fail fast, throw exception if any concurrent modification.
fail safe, work on seperate/clean copy for modification, dont throw exception.
A thread-safe variant of java.util.ArrayList in which all mutative operations (add, set, and so on) are implemented by making a fresh copy of the underlying array.
This is ordinarily too costly, but may be more efficient than alternatives when traversal operations vastly outnumber mutations, and is useful when you cannot or don't want to synchronize traversals, yet need to preclude interference among concurrent threads. The "snapshot" style iterator method uses a reference to the state of the array at the point that the iterator was created. This array never changes during the lifetime of the iterator, so interference is impossible and the iterator is guaranteed not to throw ConcurrentModificationException. The iterator will not reflect additions, removals, or changes to the list since the iterator was created. Element-changing operations on iterators themselves (remove, set, and add) are not supported. These methods throw UnsupportedOperationException.
All elements are permitted, including null.
Memory consistency effects: As with other concurrent collections, actions in a thread prior to placing an object into a CopyOnWriteArrayList happen-before actions subsequent to the access or removal of that element from the CopyOnWriteArrayList in another thread.
This class is a member of the Java Collections Framework.
Fail-Safe vs Fail-Fast Iterator in Java Collections
Fail-Safe Iterator (java.util.concurrent – ConcurrentSkipListSet, CopyOnWriteArrayList, ConcurrentMap)
Fail-safe Iterator is “Weakly Consistent” and does not throw any exception if collection is modified structurally during the iteration. Such Iterator may work on clone of collection instead of original collection – such as in CopyOnWriteArrayList. While ConcurrentHashMap’s iterator returns the state of the hashtable at some point at or since the creation of iterator. Most collections under java.util.concurrent offer fail-safe Iterators to its users and that’s by Design. Fail safe collections should be preferred while writing multi-threaded applications to avoid conurrency related issues. Fail Safe Iterator is guaranteed to list elements as they existed upon construction of Iterator, and may reflect any modifications subsequent to construction (without guarantee).
Fail-Fast Iterator (java.util package – HashMap, HashSet, TreeSet, etc)
Iterator fails as soon as it realizes that the structure of the underlying data structure has been modified since the iteration has begun. Structural changes means adding, removing any element from the collection, merely updating some value in the data structure does not count for the structural modifications. It is implemented by keeping a modification count and if iterating thread realizes the changes in modification count, it throws ConcurrentModificationException. Most collections in package java.util are fail-fast by Design.