Java Optional Parameters

Rupam Yadav Feb 01, 2023 May 16, 2021
  1. Use Method Overloading to Have Optional Parameters in Java
  2. Use the Optional Container Object to Have Optional Parameters in Java
  3. Use Build Pattern to Have Optional Parameters in Java
  4. Use Varargs to Have Optional Parameters in Java
Java Optional Parameters

In Java class, when we design a method or function, some arguments may be optional for its execution. There are no optional parameters in Java, but we can simulate optional parameters using the following techniques discussed in this article.

Use Method Overloading to Have Optional Parameters in Java

If a class has multiple methods that have the same name but takes different parameters, it is called method Overloading. Here we have a class, Multiply, which has two methods with the same name mul. The arguments passed to the methods are different one takes two int type arguments while the other takes three.

class Multiply{
    static int mul(int a,int b){return a*b;}
    static int mul(int a,int b,int c){return a*b*c;}
class TestOverloading{
    public static void main(String[] args){



Use the Optional Container Object to Have Optional Parameters in Java

In Java, Optional is a container object that may or may not contain a non-null value. If a value is present, then the isPresent() method will return true, and the get() method will return the value.

In case if we expect some null values, we can use the ofNullable() method of this class. It returns an empty Optional object and does not throw an exception. Here the variable lastName is passed null for the Student class object, so we created an Optional object that may contain a null value.

The method isPresent() checks if the value is present; otherwise, the default string is assigned to it, as shown in the code below.

import java.util.Optional;

public class Main
    public static void main(String args[]){
    private static void Student(String name, String lastName, int age){
        Optional<String> ln = Optional.ofNullable(lastName);
        String a = ln.isPresent() ? ln.get() : "Not Given";
        System.out.println("name : "+name + ", lastname : "+a +", age : "+age);


name : John, lastname : Not Given, age : 25

Use Build Pattern to Have Optional Parameters in Java

The purpose of the Build Pattern is to separate the complex object construction from its representation. The logic and default configuration values required to create an object are enclosed in the builder class.

Here in the code, we use an additional class, UserBuilder, which encloses all necessary properties and a combination of optional parameters for building a User object without losing immutability. In the User class, there are only getters and no setters to preserve immutability.

public class User
    private final String firstName; // required
    private final String lastName; // required
    private final int age; // optional
    private final String email; // optional

    private User(UserBuilder builder) {
        this.firstName = builder.firstName;
        this.lastName = builder.lastName;
        this.age = builder.age; =;

    public String getFirstName() {
        return firstName;
    public String getLastName() {
        return lastName;
    public int getAge() {
        return age;
    public String getEmail() {
        return email;

    public String toString() {
        return "User: "+this.firstName+", "+this.lastName+", "+this.age+", ";

    public static class UserBuilder
        private final String firstName;
        private final String lastName;
        private int age;
        private String email;

        public UserBuilder(String firstName, String lastName) {
            this.firstName = firstName;
            this.lastName = lastName;
        public UserBuilder age(int age) {
            this.age = age;
            return this;
        public UserBuilder email(String email) {
   = email;
            return this;
        public User build() {
            User user =  new User(this);
            return user;

In the TestUser class, we utilize the UserBuilder to create the User class object. For the user1 object, we pass all attributes, while for the user2 object, we don’t pass the age and email arguments. Thus it takes default values for optional parameters. The build() method constructs the User object and returns it.

public class TestUser {
    public static void main(String args[]){
        User user1 = new User.UserBuilder("John", "Doe")

        User user2 = new User.UserBuilder("Jack", "Luther")




User: John, Doe, 24,
User: Jack, Luther, 0, null

Use Varargs to Have Optional Parameters in Java

In Java, Varargs (variable-length arguments) allows the method to accept zero or multiple arguments. The use of this particular approach is not recommended as it creates maintenance problems.

Here in the code below, we have the VarargsExample class that has a method display(). This method takes an arbitrary number of parameters of the String type. Few rules to keep in mind while using varargs is that each method can have only one varargs parameter, and it must be the last parameter.

public class VarArgsCheck {
    public static void main (String args[]){
class VarargsExample {
     static void display(String... values) {
        String arr[] = values;
        System.out.println("display method invoked ");
        System.out.println("Value length "+arr.length);



display method invoked 
Value length 0
display method invoked 
Value length 6
Author: Rupam Yadav
Rupam Yadav avatar Rupam Yadav avatar

Rupam Saini is an android developer, who also works sometimes as a web developer., He likes to read books and write about various things.


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