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From "Phil Steitz (JIRA)" <>
Subject [jira] Commented: (MATH-259) Bugs in Frequency API
Date Wed, 15 Apr 2009 01:22:14 GMT


Phil Steitz commented on MATH-259:

I am OK with adding a check and throwing illegalArgumentExeption if an object that does not
implement Comparable is supplied to these methods (as indicated in the javadoc), but not keen
on introducing the compatibility issue.

> Bugs in Frequency API
> ---------------------
>                 Key: MATH-259
>                 URL:
>             Project: Commons Math
>          Issue Type: Bug
>            Reporter: Sebb
> I think the existing Frequency API has some bugs in it.
> The addValue(Object v) method allows one to add a plain Object, but one cannot add anything
further to the instance, as the second add fails with IllegalArgumentException.
> In fact, the problem is with the first call to addValue(Object) which should not allow
a plain Object to be added - it should only allow Comparable objects.
> This could be fixed by checking that the object is Comparable.
> Similar considerations apply to the getCumFreq(Object) and getCumPct(Object) methods
- they will only work with objects that implement Comparable.
> The getCount(Object) and getPct(Object) methods don't fail when given a non-Comparable
object (because the class cast exception is caught), however they just return 0 as if the
object was not present:
> {code}
>         final Object OBJ = new Object();
>         f.addValue(OBJ); // This ought to fail, but doesn't, causing the unexpected behaviour
>         System.out.println(f.getCount(OBJ)); // 0
>         System.out.println(f.getPct(OBJ)); // 0.0
> {code}
> Rather than adding extra checks for Comparable, it seems to me that the API would be
much improved by using Comparable instead of Object.
> Also, it should make it easier to implement generics.
> However, this would cause compilation failures for some programs that pass Object rather
than Comparable to the class.
> These would need recoding, but I think they would continue to run OK against the new
> It would also affect the run-time behaviour slightly, as the first attempt to add a non-Comparable
object would fail, rather than the second add of a possibly valid object.
> But is that a viable program? It can only add one object, and any attempt to get statistics
will either return 0 or an Exception, and applying the instanceof fix would also cause it
to fail.

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