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A Big Jar of String
by Carlos Perez
May 15, 2003
Summary
Tim Bray has an interesting set of blogs that's keeping me on the edge. Tim is essentially saying that Java's immutable String class isn't suited for "heavyweight" text processing tasks. That's a big claim since there's just too many applications that require heavy text processing.

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Tim Bray has an interesting set of blogs that's keeping me on the edge:

So for Java, should we abandon String and do all our work with char[] constructs? I don't think so, simply because I think the char primitive is just too deeply broken. Also, I want to use tricks like strcmp() and strncat(), beloved of grey-bearded Unix veterans.

Gasp! Surely he's not suggesting that we retreat to putting everything in a byte[] construct, and presumably revert to living in caves and courting women with clubs?!? Well no, because I am an object-oriented kinda guy, when I can get away with it. So, how do we get the heavy industrial machinery for doing superior text processing in modern languages without compromising their virtues? Stay tuned.

What could he have up his sleeve?

Tim is essentially saying that Java's immutable String class isn't suited for "heavyweight" text processing tasks. That's a big claim since there's just too many applications that require heavyweight text processing (i.e. parsers, information retrieval, semantic analysis, etc). Tim is saying that you can't scale using String or its dual StringBuffer for these types of applications! Now, I can only guess what he's trying to brew together, however I do recall a couple of alternative String (rather byte[] based) implementations for Java.

Imagine, a comprehensive jar for heavy duty string processing! Now I'm just waiting for?some "wisdom" to?string this all together. Tim, ever consider starting a JSR?

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About the Blogger

Carlos E. Perez has been an object-oriented practitioner for over a decade. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Physics and a Master's Degree in Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts. He has polished his craft while working in IBM's Internet Division and IBM's TJ Watson Research Center in Hawthorne, New York. He now works for a startup 1/100,000th the size of his former employer. He writes about topics covering emerging aspect and object oriented paradigms, loosely coupled architecture, open source projects and Java evangelism.

This weblog entry is Copyright © 2003 Carlos Perez. All rights reserved.

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