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From Niels Basjes <Ni...@basjes.nl>
Subject Always getting a value...
Date Wed, 26 Nov 2014 17:28:49 GMT

I have a Java project where I'm using Avro as the serialization technology.
I have a deep nested structure and many fields are optional.

Because of the 'random' nature of my application I want to be able to
simply 'set' a value in that tree easily.

So I want to have a setter in my class that looks like this (Assume
myStruct is an instance of the 'root' class generated by Avro):

public void setSomething(String value) {

The 'problem' I ran into is that any of the 4 get methods can return a null
value so the code I have to write is really huge.
For every step in this method I have to build null checks and create the
underlying instance if it is null.
I already started writing helper methods to do this for parts of my tree.

To solve this in a way that makes this code readable I came up with the
following which I want to propose to you guys (before I start working on a

My idea is to generate a new 'get' method in addition to the existing
normal get method for the regular instance of the class.

So in addition to the

public void getFoo() {
    return foo;

I propose to generate something like this as well

public void getAlwaysFoo() {
    if (foo == null) {
    return foo;

This way the automatically created instance immediately has all the
defaults I have defined.

Assuming this naming my code will be readable because it will look like
public void setSomething(String value) {

I can create this same effect in my own project code.
But having this automatically generated by the Avro engine would make life
a lot easier.

Is this an idea you guys would consider to have in the main (Java)
generated code base?
If so, is the 'getAlways' prefix sensible?

Best regards

Niels Basjes

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