping the equals() method to the following:

public boolean equals(Object o) {
    Book b = (Book) o;
    ... // The rest goes here   

Everything began to work again. Is there a reason the method decided not to take the Book parameter even though it clearly was a Book object? The only difference seemed to be it was instantiated from within the same class, and only filled with one data member. I'm very very confused. Please, shed some light?

recordId is property of the object

    public boolean equals(Object obj) {
        if (this == obj)
            return true;
        if (obj == null)
            return false;
        if (getClass() != obj.getClass())
            return false;
        Nai_record other = (Nai_record) obj;
        if (recordId == null) {
            if (other.recordId != null)
                return false;
        } else if (!recordId.equals(other.recordId))
            return false;
        return true;

in Android Studio is alt + insert ---> equals and hashCode


public boolean equals(Object o) {
    if (this == o) return true;
    if (o == null || getClass() != o.getClass()) return false;

    Proveedor proveedor = (Proveedor) o;

    return getId() == proveedor.getId();


public int hashCode() {
    return getId();

Another fast solution that saves boilerplate code is Lombok EqualsAndHashCode annotation. It is easy, elegant and customizable. And does not depends on the IDE. For example;

import lombok.EqualsAndHashCode;

@EqualsAndHashCode(of={"errorNumber","messageCode"}) // Will only use this fields to generate equals.
public class ErrorMessage{

    private long        errorNumber;
    private int         numberOfParameters;
    private Level       loggingLevel;
    private String      messageCode;

See the options avaliable to customize which fields to use in the equals. Lombok is avalaible in maven. Just add it with provided scope: