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From Stephen Colebourne <>
Subject Re: I have an extensible Enumeration base class to donate to Apache Commons
Date Fri, 23 Jun 2006 22:16:40 GMT
Commons already has an enum facility in commons-lang. It is designed for 
pre-JDK 1.5, works reasonably well and provides most of the semantics 
you are looking for.

For JDK1.5 onwards, most developers would choose the Sun supported enum 
facility. It appears to meet most peoples requirements.


John Kaplan wrote:
> Hello All,
> I've been working on a Java card playing program in my spare time, and I
> figured out something about Enumerations that may be of general use.
> The issue is if you are working with concepts like card ranks and suits 
> in a
> non-trivial application, you want them to be comparable, serializable, and
> have their visual aspects defined in properties, not code. In the classic
> Enumeration pattern, you would re-implement the methods needed to do this
> stuff for each class, along with iterators and lookup methods.
> I figured out a way to code up an Enumeration base class that takes care of
> all the excise tasks for properties, serialization, hashing, comparing,
> etc.. This class allows you to extend as many subclass enumerations as you
> want, and it automatically keeps all of the enumerations in their own name
> and number (ordinal) spaces with no runtime penalty.
> To extend the current implementation, you have to override 3 one-liner
> methods in your subclass (the constructor and methods to look up 
> enumeration
> instances by name and ordinal). I think I can further simplify that with
> annotation processing so you only have to indicate if you want the default
> overrides or variations. Other possible enhancements include allowing
> injection of alternate serialization options or ordinal sizes. (It 
> currently
> uses a byte-sized ordinal because most cases I could think of don't have
> hundreds of enumeration constants, but they often have need of conserving
> space in databases.)
> I also think there's a way with annotation processing to specify default
> properties in the class file without having to create/edit a separate
> properties file, and that may be generally useful outside of enumerations.
> So, any interest in being involved with a commons project for such a thing,
> or in using it if delivered? I am not sure of the number of committers
> required or the sponsorship/championship needed for such a small thing in
> the Commons, so any advice would be appreciated. I am willing to do all the
> coding, testing, and documentation if need be, or to share with anyone else
> interested in contributing according to Commons guidelines. Below is an
> example of a subclass.
> Thanks,
> - John
> public final class Suit extends Enumeration
> {
>    protected static final long serialVersionUID =
> Enumeration.serialVersionUID;
>    public static final Suit noSuit = new Suit( 0, "X" );
>    public static final Suit clubs = new Suit( 1, "C" );
>    public static final Suit diamonds = new Suit( 2, "D" );
>    public static final Suit hearts = new Suit( 3, "H" );
>    public static final Suit spades = new Suit( 4, "S" );
>    private Suit( int ordinal, String name  )
>    {
>        super( ordinal, name );
>    }
>    public static final Suit fromOrdinal( int ordinal )
>    {
>        return (Suit) noSuit.getFromOrdinal( ordinal  );
>    }
>    public static final Suit fromName( String name )
>    {
>        return (Suit) noSuit.getFromName( name );
>    }
> }

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