Properties, canonical way of reading/writing configuration files.

Discussion in 'Java' started by Alex Polite, Jun 6, 2004.

  1. Alex Polite

    Alex Polite Guest

    Here's another newbie question?

    Is java.util.Properties the canonical way of reading and writing
    configuration files?

    alex

    --
    Alex Polite
    http://polite.se
    Alex Polite, Jun 6, 2004
    #1
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  2. Alex Polite

    lyallex Guest

    On 6 Jun 2004 14:59:24 GMT, Alex Polite <> wrote:

    >Here's another newbie question?
    >
    >Is java.util.Properties the canonical way of reading and writing
    >configuration files?
    >
    >alex


    Alex

    I would say yes before J2SE 1.4 came out.
    If you are using 1.4 or later check out java.util.prefs.Preferences.

    Rgds
    Lyall
    lyallex, Jun 6, 2004
    #2
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  3. Alex Polite

    Liz Guest

    "lyallex" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > On 6 Jun 2004 14:59:24 GMT, Alex Polite <> wrote:
    >
    > >Here's another newbie question?
    > >
    > >Is java.util.Properties the canonical way of reading and writing
    > >configuration files?
    > >
    > >alex

    >
    > Alex
    >
    > I would say yes before J2SE 1.4 came out.
    > If you are using 1.4 or later check out java.util.prefs.Preferences.
    >
    > Rgds
    > Lyall
    >


    A nit, perhaps, but in Windows the preferences are stored in the registry
    not in a file, so it can't be a configuration file ;-))
    Liz, Jun 7, 2004
    #3
  4. On Mon, 07 Jun 2004 03:15:33 GMT, "Liz" <> wrote:

    >
    >"lyallex" <> wrote in message
    >news:...
    >> On 6 Jun 2004 14:59:24 GMT, Alex Polite <> wrote:
    >>
    >> >Here's another newbie question?
    >> >
    >> >Is java.util.Properties the canonical way of reading and writing
    >> >configuration files?
    >> >
    >> >alex

    >>
    >> Alex
    >>
    >> I would say yes before J2SE 1.4 came out.
    >> If you are using 1.4 or later check out java.util.prefs.Preferences.
    >>
    >> Rgds
    >> Lyall
    >>

    >
    >A nit, perhaps, but in Windows the preferences are stored in the registry
    >not in a file, so it can't be a configuration file ;-))


    Guess you need to read the API docs Liz

    http://java.sun.com/j2se/1.4.2/docs/api/index.html

    Rgds
    Lyall
    Duncan Strang, Jun 7, 2004
    #4
  5. Alex Polite

    lyallex Guest

    On Mon, 07 Jun 2004 03:15:33 GMT, "Liz" <> wrote:

    >
    >"lyallex" <> wrote in message
    >news:...
    >> On 6 Jun 2004 14:59:24 GMT, Alex Polite <> wrote:
    >>
    >> >Here's another newbie question?
    >> >
    >> >Is java.util.Properties the canonical way of reading and writing
    >> >configuration files?
    >> >
    >> >alex

    >>
    >> Alex
    >>
    >> I would say yes before J2SE 1.4 came out.
    >> If you are using 1.4 or later check out java.util.prefs.Preferences.
    >>
    >> Rgds
    >> Lyall
    >>

    >
    >A nit, perhaps, but in Windows the preferences are stored in the registry
    >not in a file, so it can't be a configuration file ;-))
    >



    If you find tha API docs a bit abstract (I know I do) try

    http://www.javaworld.com/javaworld/jw-08-2001/jw-0831-preferences-p2.html

    Where the preferences are actually stored doesn't matter. You can
    create and edit a preferences file, I guess that's all you need.

    Rgds
    Lyall
    lyallex, Jun 7, 2004
    #5
  6. Alex Polite

    Alex Polite Guest

    On sön, jun 06, 2004 at 03:43:53 +0000, lyallex wrote:
    > Alex
    >
    > I would say yes before J2SE 1.4 came out.
    > If you are using 1.4 or later check out java.util.prefs.Preferences.
    >


    OK I tried it out.

    Storing preferences data in an XML file and the way that file is
    interfaced with getInt et. al. feels soooo right.

    But this ~/.java/.prefs thing isn't right for this project.

