Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Initialization-on-demand holder idiom

Example Java Implementation

This implementation is a well-performing and concurrent implementation valid in all versions of Java. The original implementation from Bill Pugh (see links below), based on the earlier work of Steve Quirk, has been modified to reduce the scope of LazyHolder.INSTANCE to private and to make the field final.
public class Something {
        private Something() {}
        private static class LazyHolder {
                private static final Something INSTANCE = new Something();
        public static Something getInstance() {
                return LazyHolder.INSTANCE;

How it works

The implementation relies on the well-specified initialization phase of execution within the Java Virtual Machine (JVM); see section 12.4 of Java Language Specification (JLS) for details.
When the class Something is loaded by the JVM, the class goes through initialization. Since the class does not have any static variables to initialize, the initialization completes trivially. The static class definition LazyHolder within it is not initialized until the JVM determines thatLazyHolder must be executed. The static class LazyHolder is only executed when the static method getInstance is invoked on the class Something, and the first time this happens the JVM will load and initialize the LazyHolder class. The initialization of theLazyHolder class results in static variable INSTANCE being initialized by executing the (private) constructor for the outer class Something. Since the class initialization phase is guaranteed by the JLS to be serial, i.e., non-concurrent, no further synchronization is required in the staticgetInstance method during loading and initialization. And since the initialization phase writes the static variable INSTANCE in a serial operation, all subsequent concurrent invocations of the getInstance will return the same correctly initialized INSTANCE without incurring any additional synchronization overhead.

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