Redesign Java Logic to limit String literal comparisons

Posted on 2012-04-06
Last Modified: 2012-06-21

I'm trying to redesign the classes below so that the DeviceRowHelper.getColumnValue method doesn't have to use all the String literal comparisons in order to call the correct JNI method (asString, asInteger or asMember).  In an ideal world I would redesign the schema to include a member table and use the Attribute.type to determine which JNI method to call, but I can't do that. Is there any way around using multiple String literal ifs?

Schema .sql file that gets read and parsed into Java objects and attributes:

        Id                    VARCHAR(256),
        Unit                  INT,
        MemberTime            VARCHAR(256),
        MemberLevel           VARCHAR(10),
        MemberImportance      VARCHAR(10), 

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class that is created by the parser to hold the schema info (not complete code):

 public class Schema{
        private final Map<String, CEWTable> tables;
        public Attribute getAttribute(String tableName, String colName) {
           Table table = tables.get(tableName.toUpperCase());
           if (table == null) {
              return null;
           return table.getColumns().get(colName.toUpperCase());

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Class that is created by parser for each column in schema above:

 public class Attribute{
        private final String name; //contains values such as Id, Units, memberTime..etc
        private final String type; //contains values such as varchar, int
        public Attribute(String name, String type) {
   = name;
            this.type = type;
        public String getName(){
            return name;

        public String getType(){
            return type;

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   Schema columns that are returned as object from JNI:
 public class Member{
        private String time;
        private String level;
        private String importance;
       //getters and setters

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class that processes sql statement Result Set Row:

public class DeviceRowHelper{
       private final Schema schema;
       private final ResultSetRow row;
       private final Member member;
       public DeviceRowHelper(Schema schema, ResultSetRow row){
           this.schema = schema;
           this.row = row;
       public String getColumnValue(columnName){
                //calls C function via jni to get value from row as a String
                return JNIClass.getRowValueAsString(columnName, row); 
            }else if(columnName.equalsIgnoreCase("Unit")){
                //calls C function via jni to get value from row as a Integer
                return JNIClass.getRowValueAsInteger(columnName, row).toString(); 
            }else if(columnName.equalsIgnoreCase("MemberTime")){
                if(member == null){
                return member.getTime();
            }else if(columnName.equalsIgnoreCase("MemberLevel")){
                if(member == null){
                return member.getLevel();
            }else if(columnName.equalsIgnoreCase("MemberImportance")){
                if(member == null){
               return member.getImportance();
       private void initializeMember(){
           member = JNIClass.getRowValueAsMember();

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Question by:cgray1223
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LVL 86

Expert Comment

ID: 37817188
You could look at using the Factory pattern to avoid a long series of ifs. But you don't have that many at the moment. Are you thinking of having more?

Author Comment

ID: 37817549
@CEHJ, I have more columns and thusly more IFs than what I showed in the example above.  I've thought about using an enum instead.  Grouping all the String columns, Integer columns and then member columns and just loop through each I really gaining much by getting rid of those literals IFs?
LVL 86

Expert Comment

ID: 37817815
Well certainly the most elegant and extensible way to do it would be to use a Factory pattern, but you need to make that method homogeneous to do so - at the moment it does (at least) two different things

Author Comment

ID: 37829221
I've requested that this question be deleted for the following reason:

crappy question
LVL 86

Accepted Solution

CEHJ earned 500 total points
ID: 37829222
Well i don't agree that it's a "crappy question". It's actually a common design problem to have the need to eliminate a long series of if statements, and i have given a common textbook solution, so this would be useful to future visitors to this site and question.

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