    Can I tell the Preferences constructor to look at a specific path
    rather then ~/.java/.prefs?

    I need instances for different users to look at the same place. I
    can't put it under system preferences cause I'm not root. This is for
    an application running on a webhotel. So the user will be something
    like nobody or www-data.


    Maybe there's some other package that does persistance with XML,
    better fitted for my needs?

    alex



    --
    Alex Polite
    http://polite.se
    Alex Polite, Jun 7, 2004
    #6
  7. Alex Polite

    lyallex Guest

    On 6 Jun 2004 14:59:24 GMT, Alex Polite <> wrote:

    >Here's another newbie question?
    >
    >Is java.util.Properties the canonical way of reading and writing
    >configuration files?
    >
    >alex


    Hi

    It seems that the article I mentioned in an earlier post

    http://www.javaworld.com/javaworld/jw-08-2001/jw-0831-preferences-p2.html

    has some 'inconsistencies' with my current version of J2SE 1.4.2. The
    article mentions getting a reference to a Preferences object by
    passing an object reference but my API docs only show a
    userNodeForPackage method that takes a Class as argument so I thought
    I'd do a quick run through of getting and setting preferences and see
    if anyone can point out problems with this approach.

    First set up a properties node

    package anon.pack.prefs;

    import java.util.prefs.Preferences;
    import java.io.FileOutputStream;

    public class PropertiesTest {

    private Preferences prefs;

    public PropertiesTest() {
    prefs = Preferences.userNodeForPackage(this.getClass());
    String outfile = "C:/prefs/prefs.xml";
    prefs.put("outfile", outfile);
    try{
    prefs.exportNode(new FileOutputStream(outfile));
    }
    catch(Exception ex){
    }
    }

    public static void main(String[] args){
    new PropertiesTest();
    }
    }

    After running this once I have the following file in
    C:/prefs/prefs.xml

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>

    <!DOCTYPE preferences SYSTEM
    'http://java.sun.com/dtd/preferences.dtd'>

    <preferences EXTERNAL_XML_VERSION="1.0">
    <root type="user">
    <map />
    <node name="anon">
    <map />
    <node name="pack">
    <map />
    <node name="prefs">
    <map>
    <entry key="outfile" value="C:/prefs/prefs.xml" />
    </map>
    </node>
    </node>
    </node>
    </root>
    </preferences>

    I can now modify my code to read the preferences file location thus

    ....

    public PropertiesTest() {
    prefs = Preferences.userNodeForPackage(this.getClass());
    String prefsfile = prefs.get("outfile", "C:/temp/tempprefs.xml");
    try{
    prefs.importPreferences(new FileInputStream(prefsfile));
    }
    catch(Exception ex){
    ex.printStackTrace();
    }
    }

    So now I can change the location of my preference file at will which
    is pretty cool I think.
    Anyway say I now need to set a 'property' that returns the value of a
    listenPort (crap example but it does the job). All I need to do is to
    edit my preferences file and add in a new entry like this.

    <preferences EXTERNAL_XML_VERSION="1.0">
    <root type="user">
    <map />
    <node name="anon">
    <map />
    <node name="pack">
    <map />
    <node name="prefs">
    <map>
    <entry key="outfile" value="C:/prefs/prefs.xml" />
    <!-- *********** new entry *********** -->
    <entry key="listenPort" value="26358" />
    </map>
    </node>
    </node>
    </node>
    </root>
    </preferences>

    Now I can access this preference/property in my code

    ....

    public String getPref(String key){
    return prefs.get(key, "someDefaultValue");
    }

    public static void main(String[] args){
    System.out.println(new PropertiesTest().getPref("listenPort"));
    }

    The output is

    26358


    Which seems pretty cool to me, I couldn't give a monkeys where the
    information is stored on the platform, as far as I'm concerned I have
    a platform independent, location independent way of specifying
    properties for my programs.

    I'm not really sure where the author of the article above is coming
    from when he uses objects to get preferences, perhaps this was an
    earlier version (or a later one, I haven't looked yet). Whatever, much
    of what he says seems to make sense (to me at least).

    What, if anything, do people think is wrong with this approach ?

