Results tagged “Java Safety”

Another quick addition to my Java Tips series. This instance deals again with adding some safety while reducing a bit of code clutter.


Advice

Use Commons ObjectUtils.toString() instead of directly calling toString() on an object if it may be null. This also allows for a alternate result if the object is null.

Code-Example

Before

final String projectId = (request.getParameter("projectid") != null) ? request.getParameter("projectid").toString() : "";
final String roleId = (request.getParameter("roleid") != null) ? request.getParameter("roleid")
        .toString() : "DEFAULT";

After

final String projectId = ObjectUtils.toString(request.getParameter("projectid"));
final String roleId = ObjectUtils.toString(request.getParameter("roleid"), "DEFAULT");

Benefit

Readability gain. Safety gain, as ObjectUtils methods are null-safe. The reduced code footprint eases recognition of the intention, which is even more significant if there should be a default text if the object instance is indeed null.

Remarks

None.

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Another quick-shot Java Tip. Keeping it simple because I don't have much time currently. It's one of the lesser-known facts of the instanceof-operator and I've seen it's applicability in some sources but YMMV.


Advice

Use the Java operator instanceof for implicit null-checks. Sometimes there is the need to check for both (eg. in equals()-methods), non-null and a certain class. Instead of checking for each condition seperately one can use just the instanceof operator, which handles a null-pointer in the same manner as a non-matching class.

Code-Example

Before

...
if (field != null) {
    if (field instanceof SomeClass) {
        ...
    }
}
...

After

...
if (field instanceof SomeClass) {
    ...
}
...

Benefit

Small readability gain.

Remarks

This seems to be one of the lesser known facts about Java there can be a small confusion with other participants on the same code who interpret this to an aparently missing null-check. But this comes as no danger when the other person just re-adds the null-check, there should be no bad effect on the logic. Maybe just spread this knowledge to your participants somehow ;)

| | Comments (1)

After quite some time this is another instance of the Java Tips. It's an addition to the Apache Commons related framework tips which are guiding into the direction that as a developer you should take advantage of existing and proven frameworks and know their features to leverage your development efficiency. This time complexity of the given example is a bit higher than in the previous tips.


Advice

Use Apache CollectionUtils for evaluation and manipulation of Collections.

Code-Example

A short spoiler for the following code: This is a routine which checks a given set of categories against a set of category-permissions for a user. The result is a set of categories, which the user is allowed to access.

Before

...
public boolean hasPermissionsToAccessCategory(String category) {
    return (this.permissions != null && this.permissions.contains(category));
}
...

...
public Set<String> getCategoriesAllowedToViewBySearchFilter() {
    Set<String> result = null;
    if ((this.filter != null && this.filter.getCategory() != null) && (!this.filter.getCategory().isEmpty())) {
        result = new HashSet<String>();
        for (String category : this.filter.getCategory()) {
            if (this.hasPermissionsToAccessCategory(category)) {
                result.add(category.toString());
            }
        }
        if(result.size() == 0) {
            result = null;
        }
    } else {
        result = this.getAllCategories();
    }

    return result;
}
....

After

...         
public Set<String> getCategoriesAllowedToViewBySearchFilter() {
    Set<String> result = null;
    if (this.filter != null &&
        this.permissions != null &&
        CollectionUtils.isNotEmpty(this.filter.getCategory())) {

        // get only categories, which are both in permissions and filter categories
        result = new HashSet<String>(CollectionUtils.intersection(this.permissions, this.filter.getCategory()));

        // if no results, return null
        if(result.isEmpty()) {
            result = null;
        }
    } else {
        result = this.getAllCategories();
    }

    return result;
}
...

Benefit

Huge readability gain and a safety gain. The code and intention is much clearer here and also has a smaller footprint. The maintainability has been raised because for a developer not familiar with the routine it needs a bit of brainpower to find out what the initial code really does. The removal of the additional method and usage of CollectionUtils.intersection() makes it much easier to understand, how the two sets are compared to each other to retrieve the correct results.

Remarks

None if you are initially writing similar logic. If you're refactoring a method which seems to be better off with framework-provided functionality be careful and think over it a second time. Re-evaluate the code until you're really sure because it's easy to overlook a small detail which changes the results for a certain special case.

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And we're continuing with our next Java Tip. Back on using frameworks for our convenience, I present another often useful possibility to let the StringUtils handle lots of work for you.


Advice

Use Apache StringUtils for concatenating Strings from Arrays or Lists, also when you need to delimit them with an arbitrary string.

Code-Example

Before

...
SQL_WHERE += " AND V.cat_display_name IN (";
boolean addComma = false;
for (String category : filter.getCategories()) {
  if (addComma) {
    SQL_WHERE += ", ";
  }
  SQL_WHERE += "'" + category + "'";
  addComma = true;
}
SQL_WHERE += ") ";
...

...
String SQL = "";
for(String category: filter.getCategories()) {
    SQL += val + ", ";
}
SQL = SQL.substring(0, SQL.length()-2);
....

After

...         
SQL_WHERE += " AND V.cat_display_name IN (";
SQL_WHERE += "'" + StringUtils.join(filter.getCategories(), "', '") + "'";
SQL_WHERE += ") ";
...

Benefit

Huge readability gain and a safety gain. The code and intention is much clearer and the possibility to hide bugs in the loop-logic (which I have seen often) is not present. Also, depending on the length of the Array or List, it may also present a small performance gain (see Java Tip #2) but that's in most such cases neglibigle.

Remarks

None.

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Tip #4 of the Java Tips series is just a quick tip to enhance the codes robustness.


Advice

When comparing constants, always compare the constant to the unknown value.

Code-Example

Before

if(str != null && str.equals("XYZ")) { ... }
if(value != null && value.equals(SomeEnum.ENUM_1)) { ... }

After

if("XYZ".equals(str)) { ... }
if(SomeEnum.ENUM_1.equals(value)) { ... }

Benefit

Safety gain. Minor readability gain. The constant value can be compared to a null value without resulting in a NullPointerException. The check for null can be skipped because when the constant is compared to null the condition simply evaluates to a boolean false.

Remarks

None.

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The next tip in my series of Java Tips deals with the usage of Java frameworks. Some people still have a certain hatred against Java frameworks because many of them have been not easy to deal with in in their past. Nevertheless, while those have either disappeared or evolved in a more usable shape, there have always been some frameworks which were rock-solid and widely accepted as simple and extremely useful. One of those is the Lang package in the library collection of the Apache Commons. In my opinion this one is a must-have for almost every Java project or application. Use it. Period.


Advice

Use Commons StringUtils for checking Strings content for null, emptiness or blankness.

Code-Example

Before

if(str != null && !str.equals("")) { ... }
if(str != null && !str.trim().equals("")) { ... }
if("".equals(str)) { ... }
if(str == null || "".equals(str.trim())) { ... }

After

if(StringUtils.isNotEmpty(str)) { ... }
if(StringUtils.isNotBlank(str)) { ... }
if(StringUtils.isEmpty(str)) { ... }
if(StringUtils.isBlank(str)) { ... }

Benefit

Huge readability gain. Safety gain, as StringUtils methods are null-safe. By using the provided utility methods from StringUtils the intent of a condition is much easier and faster to recognize. Furthermore, since all methods of StringUtils are able to correctly process null Strings, there is no danger of an unexpected NullPointerException anymore because of a forgotten null-check.

Remarks

None.

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