Type of a generic class?

Discussion in 'Java' started by Donkey Hottie, Aug 4, 2012.

  1. From: "Donkey Hottie" <donkey.hottie@1:261/38.remove-yy0-this>

    From: Donkey Hottie <>


    I have this class called Global. It is trying to be a simplistic simulation of
    global as in MUMPS/M language. It is a persistent variable, that is accessible
    everywhere, and retains it's value over time. I store them in a database.

    First problem I have is to translate the type to a lower level application API
    call. I can not leave the cast or type conversion to compiler only.

    For that I figured out that I may need a variable of Class<T>, I'm using the
    variables isAssignableFrom(Class) to find out the correct API call. Could there
    be a simpler way?

    the final Class<T> as a member variable. Is that really needed? How could I use
    some typeinfo (reflection API?) instead?

    If I could use serialization and store the objects that way maybe into BLOBs
    there would not be problems, but currently I can not do that.

    I would like to get rid of that "klass" argument for the Global<T>. Any ideas?

    Class is a simple version containg only the important parts.

    public class Global<T extends Object> {
    final String name ;
    final Connection conn ;
    final Class<T> klass;
    public Global(String name, Connection conn, Class<T> klass)
    {
    this.name = name ;
    this.conn = conn ;
    this.klass = klass;
    }

    @SuppressWarnings("unchecked")
    public T get() throws Exception
    {
    T rc = null;
    if (klass.isAssignableFrom(Boolean.class))
    {
    rc = (T)SystemProperties.getSystemBoolean(name, conn);
    }
    else if(klass.isAssignableFrom(Date.class))
    {
    rc = (T)SystemProperties.getSystemDate(name, conn);
    }
    else if (klass.isAssignableFrom(Long.class))
    {
    rc = (T)SystemProperties.getSystemLong(name, conn);
    }
    else if (klass.isAssignableFrom(Integer.class))
    {
    rc = (T)SystemProperties.getSystemInt(name, conn);
    }
    else if (klass.isAssignableFrom(String.class))
    {
    rc = (T)SystemProperties.getSystemString(name, conn);
    }
    return rc ;
    }
    }

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    Donkey Hottie, Aug 4, 2012
    #1
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  2. Donkey Hottie

    markspace Guest

    To: Donkey Hottie
    From: "markspace" <markspace@1:261/38.remove-yy0-this>

    To: Donkey Hottie
    From: markspace <-@.>

    On 8/2/2012 12:04 PM, Donkey Hottie wrote:

    > First problem I have is to translate the type to a lower level
    > application API call. I can not leave the cast or type conversion to
    > compiler only.



    I'm going to ignore other obvious problems and simply focus on the big picture
    here. You idea how to accomplish this looks *TERRIBLE*. Why aren't you using
    some kind of ORM? At least use a light-weight library for translating data
    base entities into objects.

    <http://commons.apache.org/dbutils/>

    Also JPA will do some kinds of automatic instantiation for you:

    <http://openjpa.apache.org/builds/1.0.4/apache-openjpa-1.0.4/docs/manual/jpa_ov
    erview_mapping_inher.html>

    I didn't check to see if those are the most recent docs (I don't use this sort
    of feature). Google for "JPA table inheritance" and check through the results
    carefully.


    > Class is a simple version containg only the important parts.



    Honestly, while we all appreciate the attempt, you example is far from
    complete. We can guess at a few things, but you should think much more
    carefully at what the real problem is and design something to illustrate it.

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    markspace, Aug 4, 2012
    #2
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  3. Donkey Hottie

    Lew Guest

    To: Donkey Hottie
    From: "Lew" <lew@1:261/38.remove-yy0-this>

    To: Donkey Hottie
    From: Lew <>

    Donkey Hottie wrote:
    > I have this class called Global. It is trying to be a simplistic
    > simulation of global as in MUMPS/M language. It is a persistent
    > variable, that is accessible everywhere, and retains it's value over
    > time. I store them in a database.
    >
    > First problem I have is to translate the type to a lower level
    > application API call. I can not leave the cast or type conversion to
    > compiler only.
    >
    > For that I figured out that I may need a variable of Class<T>, I'm using
    > the variables isAssignableFrom(Class) to find out the correct API call.


    Not good.

    > Could there be a simpler way?


    Store a 'Class<T>' reference (matching the generic type) as a final variable.
    This is a "run-time type token" (RTTT).

    > the final Class<T> as a member variable. Is that really needed? How


    Yes.

    > could I use some typeinfo (reflection API?) instead?


    You mean a different reflection API. The 'Class' methods are part of
    reflection.

    > If I could use serialization and store the objects that way maybe into
    > BLOBs there would not be problems, but currently I can not do that.


    How would a more complex, I/O-based solution be better?

    > I would like to get rid of that "klass" argument for the Global<T>. Any
    > ideas?


    Why do you want to get rid of it?

    It's the right way to do what you want.

    > Class is a simple version containg only the important parts.
    >
    > public class Global<T extends Object>
    > {
    > final String name ;
    > final Connection conn ;
    > final Class<T> klass;
    >
    > public Global(String name, Connection conn, Class<T> klass)
    > {
    > this.name = name ;
    > this.conn = conn ;
    > this.klass = klass;
    > }
    >
    > @SuppressWarnings("unchecked")


    DON'T DO THAT!

    You don't need it. If you did, you should comment why the expression is type
    safe despite the suppression.

    And you should annotate the declaration of the variable, not the method.

    > public T get() throws Exception
    > {
    > T rc = null;
    >
    > if (klass.isAssignableFrom(Boolean.class))


    This is an antipattern.