    Rgds
    Lyall
    lyallex, Jun 7, 2004
    #7
  8. Alex Polite

    Alex Polite Guest

    Re: [SOLVED sort of anyway] Properties, canonical way of reading/writing configuration files.

    On mån, jun 07, 2004 at 09:58:56 +0000, Alex Polite wrote:
    > On sön, jun 06, 2004 at 03:43:53 +0000, lyallex wrote:
    > > Alex
    > >
    > > I would say yes before J2SE 1.4 came out.
    > > If you are using 1.4 or later check out java.util.prefs.Preferences.
    > >

    >
    > OK I tried it out.
    >
    > Storing preferences data in an XML file and the way that file is
    > interfaced with getInt et. al. feels soooo right.
    >
    > But this ~/.java/.prefs thing isn't right for this project.
    >
    > Can I tell the Preferences constructor to look at a specific path
    > rather then ~/.java/.prefs?
    >
    > I need instances for different users to look at the same place. I
    > can't put it under system preferences cause I'm not root. This is for
    > an application running on a webhotel. So the user will be something
    > like nobody or www-data.



    Turns out you can supply the userRoot and systemRoot variables as
    arguments to the JVM.

    java -Djava.util.prefs.systemRoot=<somepath> <someapp>

    Then you have to give anyone using the app read/write permissions to
    everything under <somepath>.

    The problem is just that if a user creates a new node that file will
    have write premissions for that user only. If you only have one
    concurrent user and reset the premissions after the app is run you
    should be alright.

    A cleaner alternative would be to override
    java.util.prefs.PreferencesFactory and use a SQL backend or something
    like that. But 1.4.1 dosen't seem to provide that and I don't want to
    stray from the standard library.

    Besides my app will not be changing the preferences.

    alex

    --
    Alex Polite
    http://polite.se
    Alex Polite, Jun 7, 2004
    #8
  9. Alex Polite

    Rogan Dawes Guest

    lyallex wrote:

    > First set up a properties node
    >
    > package anon.pack.prefs;
    >
    > import java.util.prefs.Preferences;
    > import java.io.FileOutputStream;
    >
    > public class PropertiesTest {
    >
    > private Preferences prefs;
    >
    > public PropertiesTest() {
    > prefs = Preferences.userNodeForPackage(this.getClass());
    > String outfile = "C:/prefs/prefs.xml";
    > prefs.put("outfile", outfile);
    > try{
    > prefs.exportNode(new FileOutputStream(outfile));
    > }
    > catch(Exception ex){
    > }
    > }
    >
    > public static void main(String[] args){
    > new PropertiesTest();
    > }
    > }
    >
    > After running this once I have the following file in
    > C:/prefs/prefs.xml
    >
    > <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
    >
    > <!DOCTYPE preferences SYSTEM
    > 'http://java.sun.com/dtd/preferences.dtd'>
    >
    > <preferences EXTERNAL_XML_VERSION="1.0">
    > <root type="user">
    > <map />
    > <node name="anon">
    > <map />
    > <node name="pack">
    > <map />
    > <node name="prefs">
    > <map>
    > <entry key="outfile" value="C:/prefs/prefs.xml" />
    > </map>
    > </node>
    > </node>
    > </node>
    > </root>
    > </preferences>
    >


    Yes, but you should ALSO have the same information in ~/.java/ whatever,
    so there is no point in having exported it to a file, other than that
    another user might be able to import those settings and configure their
    app environment the same way.

    Note that you read the location of the prefs outfile from prefs before
    you have imported your (previously exported) file. Try skipping that
    step, and seeing if your listenPort is still set ;-)

    > Which seems pretty cool to me, I couldn't give a monkeys where the
    > information is stored on the platform, as far as I'm concerned I have
    > a platform independent, location independent way of specifying
    > properties for my programs.


    Sure. It looks like it is platform independent anyway, which is really
    all you need, I think.

    >
    > What, if anything, do people think is wrong with this approach ?


    See above ;-)
    >
    > Rgds
    > Lyall


    Please don't take my comments to be knocking Preferences, I think it
    looks great! I'm just pointing out some implementation mistakes that you
    made.

