It sounds like you just want to loop over the string and copy it's characters into a new array of char. You'll need to create the char first using the length of the string. All of that is simple enough to code out. Unless you are trying to optimize for memory consumption or someting else crazy I don't see where you're having trouble.
This is obviously a homework assignment or this discussion belongs in Programming Diversions. Noone would jump through these kinds of hoops except for some sort of academic exercise. The implementation of compareTo compares the char value which is internal to the String class. value is private to the String class so you cannot access it without invoking a method (i.e. charAt() or toCharArray()). There's obviously something more to your assignment, because the task you've stated (String to char without invoking methods) cannot be done. [ July 11, 2006: Message edited by: Joe Ess ]