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From "Dmitri Plotnikov" <>
Subject Re: [Question] Betwix & JAXB
Date Fri, 12 Apr 2002 03:49:12 GMT
Hi, James, Ivelin,


> In many cases all these options would be equally good to me.
> Rarely do I need to customize, although when it's needed it must be there.
> >
> > e.g. for a Map
> >
> > Map map = new HashMap();
> > map.put( "a", "1234" );
> > map.put( "b", "5678" );
> >
> >
> > how should this look as XML? e.g.
> >
> ...
> > Or
> Dmitri can probably help here, but I understand that the following form is
> becoming popular:
> Map map = myBean.getItem();
> map.put( "a", "1234" );
> map.put( "b", "5678" );
> <item id="a">1234</item>
> <item id="b">5678</item>
> which is consistent with arrays:
> <item id="1">1234</mapName>
> <item id="2">5678</mapName >
> And thus the XPath is natural "/mybean/item[@id='a']"

JXPath takes a dual approach to mapping of maps, or "dynamic property
objects" as they are called in JXPath.

On the one hand, you can use XPaths like "/map/foo", which are natural when
you know that the map is really just a more dynamic sister of a JavaBean, so
"foo" is really a property of a logical "bean" called "map".  A good example
of such use is a java.util.Properties object.

On the other hand, if your map is used as a generic dictionary and you may
not even know upfront what keys it will have, the alternative syntax is more
preferable:  "/map[@name = 'foo']", or "/map[@name =
_some_expression_that_computes_the_key_]".  "@name" is an attribute/keyword
in JXPath that represents a key or a property name in the case of a

Of course, if you ask what this all means in terms of XML, the answer would
probably not be satisfactory. The same thing appears more than once in the
same "document": once as an element and once as an attribute.   However,
JXPath does not concern itself with these nuances.  Instead of mapping every
kind of object model to the XML document model, it directly defines how
XPaths are interpreted on those models - no XML involved at all.

Here's another example of where this distinction manifests itself.  Let's
say you have a cyclical graph.  You couldn't map it to XML without
introducing some notion of references and all the related complexity.  With
JXPath you don't need to do that, because it does not treat JavaBeans as XML
structures.  For example, if we have an object like this:

   class Foo {
      private Foo next;
      public Foo getNext(){ return next; }
      public void setNext(Foo foo) { = next;}

   Foo foo = new Foo();

We got ourselves a cyclical graph.

In Java, I could say:  foo.getNext().getNext().getNext() and there would not
be anything wrong with it.  Likewise, in JXPath,

context = JXPathContext.newContext(foo);
Foo bar = (Foo)context.getValue("/next/next/next");

Don't even ask me to what the corresponding XML document would look like.

I don't know if this is the "right" approach (the XPath standard, after all,
is a child of XML), but it works best for traversing graphs of JavaBeans and
does not really hurt the traversal of XML documents.

What do you think?


> Ivelin
> >
> > James


- Dmitri

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