    Rogan
    --
    Rogan Dawes

    *ALL* messages to will be dropped, and added
    to my blacklist. Please respond to "nntp AT dawes DOT za DOT net"
    Rogan Dawes, Jun 7, 2004
    #9
  10. Alex Polite

    Chris Smith Guest

    > On Mon, 07 Jun 2004 03:15:33 GMT, "Liz" <> wrote:

    > >A nit, perhaps, but in Windows the preferences are stored in the registry
    > >not in a file, so it can't be a configuration file ;-))


    Duncan Strang wrote:
    >
    > Guess you need to read the API docs Liz
    >
    > http://java.sun.com/j2se/1.4.2/docs/api/index.html


    Eh? The API docs consists of a lot of stuff. What piece exactly are
    you pointing out? Is it that it's possible to reimplement the
    Preferences API? Or do you mean something else?

    --
    www.designacourse.com
    The Easiest Way to Train Anyone... Anywhere.

    Chris Smith - Lead Software Developer/Technical Trainer
    MindIQ Corporation
    Chris Smith, Jun 7, 2004
    #10
  11. Alex Polite

    lyallex Guest

    On Mon, 07 Jun 2004 14:59:40 +0200, Rogan Dawes <>
    wrote:

    ....

    >
    >Please don't take my comments to be knocking Preferences, I think it
    >looks great! I'm just pointing out some implementation mistakes that you
    >made.
    >
    >Rogan


    Ah, I see, well thanks for that Rogan

    Actually the code does exactly what I want it to do.
    All I know is that once I have set everything up I can do this

    public PropertiesTest() {
    prefs = Preferences.userNodeForPackage(this.getClass());
    }

    public String getPref(String key){
    return prefs.get(key, "someDefaultValue");
    }

    public static void main(String[] args){
    System.out.println(newPropertiesTest().getPref("listenPort"));
    }

    and still get the output

    26358

    That is all I wanted.

    Rgds
    Lyall
    lyallex, Jun 7, 2004
    #11
  12. Alex Polite

    Rogan Dawes Guest

    lyallex wrote:

    > Actually the code does exactly what I want it to do.
    > All I know is that once I have set everything up I can do this
    >
    > public PropertiesTest() {
    > prefs = Preferences.userNodeForPackage(this.getClass());
    > }
    >
    > public String getPref(String key){
    > return prefs.get(key, "someDefaultValue");
    > }
    >
    > public static void main(String[] args){
    > System.out.println(newPropertiesTest().getPref("listenPort"));
    > }
    >
    > and still get the output
    >
    > 26358
    >
    > That is all I wanted.
    >
    > Rgds
    > Lyall


    Sure. All I was saying was that your program was reading the value from
    a tree structure under .java, rather than from the .xml file that you
    were referring to. As you have shown, you can skip that import step
    completely, and still get your values.

    Regards,

    Rogan
    --
    Rogan Dawes

    *ALL* messages to will be dropped, and added
    to my blacklist. Please respond to "nntp AT dawes DOT za DOT net"
    Rogan Dawes, Jun 7, 2004
    #12
  13. Alex Polite

    lyallex Guest

    On Mon, 07 Jun 2004 17:26:16 +0200, Rogan Dawes <>
    wrote:

    >lyallex wrote:
    >
    >> Actually the code does exactly what I want it to do.
    >> All I know is that once I have set everything up I can do this
    >> ....


    >Sure. All I was saying was that your program was reading the value from
    >a tree structure under .java, rather than from the .xml file that you
    >were referring to. As you have shown, you can skip that import step
    >completely, and still get your values.
    >
    >Regards,
    >
    >Rogan


    Looks like we are in agreement then

    Cool

    Rgds
    Lyall



    "Process- How will the work and the team be organized?
    The team needs to fit the culture in which it will operate,
    but you should write software well rather than preserve the
    irrationality of an enclosing culture" - Kent Beck
    lyallex, Jun 7, 2004
    #13
  14. Alex Polite

    Liz Guest

    <Duncan Strang> wrote in message
    news:...
    > On Mon, 07 Jun 2004 03:15:33 GMT, "Liz" <> wrote:
    >
    > >
    > >"lyallex" <> wrote in message
    > >news:...
    > >> On 6 Jun 2004 14:59:24 GMT, Alex Polite <> wrote:
    > >>
    > >> >Here's another newbie question?
    > >> >
    > >> >Is java.util.Properties the canonical way of reading and writing
    > >> >configuration files?
    > >> >
    > >> >alex
    > >>
    > >> Alex
    > >>
    > >> I would say yes before J2SE 1.4 came out.
    > >> If you are using 1.4 or later check out java.util.prefs.Preferences.
    > >>
    > >> Rgds
    > >> Lyall
    > >>

