Java 8 Lambda Tutorial: Beginning with Lambda and Streams

Java 8 introduced Lambas (or Closures). The Iterable and the Collection interface received some new methods. The API allows a functional programming approach – which was barely possible before. In this Java 8 Lambda Tutorial, I want to introduce you to the new functionality with pratical examples.

Before Java 8, filtering a list of persons by a specific name, looked like this

public List<Person> getPersonsWithName(List<Person> searchList,String firstName)
 List<Person> foundPersons = new ArrayList<>();
 for(Person p : searchList)
 return foundPersons;

Using the new stream API on the Collection interface, we can do this

public List<Person> getPersonsWithName(List<Person> searchList,String firstName)
      .filter(p -> p.getFirstName().equals(firstName))


The basic syntax is ((Placeholder) -> Condition/Action)

List<String> lst = new ArrayList<>();
lst.forEach(str -> System.out.println(str));

The :: Operator offers a shortcut.

List<String> lst = new ArrayList<>();

All following examples are based on this Person class.

public class Person {

  private long id;
  private String firstName;
  private String secondName;
  private Gender gender;
  private LocalDate brithdate;

  private List<Person> friends;

  // Getter,Setter,Equals,HashCode,ToString
public enum Gender {

The persons variable is a list of persons that is being initialized on program startup.


  • foreach (from the Iterable-Interface)
// Prints all perons in console

// Prints all birthdates in console
persons.forEach(p -> System.out.println(p.getBrithdate()));

// Output persons, grouped by first name
Map<String, List<Person>> personsGroupedByFirstName = getPersonsGroupedByFirstName();
personsGroupedByFirstName.forEach((name, persons) -> System.out.printf("Name: %s, Vorkomnisse: %d%n", name, persons.size()));


  • stream()/parallelStream() – Opens a stream for further processing – generally speaking, you first open the stream and then reduce, map or process it
  • filter() – Filters all elements based on the condition and returns a stream
// Filters a list based on the first name -> p.getFirstName().equals(firstName))

The min()/max() method finds the minimum/maximum element, matching the given Comparator. Take a look how a comparator can be defined in Java 8

// Oldest person, p2) -> p1.getBrithdate().compareTo(p2.getBrithdate()))

Using the collect() method, you can group or collect the entries from the stream. You cannot access the data from a stream, thus, after processing it, if you want to get the results, you need to collect them.

// Persons with a specifc name, collect them as list
       .filter(p -> p.getFirstName().equals(firstName))

// Group persons by first name, returns a Map<String,List<Person>>;

// Gruop perons by birthdate and frequency, returns Map<LocalDate,Long>, Collectors.counting()));

The map() method switches the stream’s level to the given property. Given getFirstName() returns a String, when mapping to it, we get a Stream of Strings, even though we started with a Stream of Persons. We could process the stream endlessly by filtering, mapping, reducing again.

// List of first names

You are probably familiar with the distinct() method. Distinct is used to only collect different results. Adding distinct to the previous code sample, we will only get unique first names.

// List of unique first names

limit() limits the amount of results returned

// 5 persons;

The removeIf() method removes all elements matching the condition. Be aware that this is applied immediately to your collection, thus modifying it.

// Remove all women from the list
persons.removeIf(p -> p.getGender().equals(Gender.WOMAN));

anyMatch() returns true, if any item in the collection matches the given condition

// Does any one have birthday on the given date? -> p.getBrithdate().equals(date));

allMatch() returns true, if all items in the collection match the given condition. The opposite method is noneMatch().

// Tests, if all persons are men -> p.getGender().equals(Gender.MAN));

sorted() sorts the stream, optionally taking a Comparator

// Default sorting

// Sort by last name,p2) -> p1.getSecondName().compareTo(p2.getSecondName()))...

findFirst() finds the first Element in the stream. The return type is an Optional<T>, since the stream might be empty. Using orElse() we can provide an object, for the case, that the optional is empty and no result is found.

// Finds the person with the given ID, or returns null if none is found
       .filter(p -> p.getId() == id)

Using Arrays.asStream() or Arrays.asList().stream() you may stream an Array

// Build the sum of the array int[] {1,10,50,5,18}).sum();

As mentioned earlier, most methods (distinct(), map(),min(),max(), sorted()…) return a stream, allowing you to endlessly apply more methods.
       .filter(p -> p.getFirstName().equals("Kevin"))
       .sorted((p1, p2) -> p1.getSecondName().compareTo(p2.getSecondName()))


Using the shiny, new lambda expressions. The basic syntax for defining a Comparator is ((Object1, Object2) -> Comparison).

// Sort persons by first name
persons.sort((p1, p2) -> p1.getFirstName().compareTo(p2.getFirstName()));

// Sort persons by birthdate
persons.sort((p1, p2) -> p1.getBrithdate().compareTo(p2.getBrithdate()));

Lambda Expressions in Eclipse

If Eclipse fails to compile your lambda expressions, you probably have not yet set your Compilers compliance level to >= 1.8. Go to Window -> Preferences and set Compiler compliance level to at least 1.8.

Eclipse Compiler auswählen
Configure Eclipse Compiler





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