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str = new String( "The Gingham Dog" );


The new operator creates an object using the constructor String().

Two Steps with an Assignment Operator

Review: Two steps take place when an assignment operator is executed:

  1. The expression on the right of the = is evaluated.
  2. The result of evaluation is assigned to the variable on the left of the =.

When an object is constructed, these steps happen like this:

    String str;    // place to hold an object reference
    str =      new String( "The Gingham Dog" ); 
    --+--      ----------------+--------------
      |                        |
      |                        1.  An object is created using the constructor. 
      |                            The Java system keeps track of
      |                            how to find the object (a reference to the object).       

      2. A reference to the object is stored in the variable str.

There are three things involved in this statement: the object, a reference to the object, and the variable.


Say that you have a business card with your name on it.

Are the business card, your name, and the actual you different things?

Are a variable, a reference, and an object different things?