Java has a
two-part type system, consisting of

*primitives*, such as int, double, and boolean, and*reference types*, such as String and List. Every primitive type has a corresponding reference type, called a*boxed primitive*. The boxed primitives corresponding to int, double, and boolean are Integer, Double, and Boolean.
There are
three major differences between primitives and boxed primitives. First,
primitives have only their values, whereas boxed primitives have identities
distinct from their values. In other words, two boxed primitive instances can
have the same value and different identities. Second, primitive types have only
fully functional values, whereas each boxed primitive type has one
nonfunctional value, which is null, in addition
to all of the functional values of its corresponding primitive type. Last,
primitives are generally more time- and space-efficient than boxed primitives.
All three of these differences can get you into real trouble if you aren’t
careful.

Consider the
following comparator, which is designed to represent ascending numerical order
on Integer values.

**// Broken comparator - can you spot the flaw?**

Comparator<Integer> naturalOrder = new
Comparator<Integer>() {

public int compare(Integer first, Integer second) {

return first < second ? -1 : (first == second ? 0 :
1);

}

};

This
comparator looks good on the face of it, and it will pass many tests. For
example, it can be used with Collections.sort
to
correctly sort a million-element list, whether or not the list contains
duplicate elements. But this comparator is deeply flawed. To convince yourself
of this, merely print the value of natural-
Order.compare(new Integer(42), new Integer(42)). Both Integer instances represent the same value (42), so
the value of this expression should be 0, but it’s 1, which indicates that the
first Integer value is
greater than the second.

So what’s the
problem? The first test in naturalOrder works fine.
Evaluating the expression first < second causes the Integer instances referred to by first and second
to
be

*auto-unboxed*; that is, it extracts their primitive values. The evaluation proceeds to check if the first of the resulting int values is less than the second. But suppose it is not. Then the next test evaluates the expression first == second, which performs an*identity comparison*on the two object references.
If first and second
refer
to distinct Integer instances that
represent the same int value, this comparison will
return false, and the comparator will
incorrectly return 1, indicating that the first Integer
value
is greater than the second.

**Applying the****==****operator to boxed primitives is almost always wrong.**
The clearest way
to fix the problem is to add two local variables, to store the primitive int values corresponding to first and second, and to
perform all of the comparisons on these variables. This avoids the erroneous
identity comparison:

Comparator<Integer> naturalOrder = new
Comparator<Integer>() {

public int compare(Integer first, Integer second) {

int f = first; // Auto-unboxing

int s = second; // Auto-unboxing

return f < s ? -1 : (f == s ? 0 : 1); // No unboxing

}

};

Next, consider
this little program:

public class Unbelievable {

static Integer i;

public static void main(String[] args) {

if (i == 42)

System.out.println("Unbelievable");

}

}

No, it doesn’t
print Unbelievable—but what it
does is almost as strange. It throws a NullPointerException
when
evaluating the expression (i == 42). The problem
is that i is an Integer, not an int, and like all
object reference fields, its initial value is null. When the
program evaluates the expression (i
== 42),
it is comparing an Integer to an int. In nearly every case

**when you mix primitives and boxed primitives in a single operation, the boxed primitive is auto unboxed,**and this case is no exception. If a null object reference is auto-unboxed, you get a NullPointerException.
Finally,
consider the program from Item 5:

**// Hideously slow program! Can you spot the object creation?**

public static void main(String[] args) {

Long sum = 0L;

for (long i = 0; i < Integer.MAX_VALUE; i++) {

sum += i;

}

System.out.println(sum);

}

This program
is much slower than it should be because it accidentally declares a local
variable (sum) to be of the boxed primitive
type Long instead of the primitive type long. The program compiles without error or
warning, and the variable is repeatedly boxed and unboxed, causing the observed
performance degradation.

In summary,
use primitives in preference to boxed primitives whenever you have the choice.
Primitive types are simpler and faster. If you must use boxed primitives, be
careful!

**Autoboxing reduces the verbosity, but not the danger, of using boxed primitives.**When your program compares two boxed primitives with the == operator, it does an identity comparison, which is almost certainly*not*what you want. When your program does mixed-type computations involving boxed and unboxed primitives, it does unboxing, and**when your program does unboxing, it can throw a****NullPointerException****.**Finally, when your program boxes primitive values, it can result in costly and unnecessary object creations.
Reference: Effective Java 2nd Edition by Joshua Bloch