How to initialize a static Map in Java?

Sample query:

How would you initialise a static Map in Java?

Method one: static initialiser
Method two: instance initialiser (anonymous subclass) or some other method?

What are the pros and cons of each?

Here is an example illustrating the two methods:

import java.util.HashMap;
import java.util.Map;

public class Test {
    private static final Map<Integer, String> myMap = new HashMap<>();
    static {
        myMap.put(1, "one");
        myMap.put(2, "two");

    private static final Map<Integer, String> myMap2 = new HashMap<>(){
            put(1, "one");
            put(2, "two");

How to initialize a static Map in Java?

The instance initializer is just syntactic sugar in this case, right? I don’t see why you need an extra anonymous class just to initialize. And it won’t work if the class being created is final.

You can create an immutable map using a static initializer too:

public class Test {
    private static final Map<Integer, String> myMap;
    static {
        Map<Integer, String> aMap = ....;
        aMap.put(1, "one");
        aMap.put(2, "two");
        myMap = Collections.unmodifiableMap(aMap);

Answer #2:

I like the Guava way of initialising a static, immutable map:

static final Map<Integer, String> MY_MAP = ImmutableMap.of(
    1, "one",
    2, "two"

As you can see, it’s very concise (because of the convenient factory methods in ImmutableMap).

If you want the map to have more than 5 entries, you can no longer use ImmutableMap.of(). Instead, try ImmutableMap.builder() along these lines:

static final Map<Integer, String> MY_MAP = ImmutableMap.<Integer, String>builder()
    .put(1, "one")
    .put(2, "two")
    // ... 
    .put(15, "fifteen")

(A subset of) Guava used to be called Google Collections. If you aren’t using this library in your Java project yet, I strongly recommend trying it out! Guava has quickly become one of the most popular and useful free 3rd party libs for Java, as fellow SO users agree. (If you are new to it, there are some excellent learning resources behind that link.)

Update (2015): As for Java 8, well, I would still use the Guava approach because it is way cleaner than anything else. If you don’t want Guava dependency, consider a plain old init method. The hack with two-dimensional array and Stream API is pretty ugly if you ask me, and gets uglier if you need to create a Map whose keys and values are not the same type (like Map<Integer, String> in the question).

As for future of Guava in general, with regards to Java 8, Louis Wasserman said this back in 2014, and [update] in 2016 it was announced that Guava 21 will require and properly support Java 8.

Update (2016): Java 9 will finally make this clean to do using nothing but pure JDK, by adding convenience factory methods for collections:

static final Map<Integer, String> MY_MAP = Map.of(
    1, "one", 
    2, "two"

Answer #3:

I would use:

public class Test {
    private static final Map<Integer, String> MY_MAP = createMap();

    private static Map<Integer, String> createMap() {
        Map<Integer, String> result = new HashMap<>();
        result.put(1, "one");
        result.put(2, "two");
        return Collections.unmodifiableMap(result);
  1. it avoids an anonymous class, which I personally consider to be a bad style, and avoid
  2. it makes the creation of map more explicit
  3. it makes map unmodifiable
  4. as MY_MAP is constant, I would name it like constant

Answer #4:

Java 5 provides this more compact syntax:

static final Map<String , String> FLAVORS = new HashMap<String , String>() {{
    put("Up",    "Down");
    put("Charm", "Strange");
    put("Top",   "Bottom");

How to initialize a static Map in Java? Answer #5:

Here’s a Java 8 one-line static map initializer:

private static final Map<String, String> EXTENSION_TO_MIMETYPE = String[][] {
        { "txt", "text/plain" }, 
        { "html", "text/html" }, 
        { "js", "application/javascript" },
        { "css", "text/css" },
        { "xml", "application/xml" },
        { "png", "image/png" }, 
        { "gif", "image/gif" }, 
        { "jpg", "image/jpeg" },
        { "jpeg", "image/jpeg" }, 
        { "svg", "image/svg+xml" },
    }).collect(Collectors.toMap(kv -> kv[0], kv -> kv[1]));

Edit: to initialize a Map<Integer, String> as in the question, you’d need something like this:

static final Map<Integer, String> MY_MAP = Object[][]{
        {1, "one"},
        {2, "two"},
}).collect(Collectors.toMap(kv -> (Integer) kv[0], kv -> (String) kv[1]));

Edit(2): There is a better, mixed-type-capable version by i_am_zero that uses a stream of new SimpleEntry<>(k, v) calls.

I would never create an anonymous subclass in this situation. Static initializers work equally well, if you would like to make the map unmodifiable for example:

private static final Map<Integer, String> MY_MAP;
    Map<Integer, String>tempMap = new HashMap<Integer, String>();
    tempMap.put(1, "one");
    tempMap.put(2, "two");
    MY_MAP = Collections.unmodifiableMap(tempMap);

Hope you learned something from this post.

Follow Programming Articles for more!

About ᴾᴿᴼᵍʳᵃᵐᵐᵉʳ

Linux and Python enthusiast, in love with open source since 2014, Writer at, India.

View all posts by ᴾᴿᴼᵍʳᵃᵐᵐᵉʳ →