PROPOSAL: Binary Literals

Mark Thornton mthornton at
Wed Mar 25 15:02:10 PDT 2009

Reinier Zwitserloot wrote:
> To summarize: A bitmask might marginally be more readable in rare  
> cases, especially to the casual programmer who doesn't have much  
> experience with bit-level trickery, which is small comfort, because  
> bitmasking comes up very rarely in java code in the first place. In  
> most other situations, binary literals are much worse compared to hex  
> literals.

In many cases bit masks would be more reliably written as expressions. 
So if we add methods to Integer (and Byte, Long):

static int bit(int index);
static int bits(int fromIndex, int toIndex);

Then we could write Integer.bits(3, 7). Switch statements require 
constant expressions, so for this to be completely convenient it would 
be necessary to extend what was allowed in a constant expression to 
include the standard bit manipulation methods.

Mark Thornton

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