Java switch statement: Constant expression required, but it IS constant

Java switch statement: Constant expression required, but it IS constant

I understand that the compiler needs the expression to be known at compile time to compile a switch, but why isnt Foo.BA_ constant?

While they are constant from the perspective of any code that executes after the fields have been initialized, they are not a compile time constant in the sense required by the JLS; see §15.28 Constant Expressions for the specification of a constant expression1. This refers to §4.12.4 Final Variables which defines a constant variable as follows:

We call a variable, of primitive type or type String, that is final and initialized with a compile-time constant expression (§15.28) a constant variable. Whether a variable is a constant variable or not may have implications with respect to class initialization (§12.4.1), binary compatibility (§13.1, §13.4.9) and definite assignment (§16).

In your example, the Foo.BA* variables do not have initializers, and hence do not qualify as constant variables. The fix is simple; change the Foo.BA* variable declarations to have initializers that are compile-time constant expressions.

In other examples (where the initializers are already compile-time constant expressions), declaring the variable as final may be what is needed.

You could change your code to use an enum rather than int constants, but that brings another couple of different restrictions:

  • You must include a default case, even if you have case for every known value of the enum; see Why is default required for a switch on an enum?
  • The case labels must all be explicit enum values, not expressions that evaluate to enum values.

1 – The constant expression restrictions can be summarized as follows. Constant expressions a) can use primitive types and String only, b) allow primaries that are literals (apart from null) and constant variables only, c) allow constant expressions possibly parenthesised as subexpressions, d) allow operators except for assignment operators, ++, -- or instanceof, and e) allow type casts to primitive types or String only.

Note that this doesnt include any form of method or lambda calls, new, .class. .length or array subscripting. Furthermore, any use of array values, enum values, values of primitive wrapper types, boxing and unboxing are all excluded because of a).

You get Constant expression required because you left the values off your constants. Try:

public abstract class Foo {
    public static final int BAR=0;
    public static final int BAZ=1;
    public static final int BAM=2;

Java switch statement: Constant expression required, but it IS constant

I got this error on Android, and my solution was just to use:

public static final int TAKE_PICTURE = 1;

instead of

public static int TAKE_PICTURE = 1;

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