In laymans terms, what does 'static' mean in Java?


Java Problem Overview

I have been told several definitions for it, looked on Wikipedia, but as a beginner to Java I'm still not sure what it means. Anybody fluent in Java?

Java Solutions

Solution 1 - Java

static means that the variable or method marked as such is available at the class level. In other words, you don't need to create an instance of the class to access it.

public class Foo {
    public static void doStuff(){
        // does stuff

So, instead of creating an instance of Foo and then calling doStuff like this:

Foo f = new Foo();

You just call the method directly against the class, like so:


Solution 2 - Java

In very laymen terms the class is a mold and the object is the copy made with that mold. Static belong to the mold and can be accessed directly without making any copies, hence the example above

Solution 3 - Java

The static keyword can be used in several different ways in Java and in almost all cases it is a modifier which means the thing it is modifying is usable without an enclosing object instance.

Java is an object oriented language and by default most code that you write requires an instance of the object to be used.

public class SomeObject {
    public int someField;
    public void someMethod() { };
    public Class SomeInnerClass { };

In order to use someField, someMethod, or SomeInnerClass I have to first create an instance of SomeObject.

public class SomeOtherObject {
    public void doSomeStuff() {
        SomeObject anInstance = new SomeObject();
        anInstance.someField = 7;
        //Non-static inner classes are usually not created outside of the
        //class instance so you don't normally see this syntax
        SomeInnerClass blah = SomeInnerClass();

If I declare those things static then they do not require an enclosing instance.

public class SomeObjectWithStaticStuff {
    public static int someField;
    public static void someMethod() { };
    public static Class SomeInnerClass { };

public class SomeOtherObject {
    public void doSomeStuff() {
        SomeObjectWithStaticStuff.someField = 7;
        SomeObjectWithStaticStuff.SomeInnerClass blah = new SomeObjectWithStaticStuff.SomeInnerClass();
        //Or you can also do this if your imports are correct
        SomeInnerClass blah2 = new SomeInnerClass();

Declaring something static has several implications.

First, there can only ever one value of a static field throughout your entire application.

public class SomeOtherObject {
    public void doSomeStuff() {
        //Two objects, two different values
        SomeObject instanceOne = new SomeObject();
        SomeObject instanceTwo = new SomeObject();
        instanceOne.someField = 7;
        instanceTwo.someField = 10;
        //Static object, only ever one value
        SomeObjectWithStaticStuff.someField = 7;
        SomeObjectWithStaticStuff.someField = 10; //Redefines the above set

The second issue is that static methods and inner classes cannot access fields in the enclosing object (since there isn't one).

public class SomeObjectWithStaticStuff {
    private int nonStaticField;
    private void nonStaticMethod() { };

    public static void someStaticMethod() {
        nonStaticField = 7; //Not allowed
        this.nonStaticField = 7; //Not allowed, can never use *this* in static
        nonStaticMethod(); //Not allowed
        super.someSuperMethod(); //Not allowed, can never use *super* in static

    public static class SomeStaticInnerClass {

        public void doStuff() {
            someStaticField = 7; //Not allowed
            nonStaticMethod(); //Not allowed
            someStaticMethod(); //This is ok


The static keyword can also be applied to inner interfaces, annotations, and enums.

public class SomeObject {
    public static interface SomeInterface { };
    public static @interface SomeAnnotation { };
    public static enum SomeEnum { };

In all of these cases the keyword is redundant and has no effect. Interfaces, annotations, and enums are static by default because they never have a relationship to an inner class.

This just describes what they keyword does. It does not describe whether the use of the keyword is a bad idea or not. That can be covered in more detail in other questions such as

There are also a few less common uses of the keyword static. There are static imports which allow you to use static types (including interfaces, annotations, and enums not redundantly marked static) unqualified.

public class SomeStaticThing {
    public static int StaticCounterOne = 0;

public class SomeOtherStaticThing {
    public static int StaticCounterTwo = 0;

import static some.package.SomeStaticThing.*;
import some.package.SomeOtherStaticThing.*;

public class SomeOtherClass {
    public void doStuff() {
        StaticCounterOne++; //Ok
        StaticCounterTwo++; //Not ok
        SomeOtherStaticThing.StaticCounterTwo++; //Ok

Lastly, there are static initializers which are blocks of code that are run when the class is first loaded (which is usually just before a class is instantiated for the first time in an application) and (like static methods) cannot access non-static fields or methods.

public class SomeObject {

    private static int x;

    static {
        x = 7;

Solution 4 - Java

Another great example of when static attributes and operations are used when you want to apply the Singleton design pattern. In a nutshell, the Singleton design pattern ensures that one and only one object of a particular class is ever constructeed during the lifetime of your system. to ensure that only one object is ever constructed, typical implemenations of the Singleton pattern keep an internal static reference to the single allowed object instance, and access to that instance is controlled using a static operation

Solution 5 - Java

In addition to what @inkedmn has pointed out, a static member is at the class level. Therefore, the said member is loaded into memory by the JVM once for that class (when the class is loaded). That is, there aren't n instances of a static member loaded for n instances of the class to which it belongs.

Solution 6 - Java

Above points are correct and I want to add some more important points about Static keyword.

Internally what happening when you are using static keyword is it will store in permanent memory(that is in heap memory),we know that there are two types of memory they are stack memory(temporary memory) and heap memory(permanent memory),so if you are not using static key word then will store in temporary memory that is in stack memory(or you can call it as volatile memory).

so you will get a doubt that what is the use of this right???

example: static int a=10;(1 program)

just now I told if you use static keyword for variables or for method it will store in permanent memory right.

so I declared same variable with keyword static in other program with different value.

example: static int a=20;(2 program)

the variable 'a' is stored in heap memory by program 1.the same static variable 'a' is found in program 2 at that time it won`t create once again 'a' variable in heap memory instead of that it just replace value of a from 10 to 20.

In general it will create once again variable 'a' in stack memory(temporary memory) if you won`t declare 'a' as static variable.

overall i can say that,if we use static keyword
  1.we can save memory
  2.we can avoid duplicates
  3.No need of creating object in-order to access static variable with the help of class name you can access it.


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