    > >
    > >A nit, perhaps, but in Windows the preferences are stored in the registry
    > >not in a file, so it can't be a configuration file ;-))

    >
    > Guess you need to read the API docs Liz
    >
    > http://java.sun.com/j2se/1.4.2/docs/api/index.html
    >
    > Rgds
    > Lyall
    >

    Ya, you too, cuz you b wrong.

    public abstract class Preferences
    extends Object
    A node in a hierarchical collection of preference data. This class allows
    applications to store and retrieve user and system preference and
    configuration data. This data is stored persistently in an
    implementation-dependent backing store. Typical implementations include flat
    files, OS-specific registries, directory servers and SQL databases. The user
    of this class needn't be concerned with details of the backing store.
    Liz, Jun 7, 2004
    #14
  15. Alex Polite

    Liz Guest

    "lyallex" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > On Mon, 07 Jun 2004 03:15:33 GMT, "Liz" <> wrote:
    >
    > >
    > >"lyallex" <> wrote in message
    > >news:...
    > >> On 6 Jun 2004 14:59:24 GMT, Alex Polite <> wrote:
    > >>
    > >> >Here's another newbie question?
    > >> >
    > >> >Is java.util.Properties the canonical way of reading and writing
    > >> >configuration files?
    > >> >
    > >> >alex
    > >>
    > >> Alex
    > >>
    > >> I would say yes before J2SE 1.4 came out.
    > >> If you are using 1.4 or later check out java.util.prefs.Preferences.
    > >>
    > >> Rgds
    > >> Lyall
    > >>

    > >
    > >A nit, perhaps, but in Windows the preferences are stored in the registry
    > >not in a file, so it can't be a configuration file ;-))
    > >

    >
    >
    > If you find tha API docs a bit abstract (I know I do) try
    >
    > http://www.javaworld.com/javaworld/jw-08-2001/jw-0831-preferences-p2.html
    >
    > Where the preferences are actually stored doesn't matter. You can
    > create and edit a preferences file, I guess that's all you need.
    >
    > Rgds
    > Lyall
    >

    You can't edit a file if there is no file.
    Liz, Jun 7, 2004
    #15
  16. Alex Polite

    lyallex Guest

    On Mon, 07 Jun 2004 19:21:38 GMT, "Liz" <> wrote:

    >
    >"lyallex" <> wrote in message
    >news:...
    >> On Mon, 07 Jun 2004 03:15:33 GMT, "Liz" <> wrote:
    >>
    >> >
    >> >"lyallex" <> wrote in message
    >> >news:...
    >> >> On 6 Jun 2004 14:59:24 GMT, Alex Polite <> wrote:
    >> >>
    >> >> >Here's another newbie question?
    >> >> >
    >> >> >Is java.util.Properties the canonical way of reading and writing
    >> >> >configuration files?
    >> >> >
    >> >> >alex
    >> >>
    >> >> Alex
    >> >>
    >> >> I would say yes before J2SE 1.4 came out.
    >> >> If you are using 1.4 or later check out java.util.prefs.Preferences.
    >> >>
    >> >> Rgds
    >> >> Lyall
    >> >>
    >> >
    >> >A nit, perhaps, but in Windows the preferences are stored in the registry
    >> >not in a file, so it can't be a configuration file ;-))
    >> >

    >>
    >>
    >> If you find tha API docs a bit abstract (I know I do) try
    >>
    >> http://www.javaworld.com/javaworld/jw-08-2001/jw-0831-preferences-p2.html
    >>
    >> Where the preferences are actually stored doesn't matter. You can
    >> create and edit a preferences file, I guess that's all you need.
    >>
    >> Rgds
    >> Lyall
    >>

    >You can't edit a file if there is no file.
    >


    Oh, that's odd, I've just done it...

    Must've been dreaming.






