Java - Specifying Your Code for a Thread


There are three ways you can specify your code to be executed by a thread:

  • By inheriting your class from the Thread class
  • By implementing the Runnable interface in your class
  • By using the method reference to a method that takes no parameters and returns void

Inheriting Your Class from the Thread Class

class MyThreadClass extends Thread {
        public void run() {
                System.out.println("Hello Java thread!");

Create a thread object and start the thread are the same.

MyThreadClass myThread = new MyThreadClass();

The thread will execute the run() method of the MyThreadClass class.

Implementing the Runnable Interface

You can create a class that implements the java.lang.Runnable interface.

Runnable is a functional interface and it is declared as follows:

public interface Runnable {
        void run();

You can use a lambda expression to create an instance of the Runnable interface.

Runnable aRunnableObject = () -> System.out.println("Hello Java thread!");

Then create an object of the Thread class using the constructor that accepts a Runnable object.

Thread myThread = new Thread(aRunnableObject);

Start the thread by calling the start() method of the thread object.


The thread will execute the code contained in the body of the lambda expressions.

Using a Method Reference

You can use the method reference that takes no parameters and returns void as the logic for thread.

The following code declares a ThreadTest class that contains an execute() method which contains the code to be executed in a thread.

class ThreadTest {
     public static void execute() {
                System.out.println("Hello Java thread!");

The following code uses the method reference of the execute() method of the ThreadTest class to create a Runnable object:

Thread myThread = new Thread(ThreadTest::execute);


The following code prints integers from 1 to 5 in a new thread.

A method reference is used to create the thread object in the example.


public class Main {
  public static void main(String[] args) {
    // Create a Thread object
    Thread t = new Thread(Main::print);

    // Start the thread
    t.start();//  ww w. ja v a2s  . c  o  m

  public static void print() {
    for (int i = 1; i <= 5; i++) {
      System.out.print(i + " ");


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