count() vs length() in Java Stream API

1. Introduction

In Java's Stream API, count() is a terminal operation that returns the number of elements in the stream. There is no length() method in the Stream API. However, in the context of arrays and strings, the length field and length() method are used to determine the number of elements or the number of characters, respectively.

2. Key Points

1. count() is a method used with streams to count the number of elements after any intermediate operations have been applied.

2. length is a field that gives the size of an array, while length() is a method that gives the length of a string.

3. count() is used when working with streams and not with arrays or strings directly.

4. Arrays have the length field, and Strings have the length() method.

3. Differences

Stream count() Array length / String length()
A terminal operation in the Stream API to count elements. A field/method to determine the size or length of an array/string.
Returns a long representing the number of elements in the stream. The length field returns an int for arrays, and length() returns an int for strings.
Used only in the context of streams. Used with arrays and strings, not streams.

4. Example


public class CountVsLength {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        // Using count() with a Stream
        Stream<String> stream = Stream.of("Java", "Python", "C++");
        long count = stream.count(); // Count the elements in the stream
        System.out.println("Stream count: " + count);

        // Using length for an array
        int[] numbers = {1, 2, 3};
        int arrayLength = numbers.length; // Get the length of the array
        System.out.println("Array length: " + arrayLength);

        // Using length() for a String
        String text = "Hello";
        int textLength = text.length(); // Get the length of the string
        System.out.println("String length: " + textLength);


Stream count: 3
Array length: 3
String length: 5


1. stream.count() counts the number of elements in the stream, which are "Java", "Python", and "C++", resulting in 3.

2. numbers.length gives the length of the array [1, 2, 3], which is 3.

3. text.length() gives the number of characters in the string "Hello", which is 5.

5. When to use?

- Use count() when you want to determine the number of elements in a stream, especially after filter or map operations.

- Use length or length() when you need to know the size of an array or the length of a string, respectively.