    "Process- How will the work and the team be organized?
    The team needs to fit the culture in which it will operate,
    but you should write software well rather than preserve the
    irrationality of an enclosing culture" - Kent Beck
    lyallex, Jun 8, 2004
    #16
  17. Alex Polite

    Liz Guest

    "lyallex" <> wrote in message
    news:eek:...
    > On Mon, 07 Jun 2004 19:21:38 GMT, "Liz" <> wrote:
    >
    > >
    > >"lyallex" <> wrote in message
    > >news:...
    > >> On Mon, 07 Jun 2004 03:15:33 GMT, "Liz" <> wrote:
    > >>
    > >> >
    > >> >"lyallex" <> wrote in message
    > >> >news:...
    > >> >> On 6 Jun 2004 14:59:24 GMT, Alex Polite <> wrote:
    > >> >>
    > >> >> >Here's another newbie question?
    > >> >> >
    > >> >> >Is java.util.Properties the canonical way of reading and writing
    > >> >> >configuration files?
    > >> >> >
    > >> >> >alex
    > >> >>
    > >> >> Alex
    > >> >>
    > >> >> I would say yes before J2SE 1.4 came out.
    > >> >> If you are using 1.4 or later check out java.util.prefs.Preferences.
    > >> >>
    > >> >> Rgds
    > >> >> Lyall
    > >> >>
    > >> >
    > >> >A nit, perhaps, but in Windows the preferences are stored in the

    registry
    > >> >not in a file, so it can't be a configuration file ;-))
    > >> >
    > >>
    > >>
    > >> If you find tha API docs a bit abstract (I know I do) try
    > >>
    > >>

    http://www.javaworld.com/javaworld/jw-08-2001/jw-0831-preferences-p2.html
    > >>
    > >> Where the preferences are actually stored doesn't matter. You can
    > >> create and edit a preferences file, I guess that's all you need.
    > >>
    > >> Rgds
    > >> Lyall
    > >>

    > >You can't edit a file if there is no file.
    > >

    >
    > Oh, that's odd, I've just done it...
    >
    > Must've been dreaming.
    >

    Oh, that IS odd, you must be on one of those blue hat
    or jack-in-tosh machines.
    Liz, Jun 8, 2004
    #17
  18. Alex Polite

    lyallex Guest

    On Tue, 08 Jun 2004 15:36:13 GMT, "Liz" <> wrote:


    >> >> Where the preferences are actually stored doesn't matter. You can
    >> >> create and edit a preferences file, I guess that's all you need.
    >> >>
    >> >> Rgds
    >> >> Lyall
    >> >>
    >> >You can't edit a file if there is no file.
    >> >

    >>
    >> Oh, that's odd, I've just done it...
    >>
    >> Must've been dreaming.
    >>

    >Oh, that IS odd, you must be on one of those blue hat
    >or jack-in-tosh machines.


    Even odder, it's Microsoft Windows XP, at least it was last time I
    looked, hold on ....

    yes, yes, it certainly looks like XP

    Yep, I'm now really really sure it is XP.

    And look at this ! here's the file !!!

    <!DOCTYPE preferences SYSTEM
    'http://java.sun.com/dtd/preferences.dtd'>

    <preferences EXTERNAL_XML_VERSION="1.0">
    <root type="user">
    <map />
    <node name="anon">
    <map />
    <node name="pack">
    <map />
    <node name="prefs">
    <map>
    <entry key="outfile" value="C:/prefs/prefs.xml" />
    </map>
    </node>
    </node>
    </node>
    </root>
    </preferences>

    Hmm, I think what you are saying is that the preferences are stored
    in the registry and that the registry is not a 'file' that you can
    edit. I have no argument with that, never have done. However what I am
    saying is that it is possible to export those preferences to a file,
    modify the file by hand, in a text editor, just like editing a
    properties file then re-import the modified preferences file and have
    the changes reflected in the registry.

    that's all I'm saying, that's all I ever intended to say.

    Still, it's good to have these little chats, it really helps to
    reinforce understanding. I'm much clearer on the whole 'implementation
    dependant persistence' thing now. Nice one.

    Rgds
    Lyall





    "Process- How will the work and the team be organized?
    The team needs to fit the culture in which it will operate,
    but you should write software well rather than preserve the
    irrationality of an enclosing culture" - Kent Beck
    lyallex, Jun 8, 2004
    #18
    1. Advertising

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