Why aren't Enumerations Iterable?


Java Problem Overview

In Java 5 and above you have the foreach loop, which works magically on anything that implements Iterable:

for (Object o : list) {

However, Enumerable still does not implement Iterable, meaning that to iterate over an Enumeration you must do the following:

for(; e.hasMoreElements() ;) {

Does anyone know if there is a reason why Enumeration still does not implement Iterable?

Edit: As a clarification, I'm not talking about the language concept of an enum, I'm talking a Java-specific class in the Java API called 'Enumeration'.

Java Solutions

Solution 1 - Java

As an easy and clean way of using an Enumeration with the enhanced for loop, convert to an ArrayList with java.util.Collections.list.

for (TableColumn col : Collections.list(columnModel.getColumns()) {

(javax.swing.table.TableColumnModel.getColumns returns Enumeration.)

Note, this may be very slightly less efficient.

Solution 2 - Java

It doesn't make sense for Enumeration to implement Iterable. Iterable is a factory method for Iterator. Enumeration is analogous to Iterator, and only maintains state for a single enumeration.

So, be careful trying to wrap an Enumeration as an Iterable. If someone passes me an Iterable, I will assume that I can call iterator() on it repeatedly, creating as many Iterator instances as I want, and iterating independently on each. A wrapped Enumeration will not fulfill this contract; don't let your wrapped Enumeration escape from your own code. (As an aside, I noticed that Java 7's DirectoryStream violates expectations in just this way, and shouldn't be allowed to "escape" either.)

Enumeration is like an Iterator, not an Iterable. A Collection is Iterable. An Iterator is not.

You can't do this:

Vector<X> list = …
Iterator<X> i = list.iterator();
for (X x : i) {

So it wouldn't make sense to do this:

Vector<X> list = …
Enumeration<X> i = list.enumeration();
for (X x : i) {

There is no Enumerable equivalent to Iterable. It could be added without breaking anything to work in for loops, but what would be the point? If you are able to implement this new Enumerable interface, why not just implement Iterable instead?

Solution 3 - Java

Enumeration hasn't been modified to support Iterable because it's an interface not a concrete class (like Vector, which was modifed to support the Collections interface).

If Enumeration was changed to support Iterable it would break a bunch of people's code.

Solution 4 - Java

AFAIK Enumeration is kinda "deprecated":

> Iterator takes the place of > Enumeration in the Java collections > framework

I hope they'll change the Servlet API with JSR 315 to use Iterator instead of Enumeration.

Solution 5 - Java

If you would just like it to be syntactically a little cleaner, you can use:

while(e.hasMoreElements()) {


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QuestionSCdFView Question on Stackoverflow
Solution 1 - JavaTom Hawtin - tacklineView Answer on Stackoverflow
Solution 2 - JavaericksonView Answer on Stackoverflow
Solution 3 - JavaBlorgbeardView Answer on Stackoverflow
Solution 4 - JavadlinsinView Answer on Stackoverflow
Solution 5 - Javauser5071455View Answer on Stackoverflow