OK to be more clear on what I desire:
We have things like getString() and toString(). Sometimes we have pretty print functionality in toString(). If you have an object which you want turned into a string representation toString() might just do the job like for an Enum or something like that. You basically intuit that you can toString() the damn thing. Like Value.toString() is the string value.
If you want to have some extensive pretty print output for debugging and logging then put that into a getPrettyString() or something like that instead of toString(). Value or some other object out there like the SchemaObject and subclasses have the toString() doing a pretty print and I just wanted the string representation of the value. If I want to pretty print something then let's just have a toPrettyString() or something very explicit. Hard to tell if I should use Value.toString() or Value.getString().
Alex Karasulu wrote:I would say that toString() methods are mostly valuable for logs and debug purposes. Any other usage is a violation of the contract, which is summarized by Joshua Bloch in his book (effective Java) :
Let's stop playing Picasso with the toString() method please. This method
should be chosen carefully. I've already gotten bit a few times because
The general contract for toString says that the returned string should be “a concise but informative representation that is easy for a *person* to read”.
Expecting that the toString() method will return something that should be processed by a program exceed the contract.
I don't think that we should play Picasso either. Something closer to hyper realism painting is probably more appropriate.
There is one exemple of bad usage of toString() in the server : LdapDN.toString(). And there is a JIRA about it : https://issues.apache.org/jira/browse/DIRSERVER-808
In most of the case where the format of the printed object is already well defined, we should not try to put the nose over the left eye, and the mouth close to the belly... LdifEntry.toString() is most certainly not respecting the spirit of the toString() method...