Best way to find data in a variable length ASCII text area where the property data (key/values pairs) may be always different

What would the best way to find items in a variable length ASCII text area where the data (is set up like a property file with key/values pairs but may be always different).  I will know the different types of key/value pairs but they might change (new ones added or old ones removed)

say text area could have
First Name=Chris
Last Name=Willis

Next text area I am sent could have
Street Name=100 Main Street
City Name=New York

Next one could have

I know I probably should treat it as a property file.. using Properties class and use the get method, but where would be the best way/place to put the items you are looking for in an Araylist?

Or would you just move the text area over to a hashmap and try to get the key/value pairs from there?
The message area will only have one of the 3 at a time though, so don't know the best way without searching the text area with all of them...

any suggestions?
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>>but where would be the best way/place to put the items you are looking for in an Araylist?

How do you mean? They'd already be in a Map if you're using Properties
ryno71Author Commented:
Let me rephrase I am given an object that contains a variable length ascii text area...  should I place this into a hashmap so I could use the Properties class (best way) AND what would be the best way to search for the 3 types... as when I have firstname I would know last names would be next or if I had username I would know password would be next, etc.

ryno71Author Commented:
The text area would look something like this..



Street Name=100 Main Street
City Name=New York
Street Name=200 Main Street
City Name=Denver
Street Name=500 Main Street
City Name=York

Should i place the items I want to search for in an ArrayList  as (FirstName,LastName)  (Street Name, City NAme) and place the values after I find them back in that type of format in an arraylist?

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Mayank SAssociate Director - Product EngineeringCommented:
>> should I place this into a hashmap so I could use the Properties class (best way)

Properties is related to HashMap in a way, that both are maps. Properties is synchronized (thread-safe) so don't bother about using a HashMap.

>> when I have firstname I would know last names would be next

In all maps, the order becomes irrelevant. So just search based on the key.
You would probably be best to keep two views of the data
a. a single String that you can use to do pattern matching
b. a Properties view so you can retrieve key/value pairs

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try the following to load your map:

Properties map = new Properties();
map.load(new ByteArrayInputStream(textArea.getText().getBytes()));

you can then get the set of keys using:

Set keys = props.keySet();

And get a value using:

String value = map.getProperty(key);
ryno71Author Commented:
Luckily for me I am being passed a Property list... so I wont need to do anything fancy..

Could just do an enumeration then with a typical while ( enum.hasMoreElement()) and put the values into an Arraylist.  I will just grab the keys from a configuration file.  I always forget the K.I.S.S rule!

Thanks for the help guys...
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