Java 8 Streams API Tutorial with Examples

Java 8 Streams API tutorial starts off with defining Java 8 Streams, followed by an explanation of the important terms making up the Streams definition. We will then look at Java 8 code examples showing how to exactly use Streams API. By the end of this tutorial you should feel confident of writing your first program utilising Java 8 Streams API.

What are Streams/Defining Streams
A Stream in Java is a sequence of elements supporting parallel and aggregate operations. This sequence of elements are obtained from a source. Further, streams in Java 8 support processing of these elements through operations defined in a declarative way. These operations are linked-up according to the principle of pipelines
Click to Understand the concept of Pipelines in Computing
and they access the elements via Internal Iterations.

Conceptual terms making up the Streams definition
Streams definition given above has a lot of terms put together. To understand this definition in its totality we need to understand each of these terms. Lets look at them one-by-one:

  • Sequence of elements – A stream provides an interface to a sequenced set of values of a specific type. For e.g. Stream<Integer> is a stream of type Integer.
  • Source of stream elements – Streams are defined as originating from a specific source which can be collections, arrays, input-output(I/O) resources etc
  • Operations on stream elements – As the stream’s elements are encountered, several pre-defined operations can be declared to act on the stream elements to map, reduce and collect these elements.
  • Parallel and aggregate operations – The operations working on these stream of elements can work in parallel on multi-core architectures. Aggregate operations act on elements in the stream in a sequence and end up aggregating data into an end value.
  • Pipeline of Operations – Various operations which have been declared to act on a stream work together based on the concept of Pipelines(link to tutorial
    Click to Understand the concept of Pipelines in Computing
    ). I.e. output of one stream operation acts as input of the next stream operation.
  • Internal iterations– Internal iterations delegate the work of iterating to the Streams library. The programmer just needs to specify in a declarative manner as to which operation has to be applied to the stream of elements.

Streams API usage example
To start with, let us look at a class which has –

  • 2 instance attributes – name & age.
  • Getters and setters for these attributes.
  • A constructor with both attributes.
  • The toString() method.
package com.javabrahman.java8;
public class Employee{
  private String name;
  private Integer age;
  public Employee(String name, Integer age){;
  public String getName(){
    return name;
  public void setName(String name){;
  public Integer getAge(){
    return this.age;
  public void setAge(Integer age){
  public String toString(){
    return "Employee Name:"
      +"  Age:"+this.age;
Next I have a class called, given below, in which I have –

  • A static list of employees called employeeList
  • main() method where I have my streams-based filter logic
  • I initialise my list of Employees with 5 Employee Objects using the 2-parameter Employee constructor which utilises the Arrays.asList() method
Streams usage example -
package com.javabrahman.java8;
import java.util.List;
import java.util.Arrays;
import static;
public class BasicStreams {
 static List<Employee> employeeList=
      Arrays.asList(new Employee("Tom Jones", 45), 
                    new Employee("Harry Major", 25),
                    new Employee("Ethan Hardy", 65),
                    new Employee("Nancy Smith", 15),
                    new Employee("Deborah Sprightly", 29));
 public static void main(String args[]){
   List<Employee> filteredList =
 OUTPUT of the above code
Employee Name:Tom Jones Age:45
Employee Name:Harry Major Age:25
Explanation of the code

  • The program starts with static import of Collector Class’ static toList() method. This method is used to get a list from a stream
  • In the main() method, stream() is invoked on employeeList. The method stream() has been newly introduced in Java 8 on the interface Collection which List interface extends. This stream() method gives an instance java.util.Stream as the return type
  • The stream of employees is then passed(or pipe-lined) to the function limit(). The limit() function puts a limit to the maximum number of elements which will be picked from the stream. In the given example I have passed the value 2, hence the current stream is now limited to first 2 elements. Also, note that limit() is an intermediary operation i.e. the stream processing does not end with limit() method.
  • The collect() method is then invoked on the stream(which now has only 2 elements). Collect() uses a Collector of a specific type which in the given example is of type List(returned by the static toList() method of Collectors class). To simplify the previous statements, collect() uses the toList() method to return a list equivalent of the stream pipe-lined into it(named filteredList). Note that collect() is a terminal operation i.e. the processing of the stream ends with the collect() method.
  • At the end, I simply use a Java 8 style forEach loop and a Method Reference
    Click to Read Tutorial on Java 8’s Method References
    to the System.out.println() method to print all the elements in the resultant filteredList.
  • As expected the 2 employee objects are printed using the overridden Employee.toString() method.

In the above tutorial we saw what Java 8 Streams are, understood the various terms which describe a Stream, and finally saw a basic example of how to start using Streams in your programs using the intermediary & terminal operations.


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