The Queue implementations in Java are grouped into general purpose (implementations of of java.util.Queue interface), and concurrent (implementations of java.util.concurrent.BlockingQueue interface)

java.util.Queue interface

  • Designed for holding elements prior to processing in single threaded environment. All operations are not thread safe
  • Generally do not allow insertion of null elements
  • Supported since Java 1.5

Supported Operations

java.util.Queue methods come in 2 forms

  • Throw an exception if the operation fails

    • add(e), equivalent to enqueue, return true upon success and throwing IllegalStateException if no space is currently available
    • remove, equivalent to dequeue, throwing NoSuchElementException if the queue is empty
    • element, equivalent to front, throwing NoSuchElementException if the queue is empty
  • Returns special value (either null or false) depending on the operation, preferred for capacity restricted queue

    • offer(e), equivalent to enqueue, return true upon success and false if no space is currently available
    • poll, equivalent to dequeue, return null if the queue is empty
    • peek, equivalent to front, return null if the queue is empty

Implementations

  • LinkedList, an optionally bounded FIFO queue backed by linked nodes
  • PriorityQueue, an unbounded priority queue backed by a heap

Usage Example

Queue<Integer> queue = new LinkedList<>();

// Group of operations returning special value (either `null` or `false`)
// if the operation fails
queue.offer(1);  
queue.peek();  
queue.poll();

// Group of operations throwing an exception
// if the operation fails
queue.add(2);  
queue.element();  
queue.remove();

java.util.concurrent.BlockingQueue interface

  • Designed to be used primarily for producer-consumer queues in multi threaded environment. All public operations are thread safe
  • Does not accept null elements, throw NullPointerException on attempts to add, put or offer a null.
  • Supported since Java 1.5

Supported Operations

java.util.concurrent.BlockingQueue methods come in 4 forms

  • Throw an exception if the operation fails, extended from java.util.Queue (add(e), remove and element)

  • Returns special value (either null or false) depending on the operation, extended from java.util.Queue (offer(e), poll and peek)

  • Blocks the current thread indefinitely until the operation can succeed

    • put(e), equivalent to enqueue, waiting if necessary for space to become available
    • take(), equivalent to dequeue, waiting if necessary until an element becomes available
  • Blocks for only a given maximum time limit before giving up

    • offer(e, time, unit), equivalent to enqueue, waiting up to the specified wait time if necessary for space to become available.
    • poll(time, unit), equivalent to dequeue, waiting up to the specified wait time if necessary for an element to become available.

Implementations

  • ArrayBlockingQueue, a bounded FIFO blocking queue backed by an array
  • LinkedBlockingQueue, an optionally bounded FIFO blocking queue backed by linked nodes
  • PriorityBlockingQueue, an unbounded blocking priority queue backed by a heap

Usage Example