How do I know a class of an object?

For instance you have a collection of object in an list object and you want to do some logic base on the object class. This can easily be done using the instanceof operator. The operator returns true if an object is an instance of a class, if not it will return false.

The instanceof method is most likely used when implementing a equals(Object o) method of an object.

package org.kodejava.example.lang;

import java.util.ArrayList;
import java.util.List;

public class InstanceOfExample {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
	Person p = new Person("John");
	Animal a = new Animal("Highland");
	Thing t = new Thing("Red");
	String text = "hello";
	Integer number = 1000;
	List list = new ArrayList();
	for (int i = 0; i < list.size(); i++) {
	    Object o = list.get(i);
	    if (o instanceof Person) {
		System.out.println("My name is " + ((Person)o).getName());
	    } else if (o instanceof Animal) {
		System.out.println("I live in " + ((Animal)o).getHabitat());		
	    } else if (o instanceof Thing) {
		System.out.println("My color is " + ((Thing)o).getColor());		
	    } else if (o instanceof String) {
		System.out.println("My text is " + o.toString());		
	    } else if (o instanceof Integer) {
		System.out.println("My value is " + ((Integer) o));		

class Person {
    private String name;
    public Person(String name) { = name;
    public String getName() {
	return name;

class Animal {
    private String habitat;
    public Animal(String habitat) {
	this.habitat = habitat;

    public String getHabitat() {
	return habitat;

class Thing {    
    private String color;
    public Thing(String color) {
	this.color = color;
    public String getColor() {
	return color;

Wayan Saryada

Programmer, runner, recreational diver, currently living in the island of Bali, Indonesia. Mostly programming in Java, creating web based application with Spring Framework, Hibernate / JPA.

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