2354. Java 8 - Higher Order Functions
Higher Order Functions

Functional programming in Java.

1. Higher Order Functions

A higher order function is a function that either takes a function (method) as parameter, or returns a function after its execution.

2. Sorting Collections

The first example of a higher order function is the Collections.sort() method which takes a Comparator as parameter. Here is an example:

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

Collections.sort(list, (String a, String b) -> {
    return a.compareTo(b);


3. Sorting in Reverse Order

Here is another example of a higher order function. This time it is a function that returns another function as result. Here is the Java higher order function example:

Comparator<String> comparator = (String a, String b) -> {
    return a.compareTo(b);

Comparator<String> comparatorReversed = comparator.reversed();

Collections.sort(list, comparatorReversed);


This example first creates a Java lambda expression that implements the Comparator interface.

Second, the example calls the reversed() method on the Comparator lambda. The reversed() method returns a new Comparator lambda, which reverse the result returned by the first Comparator implementation.

Because the reversed() method returns a lambda (function), the reversed() method is considered a higher order function.

Third, the example sorts the List of Strings using the Collections.sort() method.

4. References