Thought of compiling a list of classes that are popular among java programmers. Should I say most essential? There is no strict rules for the selection, in fact there are no rules followed. Classes that popped up on top of mind are listed below. You are welcome to add your own list. This list will vary depending on the type of java project you work on. These classes I have listed does not require any introduction and they are as popular as Rajnikanth in java world. Have fun!
String class will be the undisputed champion on any day by popularity and none will deny that. This is a final class and used to create / operate immutable string literals. It was available from JDK 1.0
Usage of System depends on the type of project you work on. You may not be using it in your project but still it is one of the popular java classes around. This is a utility class and cannot be instantiated. Main uses of this class are access to standard input, output, environment variables, etc. Available since JDK 1.0
Throwable is the super class of all Errors and Exceptions. All abnormal conditions that can be handled comes under Exception. NullPointerException is the most popular among all the exceptions. Exception is at top of hierarchy of all such exceptions. Available since JDK 1.0
An implementation of array data structure. This class implements List interface and is the most popular member or java collections framework. Difference between ArrayList and Vector is one popular topic among the beginners and frequently asked question in java interviews. It was introduced in JDK 1.2
An implementation of a key-value pair data structure. This class implements Map interface. As similar to ArrayList vs Vector, we have HashMap vs Hashtable popular comparisons. This happens to be a popular collection class that acts as a container for property-value pairs and works as a transport agent between multiple layers of an application. It was introduced in JDK 1.2
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Great grandfather of all java classes. Every java class is a subclass of Object. It will be used often when we work on a platform/framework. It contains the important methods like equals, hashcode, clone, toString, etc. It is available from day one of java (JDK 1.0)
A thread is a single sequence of execution, where multiple thread can co-exist and share resources. We can extend this Thread class and create our own threads. Using Runnable is also another option. Usage of this class depends on the domain of your application. It is not absolutely necessary to build a usual application. It was available from JDK 1.0
Class is a direct subclass of Object. There is no constructor in this class and their objects are loaded in JVM by classloaders. Most of us may not have used it directly but I think its an essential class. It is an important class in doing reflection. It is available from JDK 1.0
This is used to work with date. Sometimes we feel that this class should have added more utility methods and we end up creating those. Every enterprise application we create has a date utility. Introduced in JDK 1.0 and later made huge changes in JDK1.1 by deprecating a whole lot of methods.
This is an interface. It is very popular and came as a replacement for Enumeration. It is a simple to use convenience utility and works in sync with Iterable. It was introduced in JDK 1.2
Did I miss your favourite?