Can we write our own iterator in Java?

The best reusable option is to implement the interface Iterable and override the method iterator().

Here’s an example of a an ArrayList like class implementing the interface, in which you override the method Iterator().

import java.util.Iterator;

public class SOList<Type> implements Iterable<Type> {

    private Type[] arrayList;
    private int currentSize;

    public SOList(Type[] newArray) {
        this.arrayList = newArray;
        this.currentSize = arrayList.length;

    public Iterator<Type> iterator() {
        Iterator<Type> it = new Iterator<Type>() {

            private int currentIndex = 0;

            public boolean hasNext() {
                return currentIndex < currentSize && arrayList[currentIndex] != null;

            public Type next() {
                return arrayList[currentIndex++];

            public void remove() {
                throw new UnsupportedOperationException();
        return it;

This class implements the Iterable interface using Generics. Considering you have elements to the array, you will be able to get an instance of an Iterator, which is the needed instance used by the “foreach” loop, for instance.

You can just create an anonymous instance of the iterator without creating extending Iterator and take advantage of the value of currentSize to verify up to where you can navigate over the array (let’s say you created an array with capacity of 10, but you have only 2 elements at 0 and 1). The instance will have its owner counter of where it is and all you need to do is to play with hasNext(), which verifies if the current value is not null, and the next(), which will return the instance of your currentIndex. Below is an example of using this API…

public static void main(String[] args) {
    // create an array of type Integer
    Integer[] numbers = new Integer[]{1, 2, 3, 4, 5};

    // create your list and hold the values.
    SOList<Integer> stackOverflowList = new SOList<Integer>(numbers);

    // Since our class SOList is an instance of Iterable, then we can use it on a foreach loop
    for(Integer num : stackOverflowList) {

    // creating an array of Strings
    String[] languages = new String[]{"C", "C++", "Java", "Python", "Scala"};

    // create your list and hold the values using the same list implementation.
    SOList<String> languagesList = new SOList<String>(languages);

    // Since our class SOList is an instance of Iterable, then we can use it on a foreach loop
    for(String lang : languagesList) {
// will print "12345

If you want, you can iterate over it as well using the Iterator instance:

// navigating the iterator
while (allNumbers.hasNext()) {
    Integer value =;
    if (allNumbers.hasNext()) {
        System.out.print(value + ", ");
    } else {
// will print 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

The foreach documentation is located at,5.0/docs/guide/language/foreach.html. You can take a look at a more complete implementation at my personal practice google code.

Now, to get the effects of what you need I think you need to plug a concept of a filter in the Iterator… Since the iterator depends on the next values, it would be hard to return true on hasNext(), and then filter the next() implementation with a value that does not start with a char “a” for instance. I think you need to play around with a secondary Interator based on a filtered list with the values with the given filter.

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