A new beginning

Welcome to Java Q&A. In this new blog, I answer all kinds of technical questions related to Java. Each post presents one or more Java questions (based on a theme) and offers answers. Feel free to contribute your Java questions.

Could not find or load main class

Q: When I execute java classname.class instead of java classname, why do I observe the following error message in response?

Error: Could not find or load main class classname.class

A: classname.class refers to a package hierarchy. The java tool "thinks" that you are looking for a classfile named class that is located in the classname package. It cannot locate this classfile (which would have to contain a public static void main(String[] args) method) and outputs this error message in response.

Declaring classes in interfaces

Q: Does Java allow classes to be declared in interfaces?

A: Java lets you declare classes in interfaces. Each declared class is implicitly public and static. Listing 1 presents a simple demonstration.

Listing 1. Declaring a class in an interface

interface Interface
   int CONSTANT = 10;
   class Class

Listing 1 reveals an interface named Interface that declares an int-based constant named CONSTANT, which is implicitly public, static, and final. It also declares a class named Class, which is implicitly public and static. Nested classes can access interface constants, which is why Class is able to access CONSTANT (from its static initializer).

It probably seems strange to declare a class within an interface, but this capability is useful when you want to tightly bind a class or enum to an interface to avoid unnecessarily cluttering the namespace. Listing 2 demonstrates this tight binding.

Listing 2. Tightly binding a class to an interface

public interface Addressable
   class Address
      private String boxNumber;
      private String street;
      private String city;

      public Address(String boxNumber, String street, String city)
         this.boxNumber = boxNumber;
         this.street = street;
         this.city = city;

      public String getBoxNumber()
         return boxNumber;

      public String getStreet()
         return street;

      public String getCity()
         return city;

      public String toString()
         return boxNumber+" - "+street+" - "+city;

   Address getAddress();

Listing 2 declares an Addressable interface that describes any entity associated with an address; for example, a letter, parcel, or postcard. This interface declares an Address class to store the address components, and an Address getAddress() method that returns the address.

Assuming the existence of Letter, Parcel, and Postcard classes whose constructors take Address arguments, the following code fragment shows you how you could construct an array of addressables and then iterate over it, obtaining and printing each address:

Addressable[] addressables = 
   new Letter(new Addressable.Address("10", "AnyStreet", "AnyTown")),
   new Parcel(new Addressable.Address("20", "Doe Street", "NewTown")),
   new Postcard(new Addressable.Address("30", "Ender Avenue", "AnyCity"))

for (Addressable addressable: addressables)

You'll probably find yourself more often declaring enums in an interface. For example, Listing 3 presents a Switchable interface that nests a State enum to describe a pair of switchable states.

Listing 3. Declaring an enum in an interface

public interface Switchable
   enum State
      ON, OFF

   State getState();
   void switchState();

Symbolic identifiers

Q: I would like to use a symbol (e.g., π) to name an identifier. How do I accomplish this task?

A: Java supports the use of various symbols (e.g., π) as identifier names. For example, Listing 4 presents a small Java application where π is the name of an identifier.

Listing 4. Symbolically naming an identifier

public class PI
   public static void main(String[] args)
      double π = 3.14159;

Assuming a Windows platform and the Notepad editor, complete the following steps to save Listing 4 to a file named PI.java:

  1. Run the Notepad editor.
  2. Copy and paste Listing 4 to Notepad's editor window. (To learn how to insert the PI symbol in a Microsoft Word, Open Office, or HTML document, check out eHow's How to Insert the PI Symbol article.)
  3. Select Save As... from the File menu to present the Save As dialog box.
  4. Change the dialog box's Encoding setting to Unicode.
  5. Enter PI.java into the File name text field.
  6. Click the Save button to save the file and close the dialog box.

Launch a command window and change to the directory containing PI.java. Because this source file contains Unicode characters, you must specify -encoding Unicode when compiling this file, as follows:

javac -encoding Unicode PI.java

Assuming that a classfile is created, execute the following command line to run the application:

java PI

You should observe the following output:


What's next?

Next time, I present several ways to customize Swing's file chooser component (e.g., a custom image viewer accessory). Before doing that, I review how to create and show the file chooser.

Get the source code for this post's applications. Created by Jeff Friesen for JavaWorld

The following software was used to develop the post's code:

  • 64-bit JDK 7u6

The post's code was tested on the following platform(s):

  • JVM on 64-bit Windows 7 SP1
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