Friday, February 13, 2009

build a stack using a List

An interviewer asked "Sun built a stack data structure using a List. Can you see some serious issues".

He later pointed out a real LIFO stack only allows access at the top. In the next JDK, how could Sun block random access and still allow all existing applications in the world to continue to function once they upgrade JDK?

Interviewer agreed with me that we can throw an unchecked UnsupportedOperationException, but that will break existing apps after upgrade.

I thought about this idea and still don't have a conclusion -- return some new object to indicate "unsupported operation"? but existing apps won't notice anything. They will probably function differently after upgrade. Unnoticeable change in system behavior is worse then uncaught exception.

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New York (Time Square), NY, United States
http://www.linkedin.com/in/tanbin