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Backward compatibility and switch statement with constant expressions

kinow @ Jun 10, 2017 17:35:39

Maintaining Open Source software can be challenging. Making sure you keep backward compatibility (not only binary) can be even more challenging. Apache Commons Lang 3.6 release is happening right now thanks to Benedikt Ritter, and it is on its fourth Release Candidate (i.e. RC4).

A previous RC2 was cancelled due to IBM JDK 8 compatibility, more specifically the lazy initialization of ArrayList’s seems to be different in Oracle JDK and IBM JDK.

The RC3 was cancelled due to a change that could affect users using a switch statement.

The change was in the CharEncoding class. The issue was that this class has some constants, that stopped being constant expressions.

A constant expression is an expression denoting a value of primitive type or a String that does not complete abruptly and is composed using only the following (…)
public class CharEncoding {
    // ...
    public static final String ISO_8859_1 = "ISO-8859-1";
    // ...
}

The code above contains a constant (static final) variable, that is a constant expression. So users can safely use it in switch statements, and the Java compiler won’t complain about it.

public class CharEncoding {
    // ...
    public static final String ISO_8859_1 = StandardCharsets.ISO_8859_1.name();
    // ...
}

The code above is from the change that caused the regression. Any user that was using the ISO_8859_1 constant variable in a switch statement would get a compilation error (e.g. case expressions must be constant expressions) when updating to Apache Commons Lang 3.6. That is because the constant variable is not a constant expression.

I think I learned that some time ago, but if you asked me what was wrong with the change, and if it would break backward compatibility, I would probably fail to spot the issue. There are tools for that now (e.g. Clirr, japicmp) though they may miss some cases too.

Luckily in this case a user subscribed to the Apache Commons development mailing list spotted the issue and quickly reported it. It gets easier maintaining an Open Source project with the constructive feedback of users, like this one.

♥ Open Source

Apache Commons Text LookupTranslator

kinow @ Jun 02, 2017 22:50:39

Apache Commons Text includes several algorithms for text processing. Today’s post is about one of the classes available since the 1.0 release, the LookupTranslator.

It is used to translate text using a lookup table. Most users won’t necessarily be - knowingly - using this class. Most likely, they will use the StringEscapeUtils, which contains methods to escape and unescape CSV, JSON, XML, Java, and EcmaScript.

String original = "He didn't say, \"stop!\"";
String expected = "He didn't say, \\\"stop!\\\"";
String result   = StringEscapeUtils.escapeJava(original);

StringEscapeUtils uses CharSequenceTranslator’s, including LookupTranslator. You can use it directly too, to escape other data your text may contain, special characters not supported by some third party library or system, or even a simpler case.

In other words, you would be creating your own StringEscapeUtils. Let’s say you have some text where numbers must never start with the zero digital, due to some restriction in the way you use that data later.

Map<String, String> lookupTable = new HashMap<>();
lookupTable.put("a", "");
final LookupTranslator escapeNumber0 = new LookupTranslator(new String[][] { {"0", ""} });
String escaped = escapeNumber0.translate("There are 02 texts waiting for analysis today...");

That way the resulting text would be “There are 2 texts waiting for analysis today”, allowing you to proceed with the rest of your analysis. This is a very simple example, but hopefully you grokked how LookupTranslator works.

♥ Open Source

Some links related to Apache Commons Text

kinow @ May 28, 2017 19:50:39

Apache Commons Text is one of the most recent new components in Apache Commons. It “is a library focused on algorithms working on strings”. I recently collected some links under a bookmark folder that are in some way related to the project. In case you are interested, check some of the links below.

  • Morgan Wahl Text is More Complicated Than You Think Comparing and Sorting Unicode PyCon 2017
    • Q: test [text] to check if our methods are OK with some examples in this talk)
    • Q: Canonical Decomposition, and code points comparisons; are we doing it? Are we doing it right?
    • Q: Do we have casefolding?
    • Q: Do we have multi-level sort?
    • Q: CLDR
  • Ɓukasz Langa Unicode what is the big deal PyCon 2017
    • Q: Quite sure we have an issue to guess the encoding for a text…. there is a GPL library for that? Under Mozilla perhaps?
  • Jiaqi Liu Fuzzy Search Algorithms How and When to Use Them PyCon 2017
    • Q: Does OpenNLP have N-GRAM’s? Would it make sense to have that in [text]?
    • Q: Where can we find some tokenizers? OpenNLP?
  • Lothaire’s Books like “Combinatorics on Words” and “Algebraic Combinatorics”.
  • Java tutorial lesson “Working with Text”
  • Mitzi Morris’ Text Processing in Java book
  • StringSearch java library.
    • “The Java language lacks fast string searching algorithms. StringSearch provides implementations of the Boyer-Moore and the Shift-Or (bit-parallel) algorithms. These algorithms are easily five to ten times faster than the naïve implementation found in java.lang.String”.
  • Jakarta Oro (attic)
    • The Jakarta-ORO Java classes are a set of text-processing Java classes that provide Perl5 compatible regular expressions, AWK-like regular expressions, glob expressions, and utility classes for performing substitutions, splits, filtering filenames, etc. This library is the successor to the OROMatcher, AwkTools, PerlTools, and TextTools libraries originally from ORO, Inc. Despite little activity in the form of new development initiatives, issue reports, questions, and suggestions are responded to quickly.
    • Discontinued, but is there anything useful in there? The attic has always interesting things after all…
  • TextProcessing blog - A Text Processing Portal for Humans
  • twitter-text, the Twitter Java (multi-language actually…) text processing library.
  • Python’s text modules

