How to store " " (whitespace) in an `int` array in Java

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I have an int array int a1[];

At some point in my code, if the conditions meet, I want to replace the value of a[i] to whitespace. For example, if my output is:

1 2 3 4 5 6

I want to make it:

1 2   4 5 6

How can I do that?

Edit: An integer array that contains a mixture of integers and spaces is a solution I came up with but it doesn’t seem to work. All I want is a way to get the output I’ve shown, and the purpose is to make my output more appealing. I’m making a memory game and I want to show a blank space when the guess is right so the user can see his progress.

Short answer: You can't store a space(a char) as an Integer, if is that what you're tryint to do. I would change int to the Integer type so you can add null values to the array and if you find a null value I would print a white space instead.

However, you could get the numerical representation of such char, but in this case It changes the data type.

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Edit

For your memory game I suggest a model class to hold the number and an indication whether it has been guessed. Something along these lines:

public class GameElement {
    final int number;
    boolean guessed = false;

    public GameElement(int number) {
        this.number = number;
    }

    public void setGuessed() {
        guessed = true;
    }

    @Override
    public String toString() {
        if (guessed) {
            return " ";
        } else {
            return String.valueOf(number);
        }
    }
}

You will probably want to put the item to be guessed into the class too so you have everything in one place (or I misunderstood something).

Even nicer, rather than relying on a toString method, decide the presentation completely outside your model class. For this purpose, add getters getNumber and isGuessed so the presentation can access the data and decide how to present it to the user.

Original answer

As has been said in the comments, this is not possible.

You may choose a special int value to mean "space" and remember to print it as a space each time. It’s fragile since a fellow programmer may forget to print the space and just print the int value.

The gold-plated solution (hoping that you don’t need it): Design an abstract Element class with two subclasses, IntElement and SpaceElement and create an array of Element (you can probably find a better name). Have the IntElement hold an int and its toString return a string representation of the int. Have SpaceElement contain no data and its toString return a string consisting of a single space. Now you can fill your array with numbers and spaces as you like.

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In the comment you mention that you're making a memory game and the whitespace is there only to visualize "right guesses". With this in mind, you could keep the existing array as it is and introduce a parallel boolean[] guesses = new boolean[a1.length]; having the same size as the values array.

Then you'd update guesses[i] = true; when there is a correct guess and print your array with something like

for (int i=0; i < a1.length; i++) {
   System.out.print(guesses[i] ? " " : a1[i]);
}

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Comments
  • you can't. a space is not a valid int.
  • You can't do that with an int array. If you use an Integer array you can replace the value with a null. When you print the array, you can choose what to display instead of the null value.
  • Take char array instead.
  • This sounds like an XY problem (xyproblem.info). Can you explain why you want an integer array that contains a mixture of integers and spaces?
  • @ΝίκοςΒαλτσιόγης if it's just for showing purposes, use String or char.
  • ehm ... you can store a char as an int. the problem is that storing ' ' to an int, and print it, prints a numerical value representing that char, not a space.
  • Thank you all for your answers,this however is what i was looking for and it solved my problem.Thank you.
  • Thank you for your answer.
  • seeing as it's only for visual representation, the values don't have to be numerical, it would be easier to use an array of String or char
  • Then you'd also lose the information about the original data (values to be guessed) in your memory game. This solution creates an abstraction layer between the game data and the guesses made.
  • how is that? you can compare non-int values just as easily as ints