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From "Michael Gentry" <>
Subject Re: Re: Represesntation of database NULL as something else than Java null pointer
Date Fri, 15 Dec 2006 13:40:35 GMT
The NPEs from OGNL strings (like "") are more of an OGNL
issue than a Cayenne issue.  At least in my opinion.  I think the best
thing to do, especially with regards to Tapestry and OGNL and Cayenne,
is to add a cayenne: prefix extension to Tapestry (just like HLS added
a prop: prefix -- see
if not familiar with it).  The cayenne: prefix would ignore nulls.
Like in your example of "", if bar is null, the whole
expression is null.  This has been on my personal to-do list for a
while.  Maybe I should revisit it.  Then most of the ognl: expressions
can go away and you won't need to write a lot of special null-handling
code.  In my own project here, that special null-handling code can add
30-40% to the size of the page class.  Nasty.


PS. I just started looking at that blog entry from HLS.  Looks like he
has added path expressions to it since I last looked.  It *may*
already handle nulls ... must investigate more.

On 12/14/06, Øyvind Harboe <> wrote:
> On 12/14/06, Tore Halset <> wrote:
> > On Dec 14, 2006, at 9:11 , Øyvind Harboe wrote:
> >
> > > Could I implement my own "NeverNullString" datatype where I'm thinking
> > > that .toString() returns the either what Cayenne java.lang.String
> > > returns today or e.g. "" for the case where it represents a database
> > > null?
> >
> > Or perhaps map java.lang.CharSequence and create a NullString that
> > implements it. You could then create an ExtendedType (perhaps
> > subclass CharType) that does what you want.
> I messed around with this for a while and I've drawn some conclusions:
> - If I'm to use CharSequence instead of String's, then that needs to
> be in the application from day #1. It's testing hell trying to replace
> String w/anything but a subclass of string(which isn't possible since
> String is final).
> - As I'm using Tapestry, then if I return something to Tapestry that
> it interprets as an empty string, then it will set an empty string
> upon my Cayenne object during Form rewind. If I used an empty string
> to represent database null, my code would then make the mistake of
> changing the database value from database null to an empty string.
> - If it is OK from an application point of view to turn database null
> into empty strings as a side effect of Tapestry form rewind, then this
> approach seems fine and relatively straightforward.
> - ExtendedType can not deal with relationships and database null, and
> until I get rid of NPE(null pointer exceptions) w/relationships(ref.
> OGNL property strings where bar might be null), I've only
> got half a solution. There have been other posts about relationships
> and NPE's in the past in Cayenne-user, but a robust solution is far
> from obvious.
> --
> Øyvind Harboe

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