♥ Open Source

When you don’t realize you need a Comparable

kinow @ May 15, 2017 23:07:39

In 2012, I wrote about how you always learn something new by following the Apache dev mailing lists.

After about five years, I am still learning, and still getting impressed by the knowledge of other developers. Days ago I was massaging some code in a pull request and a developer suggested me to simplify my code.

The suggestion was to make a class a Comparable type to both simplify the code, and also have a better design. I immediately agreed, and looking back in hindsight, it was the most logical choice. Yet, I simply did not think about that.

// What the code was
case VSPACE_SORTKEY :
    int cmp = 0;
    String c1 = nv1.getCollation();
    String c2 = nv2.getCollation();
    if (c1 != null 
        Collator collator = Collator.getInstance(desiredLocale);
        cmp = collator.compare(nv1.getString(), nv2.getString());
    } else {
        cmp = XSDFuncOp.compareString(nv1, nv2) ;
    }
    return cmp;
}
// What the code is now
case VSPACE_SORTKEY :
    return ((NodeValueSortKey) nv1).compareTo((NodeValueSortKey) nv2);
}

This moved the logic to a method in the NodeValueSortKey class. This reduced the complexity of the class with the switch statement. And it also made it easier to write unit tests.

If you are not involved in Open Source projects yet, I keep my suggestion from five years ago. Find a project related to something you like, and start reading the code, lurk in the mailing list or watch GitHub repositories.

You can always learn more!

♥ Open Source

Apache Commons Lang: Memoizer

kinow @ Jan 08, 2017 18:34:03

The current release of Apache Commons Lang is 3.5. The upcoming release, probably 3.6, will include a new feature, added in a pull request: a Memoizer implementation. Check out the ticket LANG-740 for more about the implementation being added to [lang].

The book Java Concurrency in Practice introduces readers to the Memoizer, and has also a public domain implementation available for download (besides that, the book has also lots of other interesting topics!).

In summary, Memoizer is a simple cache, that will store the result of a computation. It receives a Computable object, responsible for doing something that will be stored by the Memoizer. Here’s a simple code to illustrate how that will work in your Java code.

// Computation to be stored in the cache
Computable<String, String> getFormattedCurrentDate = new Computable<String, String>() {
    @Override
    public String compute(String fmt) throws InterruptedException {
        return new SimpleDateFormat(fmt).format(new Date());
    }
};

// Our memoizer
Memoizer<String, String> dateCache = new Memoizer<>(getFormattedCurrentDate);

// To illustrate its use
for (int i = 0; i < 10; i++) {
    try {
        // S -> Millisecond
        System.out.println(dateCache.compute("HH:mm:ss:S Z dd/MM/YYYY"));
        // Regardless of this sleep call, we get the same result every iteration
        Thread.sleep(1500);
    } catch (InterruptedException e) {
        e.printStackTrace();
    }
}

The computable created (getFormattedCurrentDate) will be called only once, and stored in a map. The parameter passed in the #compute() method will be used as key in the map. So choose your parameter wisely :-) The output of the example will be similar to the following one.

19:15:57:854 +1300 08/01/2017
19:15:57:854 +1300 08/01/2017
19:15:57:854 +1300 08/01/2017
19:15:57:854 +1300 08/01/2017
19:15:57:854 +1300 08/01/2017
19:15:57:854 +1300 08/01/2017
19:15:57:854 +1300 08/01/2017
19:15:57:854 +1300 08/01/2017
19:15:57:854 +1300 08/01/2017
19:15:57:854 +1300 08/01/2017

In the example above I used a for-loop to illustrate what will happen. Even though we call the memoizer #compute() method several times, followed by Thread#sleep(); only one result, the first to be computed, will be returned.

So that’s all for today. Hope you learned something about this new class, that must be available in the next release of Apache Commons Lang.

Happy hacking!

ps: [lang] uses Java 7, so that is why we do not have a functional instead of the Comparable