Method `getFirst`

returns the `String`

that comes first (is the smallest) among its parameters `a`

, `b`

, and `c`

, each of which is not `null`

.

```
// precondition: a != null && b != null && c != null
public static String getFirst(String a, String b, String c)
{
String first = a;
if(b.compareTo(first) < 0)
first = b;
if(c.compareTo(first) < 0)
first = c;
return first;
}
```

The same standard algorithm is used to find the min/max of a fixed number of values. Set the min/max to the first thing that could be the min/max. Check each additional value against the min/max so far. Update the min/max when a new min/max is found. The conditional statements are intentionally independent. (The second statement is NOT `else if`

.)

A common mistake when finding the min/max of a fixed number of values is comparing each value to each other value. (ex: `a`

to `b`

, `b`

to `c`

, and `a`

to `c`

). Although it is possible to do so correctly, it is more complex, more error prone, and does not scale well to a larger number of values.

If there are more than 4 values, consider adding them to an array or `ArrayList`

and using a loop.

For more information on `String`

comparisons, see compareTo on the AP CS A Exam.