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From Geir Magnusson Jr <g...@pobox.com>
Subject Re: [classlib] compatibility of toString
Date Mon, 03 Jul 2006 15:38:31 GMT

Tim Ellison wrote:
> Andrew Zhang wrote:
>> On 7/1/06, Alex Blewitt <alex.blewitt@gmail.com> wrote:
>>> On 01/07/06, Andrew Zhang <zhanghuangzhu@gmail.com> wrote:
>>>> Agree. But there are always exceptions. Some "toString" methods have to
>>>> contain some key information as spec required, for example, the size or
>>>> index.
>>> Can you give examples of where the spec specifically mandates the
>>> return values of either size or index?
>> What I mean is in some cases, toString returns a string is not enough.
>> e.g. "Harmony is Great"  obviously doesn't comply with spec
>> AbstractCollection.toString() as you mentioned below.
>> Another example is CharBuffer.toString(). The spec says:
>> "Returns a string containing the characters in this buffer.
>> The first character of the resulting string will be the character at this
>> buffer's position, while the last character will be the character at index
>> limit() - 1. Invoking this method does not change the buffer's position. "
>> Therefore, for these special cases, tests for toString are useful. Of
>> course, instead of comparing Harmony's toString return value with RI's, the
>> test should verify whether Harmony's toString value complys with spec. The
>> test should not look like:
>> assertEquals(RI_TOSTRING, instance.toString());
>> For CharBuffer.toString, the test may be written as following:
>> assertEquals(the character at this bufer's position, the first character of
>> toString);
>> ....
>> For most other cases, IMO, Harmony doesn't need to keep the same return
>> value as RI's.
>> Thanks!
> Yep, if the spec tells you what the format of the string should be then
> follow it (since apps may be dependent upon it), otherwise I'd be
> inclined to invent your own useful string representation.

This idea scares me.  I think people do depend on toString() when
writing apps, and tend to shove that kind of thing to log files and such
on server apps.  To have our outptut different from Sun's, BEA's, IBM's,
Apple's seens like we're asking for trouble.


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