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From Jörg Gottschling (JIRA) <>
Subject [jira] Commented: (LANG-360) Why does appendIdentityToString return null?
Date Tue, 30 Oct 2007 06:53:53 GMT


Jörg Gottschling commented on LANG-360:

Yes, this behavior is in sync with the javadoc. That's where I found it first. But that did
not mean that it is a good behavior.

I like to vote against a second method with a default value. Who needs a default value, when
debugging an object? (If this bean is null, log another one?) A method appendIdentityToStringNullSave
would be better, but a little ugly.

>> Almost all of Commons Lang behavior returns null where possible for a null source
parameter.  <<

Hm, I don't think so. And evan if it would be: Returning null, if the StringBuffer is null
could be argued, but returning null if the second value is null is definitly a bad behavior.
Remember this:   appendIdentityToString(new StringBuffer(), null)   Would you expect this
to return null? But this does not return null:    appendIdentityToString(null, new Object())
  Really confusing.

> Why does appendIdentityToString return null?
> --------------------------------------------
>                 Key: LANG-360
>                 URL:
>             Project: Commons Lang
>          Issue Type: Bug
>            Reporter: Jörg Gottschling
>             Fix For: 2.4
> ObjectUtils is designed to handle null imputs gracefully. But ObjectUtils.appendIdentityToString
does not. It returns null unnessecary if you pass null als second parameter (the object to
get the identity from). For example appendIdentityToString(new StringBuffer(), null) will
return null! Which is an uncommen behaviour. Think about code like this:
> ObjectUtils.appendIdentityToString(buffer, param1)
>                     .appendIdentityToString(buffer, param2)
>                     .appendIdentityToString(buffer, param3);
> This will cause an NPE if param1 or param2 ist null. There may be other code where a
NPE will not happen, but the code is used for debugging and there will be an unexpected or
wrong output.
> So you shoul return the StringBuffer which is passed in or a new one if null. The harder
question is what to do with the object. I think we should append "null" to the StringBuffer,
because this is what I would expect and what the passed reference is.

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