Java 14 is introducing a new preview feature called Records. Records provide a nice compact syntax to declare classes that are supposed to be dumb data holders. That may not sound much impressive but by taking a look at how we define such classes now, you might change your mind:

public class Range {
    private final int min;
    private final int max;

    public Range(int min, int max) {
        this.min = min;
        this.max = max;

    public int getMin() {
        return min;

    public int getMax() {
        return max;

    public boolean equals(Object o) {
        if (this == o) return true;
        if (o == null || getClass() != o.getClass()) return false;
        Range range = (Range) o;
        return min == range.min && max == range.max;

    public int hashCode() {
        return Objects.hash(min, max);

    public String toString() {
        return "Range{" +
          "min=" + min +
          ", max=" + max +

One might argue that writing these sort of boilerplates are a breeze with the help of our modern IDEs. However, we still need to read them, right?

Introducing Records

Anyway, we can rewrite the same code with Records like:

public record Range(int min, int max) {}

Java compiler generates the following methods for this simple one-liner:

  • Simple methods to access Record Components, e.g. min() and max().
  • A simple equals implementation that considers all record components while comparing.
  • An equals compatible implementation for hashCode.
  • A simple toString that simply prints all components.
  • and of course, a constructor!

Let’s create a new record object:

jshell> var r = new Range(30, 42);
r ==> Range[min=30, max=42]

Then we can have fun with it:

jshell> r.min()
$5 ==> 30

jshell> r.toString()
$6 ==> "Range[min=30, max=42]"

jshell> r
r ==> Range[min=30, max=42]

Records are immutable constructs, so we can’t change them after construction! That is, Javac doesn’t generate setter methods for records.

Preview Feature

As we mentioned earlier, Records are part of the preview features in Java 14. So we should use the --enable-preview flag while compiling Records:

> javac --enable-preview -source 14

Same is true when we’re going use Records in JShell:

> jshell --enable-preview

Customizing Records

Except for a few limitations, Records are normal Java classes. Therefore, we can add members or logics just like what we did with normal classes. For example, in order to enforce a pre-condition while constructing a Record instance:

public record Range(int min, int max) {
    public Range { // no parameter list here!
        if (min > max) 
            throw new IllegalArgumentException("Min should be less than or equal to max");

When we omit the parameter list in a custom constructor, then we’re practically enhancing the primary constructor. Suppose we violate this pre-condition:

jshell> var r = new Range(30, 12);
|  Exception java.lang.IllegalArgumentException: Min should be less than or equal to max
|        at Range.<init> (#8:3)
|        at do_it$Aux (#9:1)
|        at (#9:1)

It’s also possible to declare instance or static methods on Records:

public record Range(int min, int max) {
    public boolean contains(int number) {
        return number >= min && number <= max;

The invocation is just like normal instance or static methods:

jshell> var r = new Range(30, 42)
r ==> Range[min=30, max=42]

jshell> r.contains(29)
$12 ==> false

jshell> r.contains(32)
$13 ==> true

It’s not possible to declare instance fields inside Records. This is a by-design limitation to simplify the reasoning about Record’s state. As opposed to instance fields, it’s perfectly fine to declare static fields inside records.

Wrapping Up

This was a very gentle introduction to JEP 359. I’m going to work on another more in-depth article about Records, their class representation, indy, and other more low-level details. So stay tuned!