    > {
    > rc = (T)SystemProperties.getSystemBoolean(name, conn);
    > }
    > else if(klass.isAssignableFrom(Date.class))
    > {
    > rc = (T)SystemProperties.getSystemDate(name, conn);
    > }
    > else if (klass.isAssignableFrom(Long.class))
    > {
    > rc = (T)SystemProperties.getSystemLong(name, conn);
    > }
    > else if (klass.isAssignableFrom(Integer.class))
    > {
    > rc = (T)SystemProperties.getSystemInt(name, conn);
    > }
    > else if (klass.isAssignableFrom(String.class))
    > {
    > rc = (T)SystemProperties.getSystemString(name, conn);
    > }
    > return rc ;
    > }
    > }


    You should override 'get()' in type-specific subtypes of your 'Global'.
    If-chains
    of reflection are a reliable indicator of a bad architecture. Use polymorphism
    instead.

    --
    Lew

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    Lew, Aug 4, 2012
    #3
  4. To: markspace
    From: "Donkey Hottie" <donkey.hottie@1:261/38.remove-yy0-this>

    To: markspace
    From: Donkey Hottie <>

    03.08.2012 00:08, markspace kirjoitti:
    > On 8/2/2012 12:04 PM, Donkey Hottie wrote:
    >
    >> First problem I have is to translate the type to a lower level
    >> application API call. I can not leave the cast or type conversion to
    >> compiler only.

    >
    >
    > I'm going to ignore other obvious problems and simply focus on the big
    > picture here. You idea how to accomplish this looks *TERRIBLE*. Why
    > aren't you using some kind of ORM? At least use a light-weight library
    > for translating data base entities into objects.
    >


    I am not trying to translate database tables to objects. I have an ORM for
    that.

    I am trying to convert a simple { String name, String value } pair in database
    to a Global<T>(name) so that it will convert the Java simple datatypes to a
    string and back. This is for system parameters, configuration parameters.

    It is indeed kind of spooky and strange idea, after all what is so wrong about
    simple

    String value = SystemProperties.getString("ParamName") ;

    It is OK, but I'm kind of toying with idea of strong typing of System
    Parameters: A Date can not be stored as Long or Double etc..

    The back end of the system parameters is simply

    CREATE TABLE SystemParameters
    (
    name varchar(64) not null primary_key,
    value varchar(512)
    ) ;

    That's it. That is have the table is given to me. But I want to make the Java
    code bit more pedantic on the types of the parameters it uses and maintains.

    This idea just occurred to me when I stubled against MUMPS language when
    learning InterSystems Ensemble. It is based on their Cacho NoSQL/SQL hybrid
    database, and while being an ancient language, MUMPS/M has lots of interesting
    features, including threading and database persistence in the old Programming
    Language Core!

    I just thought I might as well copy their Global variable idea and include it
    in my toolbox of Java commons. It is not an ORM. I do not know about dbutils,
    but JPA I am very familiar with. It maps Java Objects to Relational Database
    records. There one attribute can have just one type. I want many types to my
    value attribute, but only for Java code. Just to force the apps to store at
    least correct type of values for properties, so that compiler stops my fellow
    programmer if he is about to generate a runtime error later somewhere, for
    example if he is trying to store 'NOW' for a value that is needed as Date.

    Not a big deal, but this is my idea here.

    > <http://commons.apache.org/dbutils/>
    >
    > Also JPA will do some kinds of automatic instantiation for you:
    >
    > <http://openjpa.apache.org/builds/1.0.4/apache-openjpa-1.0.4/docs/manual/jpa_

    overview_mapping_inher.html>
    >
    >
    > I didn't check to see if those are the most recent docs (I don't use
    > this sort of feature). Google for "JPA table inheritance" and check
    > through the results carefully.
    >
    >
    >> Class is a simple version containg only the important parts.

    >
    >
    > Honestly, while we all appreciate the attempt, you example is far from
    > complete. We can guess at a few things, but you should think much more
    > carefully at what the real problem is and design something to illustrate
    > it.
    >
    >
    >


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    Donkey Hottie, Aug 4, 2012
    #4
  5. Donkey Hottie

    Lew Guest

    To: Donkey Hottie
    From: "Lew" <lew@1:261/38.remove-yy0-this>

    To: Donkey Hottie
    From: Lew <>

    Donkey Hottie wrote:
    > markspace kirjoitti:
    >> ...


    > I am trying to convert a simple { String name, String value } pair in


    How about a Map<String, Global<?>>

    Also, you should move that if-chain reflection out of your app and use
    polymorphism instead.

    > database to a Global<T>(name) so that it will convert the Java simple
    > datatypes to a string and back. This is for system parameters,
    > configuration parameters.
    >
    >> It is indeed kind of spooky and strange idea, after all what is so wrong
    >> about simple

    > String value = SystemProperties.getString("ParamName") ;
    >
    > It is OK, but I'm kind of toying with idea of strong typing of System
    > Parameters: A Date can not be stored as Long or Double etc..


    Using strings to look up types is not strong typing.

    >
    > The back end of the system parameters is simply
    >
    >
    >
    > CREATE TABLE SystemParameters
    > (
    > name varchar(64) not null primary_key,
    > value varchar(512)
    > ) ;
    >
    >
    > That's it. That is have the table is given to me. But I want to make the
    > Java code bit more pedantic on the types of the parameters it uses and
    > maintains.


    JPA does that for you, too.

    Anyway, your use of reflection is anti-pedantic.

    --
    Lew

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    Lew, Aug 4, 2012
    #5
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