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From Basil James Whitehouse III <>
Subject [configuration] problems with commas in string properties
Date Sun, 29 Feb 2004 15:22:45 GMT
I've been using a commons-configuration nightly build from February 15, 
2004 rather successfully.  Recently I have run into a problem with 
strings containing a comma "," in them.

I'm using XML to store properties, here's an example of the XML that is 
causing me grief.

    <message-text>A message, with a comma.</message-text>

When I use .getString( "message-text" ) the resulting property value is 
"A message", whereas I expected the full string.  If the comma is 
escaped (\,) then the resulting value is as expected ("A message, with a 
comma.").  While escaping a string isn't that difficult, nor uncommon, 
for a developer, it's not something I'd want the lay person to have to 
do, and it's easy to forget that it needs to be escaped.  BTW:  this 
particular bit of configuration is going to be done by an average user 
who is competent with XML structures, but not much beyond that.

 From looking at the source I figured out that the comma is used to 
create a List, and I could in fact recreate the text (if the comma is 
not escaped) by running though the list and adding back in the commas.  
While I've only glanced at the source, this doesn't seem like the best 
approach since if the token changes in the future, or there are 
additional tokens added (like a semi-colon), then I'd have to figure out 
what token was used.  It also seems like a List would be returned if the 
same property was defined twice in the same file, which I wouldn't be 
able to tell the difference that and a string with a comma in it.  As 
well right now I'm going to assume that there's only going to be one 
message, but I can think of future cases where I might find multiple 
property definitions handy, but also want a string with commas in it, in 
the same file.

So I guess my question is, can this behavior be changed?  If .getString 
is used could it return the whole string for the given property, and if 
.getList was used could it parse the property then and give it back as a 

Looking at the source I think I've found the bit that does the string 
parsing, AbstractConfiguration.addProperty calls processString which 
parses out a List based on commas.  My cursory glance made me think that 
processString could be called in getList, and hence getString would 
return the complete string, but since I don't know how multiple 
properties with the same name (thus creating a list) are represented 
this may not be a correct guess.  I don't presume to know all the 
details of the source, nor driving factors to make these decisions, so 
take my code commentary with some salt, but please consider this feature 

Let me know if I can provide any other information, I'd even be willing 
to create a test case to support this feature.

Responses to my email would be appreciated since I'm not subscribed to 
the list.


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