public abstract class ByteBuffer extends Buffer
implements Comparable<ByteBuffer>
Known Direct Subclasses

A byte buffer.

This class defines six categories of operations upon byte buffers:

  • Absolute and relative get and put methods that read and write single bytes;

  • Relative bulk get methods that transfer contiguous sequences of bytes from this buffer into an array;

  • Relative bulk put methods that transfer contiguous sequences of bytes from a byte array or some other byte buffer into this buffer;

  • Absolute and relative get and put methods that read and write values of other primitive types, translating them to and from sequences of bytes in a particular byte order;

  • Methods for creating view buffers, which allow a byte buffer to be viewed as a buffer containing values of some other primitive type; and

  • Methods for compacting, duplicating, and slicing a byte buffer.

Byte buffers can be created either by allocation, which allocates space for the buffer's content, or by wrapping an existing byte array into a buffer.

Direct vs. non-direct buffers

A byte buffer is either direct or non-direct. Given a direct byte buffer, the Java virtual machine will make a best effort to perform native I/O operations directly upon it. That is, it will attempt to avoid copying the buffer's content to (or from) an intermediate buffer before (or after) each invocation of one of the underlying operating system's native I/O operations.

A direct byte buffer may be created by invoking the allocateDirect factory method of this class. The buffers returned by this method typically have somewhat higher allocation and deallocation costs than non-direct buffers. The contents of direct buffers may reside outside of the normal garbage-collected heap, and so their impact upon the memory footprint of an application might not be obvious. It is therefore recommended that direct buffers be allocated primarily for large, long-lived buffers that are subject to the underlying system's native I/O operations. In general it is best to allocate direct buffers only when they yield a measureable gain in program performance.

A direct byte buffer may also be created by mapping a region of a file directly into memory. An implementation of the Java platform may optionally support the creation of direct byte buffers from native code via JNI. If an instance of one of these kinds of buffers refers to an inaccessible region of memory then an attempt to access that region will not change the buffer's content and will cause an unspecified exception to be thrown either at the time of the access or at some later time.

Whether a byte buffer is direct or non-direct may be determined by invoking its isDirect method. This method is provided so that explicit buffer management can be done in performance-critical code.

Access to binary data

This class defines methods for reading and writing values of all other primitive types, except boolean. Primitive values are translated to (or from) sequences of bytes according to the buffer's current byte order, which may be retrieved and modified via the order methods. Specific byte orders are represented by instances of the ByteOrder class. The initial order of a byte buffer is always BIG_ENDIAN.

For access to heterogeneous binary data, that is, sequences of values of different types, this class defines a family of absolute and relative get and put methods for each type. For 32-bit floating-point values, for example, this class defines:

 float  getFloat()
 float  getFloat(int index)