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# Evaluating a Math Expression in Java

Last modified: January 25, 2021

## 1. Overview

In this tutorial, we'll discuss various approaches to evaluate a math expression using Java. This feature could come in handy in projects where we want to evaluate math expressions provided in string format.

To begin with, we'll discuss a few third-party libraries and their usage. Next, we'll see how we can use the built-in Java Scripting API to achieve this task.

## 2. exp4j

exp4j is an open-source library that can be used to evaluate mathematical expressions and functions. The library implements Dijkstra's Shunting Yard Algorithm, a method for parsing mathematical expressions specified in infix notation.

In addition to using standard operators and functions, exp4j allows us to create custom operators and functions.

### 2.1. Adding the Maven Dependency

To use exp4j, we'll need to add the Maven dependency in our project:

```
<dependency>
<groupId>net.objecthunter</groupId>
<artifactId>exp4j</artifactId>
<version>0.4.8</version>
</dependency>
```

### 2.2. Evaluating Simple Expressions

We can evaluate a simple math expression provided in *String* format:

```
@Test
public void givenSimpleExpression_whenCallEvaluateMethod_thenSuccess() {
Expression expression = new ExpressionBuilder("3+2").build();
double result = expression.evaluate();
Assertions.assertEquals(5, result);
}
```

In the above code snippet, we first create an instance of *ExpressionBuilder*. Then we assign it to an *Expression* reference, which we use to evaluate our expression.

### 2.3. Using Variables in Expressions

Now that we know how to evaluate simple expressions, let's add some variables to our expression:

```
@Test
public void givenTwoVariables_whenCallEvaluateMethod_thenSuccess() {
Expression expression = new ExpressionBuilder("3x+2y")
.variables("x", "y")
.build()
.setVariable("x", 2)
.setVariable("y", 3);
double result = expression.evaluate();
Assertions.assertEquals(12, result);
}
```

In the above example, we introduce two variables, *x,* and *y,* using the *variables* method. **We can add as many variables as we need** in the expression using this method. Once we've declared the variables, we can assign values to them using the *setVariable* method.

### 2.4. Evaluating Expressions Containing Math Functions

Let's now see a short example of how we can evaluate some standard math functions:

```
@Test
public void givenMathFunctions_whenCallEvaluateMethod_thenSuccess() {
Expression expression = new ExpressionBuilder("sin(x)*sin(x)+cos(x)*cos(x)")
.variables("x")
.build()
.setVariable("x", 0.5);
double result = expression.evaluate();
Assertions.assertEquals(1, result);
}
```

## 3. Javaluator

Javaluator is another independent and lightweight library that is available for free. Like exp4j, Javaluator is also **used to evaluate infix expressions**.

### 3.1. Adding the Maven Dependency

We can use the following Maven dependency to use Javaluator in our project:

```
<dependency>
<groupId>com.fathzer</groupId>
<artifactId>javaluator</artifactId>
<version>3.0.3</version>
</dependency>
```

### 3.2. Evaluating Simple Expressions

To evaluate expressions using Javaluator, we first need to create an instance of *DoubleEvaluator*:

```
@Test
public void givenExpression_whenCallEvaluateMethod_thenSuccess() {
String expression = "3+2";
DoubleEvaluator eval = new DoubleEvaluator();
Double result = eval.evaluate(expression);
Assertions.assertEquals(5, result);
}
```

### 3.3. Evaluating Expressions Containing Variables

To evaluate expressions containing variables, we use the *StaticVariableSet*:

```
@Test
public void givenVariables_whenCallEvaluateMethod_thenSuccess() {
String expression = "3*x+2*y";
DoubleEvaluator eval = new DoubleEvaluator();
StaticVariableSet<Double> variables = new StaticVariableSet<Double>();
variables.set("x", 2.0);
variables.set("y", 3.0);
Double result = eval.evaluate(expression, variables);
Assertions.assertEquals(12, result);
}
```

We then use the *StaticVariableSet#set* method to assign values to the variables.

### 3.4. Evaluating Expressions Containing Math Functions

We can also solve expressions containing math functions using the Javaluator library:

```
@Test
public void givenMathFunction_whenCallEvaluateMethod_thenSuccess() {
String expression = "sin(x)*sin(x)+cos(x)*cos(x)";
DoubleEvaluator eval = new DoubleEvaluator();
StaticVariableSet<Double> variables = new StaticVariableSet<Double>();
variables.set("x", 0.5);
Double result = eval.evaluate(expression, variables);
Assertions.assertEquals(1, result);
}
```

## 4. The Java Scripting API

Now that we've discussed third-party libraries, let's now discuss how we can achieve this using the built-in API. Java already comes with a small but powerful scripting API. All the classes and interfaces of this API are in the *javax.script* package.

It contains the *ScriptEngineManager *and *ScriptEngine* interfaces that allow us to evaluate JavaScript. Before Java 8, Java came with the *Rhino* engine. However, from Java 8 onward, Java comes with the newer and more powerful Nashorn engine.

### 4.1. Getting *ScriptEngine* Instance

To create a *ScriptEngine*, we first have to create an instance of *ScriptEngineManager*. Once we have the instance, we need to call the *ScriptEngineManager#getEngineByName* method to get the *ScriptEngine*:

```
ScriptEngineManager scriptEngineManager = new ScriptEngineManager();
ScriptEngine scriptEngine = scriptEngineManager.getEngineByName("JavaScript");
```

**Note that Nashorn is the default JavaScript engine that comes packaged with the JDK.**

### 4.2. Evaluating Simple Expressions

We can now use the above *scriptEngine* instance to call the *ScriptEngine#eval* method:

```
String expression = "3+2";
Integer result = (Integer) scriptEngine.eval(expression);
Assertions.assertEquals(5, result);
```

### 4.3. Evaluating Expressions Containing Variables

To evaluate expressions containing variables we need to declare and initialize variables:

```
String expression = "x=2; y=3; 3*x+2*y;";
Double result = (Double) scriptEngine.eval(expression);
Assertions.assertEquals(12, result);
```

Since we are using the JavaScript engine, **we can directly add variables to the expressions as we do in JavaScript**.

**Note – JavaScript doesn't have direct methods to perform math operations and requires access to the Math object. Thus, we cannot solve math expressions using the Java Scripting API.
**

## 5. Conclusion

In this article, we've seen various techniques for evaluating math expressions using Java.

As always, the complete code for this example is available over on GitHub.