# Java error with variable initialization

• Java

## Main Question or Discussion Point

Code:
import java.util.Scanner;
import java.io.FileNotFoundException;
import java.io.IOException;
import java.io.PrintWriter;

public class CountryPopulationReverse{

public static void main(String args[])throws FileNotFoundException {

//Variable declarations
Scanner in = new Scanner(System.in);
Scanner FileIn;
String population, country;
int checkNum;
PrintWriter output;
boolean good = true;

try
{
System.out.print("Input file: ");
String inputName = in.nextLine();
FileIn = new Scanner(inputFile);
System.out.print("Output file: ");
String outputName = in.nextLine();
output = new PrintWriter(outputName);

while(good)
{
try
{
/*
System.out.print("Input file: ");
String inputName = in.nextLine();
FileIn = new Scanner(inputFile);
System.out.print("Output file: ");
String outputName = in.nextLine();
output = new PrintWriter(outputName);
*/

while(FileIn.hasNextLine())
{
while(!FileIn.hasNextInt())
{
country = FileIn.next();
output.print(country);
}

population = FileIn.next();

checkNum = Integer.parseInt(population);
output.println(checkNum);
System.out.println(checkNum);
if(checkNum<=5)
throw new BadDataException("Population (" + checkNum + ") is too low.");
if(checkNum>2000000000)
throw new BadDataException("Population (" + checkNum + ") is too high.");

}
output.close();
good=false;

catch (NumberFormatException e) { System.out.println("Number Format Exception found.");}

}//End while loop

}
}
Code:
CountryPopulationReverse.java:46: error: variable FileIn might not have been initialized
while(FileIn.hasNextLine())
Not understanding java right now Why cant I declare these variables outside the try block?!!?!? I hate java I would rather do C it is so much more lenient.

Only time this program compiles is when I remove the innner comments of the try block and delete the top portion.

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Not understanding java right now Why cant I declare these variables outside the try block?!!?!? I hate java I would rather do C it is so much more lenient.

Only time this program compiles is when I remove the innner comments of the try block and delete the top portion.
Lenient isn't always good. The compiler complaints usually are there for a reason. For example, the compiler is quite right here. If that Scanner(File) call throws FileNotFoundException in the first try/catch block, you just print something in the catch part. Now, between those 2 try/catch blocks, the FileIn variable could in fact be not initialized.

And it's with that that you enter the second try/catch block. You didn't really handle the error in a good way, here. I'm going to side with the compiler on this one, I'm afraid. :)

BTW, the indentation doesn't really help make it easy to read. Good formatting and clarity are some of the key aspects of good code.

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1 person
If by "lenient" you mean it doesn't complain, when you put a bug in your code that could cause all kinds of undefined behaviour.
I'm not entirely shure what your code is supposed to do but I'm guessing it should look more like this.

Code:
public class CountryPopulationReverse {

public static void main(String args[]) {
Scanner in = new Scanner(System.in);
Scanner FileIn = null;
PrintWriter output = null;

try
{
System.out.print("Input file: ");
String inputName = in.nextLine();
FileIn = new Scanner(inputFile);
System.out.print("Output file: ");
String outputName = in.nextLine();
output = new PrintWriter(outputName);
while(FileIn.hasNextLine())
{
while(!FileIn.hasNextInt())
{
String country = FileIn.next();
output.print(country);
}

String population = FileIn.next();

int checkNum = Integer.parseInt(population);
output.println(checkNum);
System.out.println(checkNum);
if(checkNum<=5)
throw new BadDataException("Population (" + checkNum + ") is too low.");
if(checkNum>2000000000)
throw new BadDataException("Population (" + checkNum + ") is too high.");

}
catch (NumberFormatException e) { System.out.println("Number Format Exception found.");}
finally {
if(output != null) {
output.flush();
output.close();
}
if(FileIn != null) FileIn.close();
}
}
}

1 person
harborsparrow
Gold Member
You can probably squelsh that error like this:

Scanner FileIn = null;

It's really warning you about something important, though. I see you are trying to do something with FileIn in your catch statement, and since the initialization of FileIn is in the try block, the catch block will not see that it has been initialized. Sure enough, it will be null, but you seem to assume it might not be at that point, and that is what the compiler is really upset about.

It is generally worthwhile to put a try-catch structure around every library call (such as initialization of a Scanner), because that specific initialization can fail. Having the try catch just for that part allows you the option to tailor an error message (or set a condition flag) for that specific failure.

Last edited: