I was surprised by the fact that Map<?,?> is not a Collection<?>.
I thought it'd make a LOT of sense if it was declared as such:
public interface Map<K,V> extends Collection<Map.Entry<K,V>>
After all, a Map<K,V> is a collection of Map.Entry<K,V>, isn't it?
So is there a good reason why it's not implemented as such?
Thanks to Cletus for a most authoritative answer, but I'm still wondering why, if you can already view a Map<K,V> as Set<Map.Entries<K,V>> (via entrySet()), it doesn't just extend that interface instead.
If a Map is a Collection, what are the elements? The only reasonable answer is "Key-value pairs"
Exactly, interface Map<K,V> extends Set<Map.Entry<K,V>> would be great!
but this provides a very limited (and not particularly useful) Map abstraction.
But if that's the case then why is entrySet specified by the interface? It must be useful somehow (and I think it's easy to argue for that position!).
You can't ask what value a given key maps to, nor can you delete the entry for a given key without knowing what value it maps to.
I'm not saying that that's all there is to it to Map! It can and should keep all the other methods (except entrySet, which is redundant now)!