Emulate Java Enums With Values in C# (Pt. 2, Improved With Conversion Operator Overload)

In a previous blog post, I demonstrated how Java’ enums that contain one or more values/objects can be emulated with C#. One thing bothered me, though: the switch statement and how inconvenient it was to determine the proper type. Worst of all, it was not type-safe. In my simple example, it was easy because I was using strings. Imagine your fake-enum does not contain a string to quickly identify the instance.

Well, there is a prettier workaround – and it involves an actual enum. I was thinking about how the same could be done in C++ and in C++, you can have type conversion operators. Then I searched if such a feature also exists in C#, and sure enough, it does.

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Emulate Java Enums With Values in C#

Update August 28, 2021

I have written a follow-up that improves on the following solution using a type conversion operator overload.

When I started dabbling in C#, I wondered if it supports values in enums. In Java, an enum instance can have properties (called fields in Java lingo) associated with the enum’s literals. By taking advantage of this feature, you can encode more information in an enum, like a string, for example, or a constant number. You can even embed instantiated class objects, maybe to associate an object factory with a literal.

In my use case, I wanted to achieve a form of a key-value-pair mapping. I require certain illegal characters in the NTFS file or directory names to be replaced with a given code. I use HTML encoding for my needs because I can simply look up the values online if I need to.

Here is the Java reference example. First, let me start with the basic enum definition (I use Lombok to auto-generate boilerplate code like the constructor and accessors).

@Getter
@RequiredArgsConstructor
enum CharacterReplacementCode  {
    COLON(":", "&58;"),
    POUND("#", "&35;"),
    QUESTION_MARK("?", "&63;"); 

    private final String character;
    private final String replacement;
    
    @Override
    public String toString() {
        return String.format("Character '%s' substituted by code '%s'", character, replacement); 
    }
}
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Convert Java POJO With Protobuf field to JSON Using Jackson

In this blog post, I will explain how to convert a regular Java class that contains a Protobuf message field to JSON using the Jackson library, for example, in a Spring Boot application as a return value of an @Controller method.

You might wonder, how this is such a big deal? After all, you can create complex POJO hierarchies, and Jackson will pick them up just fine. Well, maybe this error message will convince you.

o.a.c.c.C.[.[.[/].[dispatcherServlet]    : Servlet.service() for servlet [dispatcherServlet] in context with path [] threw exception [
    Request processing failed; nested exception is org.springframework.http.converter.HttpMessageConversionException: 
    Type definition error: [simple type, class com.google.protobuf.UnknownFieldSet]; 
    nested exception is com.fasterxml.jackson.databind.exc.InvalidDefinitionException: Direct self-reference leading to cycle 
    (through reference chain: com.thecodeslinger.ppjs.web.dto.AwesomeDto["awesomePowerUp"]
        ->com.thecodeslinger.ppjs.proto.AwesomePowerUpOuterClass$AwesomePowerUp["unknownFields"]
        ->com.google.protobuf.UnknownFieldSet["defaultInstanceForType"])] with root cause

Java classes that you create with the Protobuf compiler require their JSON converter JsonFormat.Printer. So, how can we get Jackson and JsonFormat.Printer love each other and have a wedding together?

Simple: we create a custom JsonSerializer.

public class ProtobufSerializer extends JsonSerializer<Message> {

    private final JsonFormat.Printer protobufJsonPrinter = JsonFormat.printer();

    @Override
    public void serialize(Message anyProtobufMessage, JsonGenerator jsonGenerator, SerializerProvider serializerProvider)
            throws IOException {
        // The magic sauce: use the Protobuf JSON converter to write a raw JSON
        // string of the Protobuf message instance.
        jsonGenerator.writeRawValue(protobufJsonPrinter.print(anyProtobufMessage));
    }
}

This class is very simple and can work with any Protobuf Message class instance. This way, it is universal and only needs to be written once. The main ingredient is the jsonGenerator.writeRawValue method that takes the input without modification. Since we already ensure a proper JSON format using Protobuf’s converter, this is no problem in this case. Otherwise, be careful with this method.

The last step is to annotate the Message field in the POJO, so Jackson knows what to do.

@JsonSerialize(using = ProtobufSerializer.class)
private final AwesomePowerUpOuterClass.AwesomePowerUp awesomePowerUp;

You can find a complete working example that uses Spring Boot and a REST endpoint on my Github account.

Maven Failsafe Plugin environmentVariables Not Working (org.postgresql.Driver claims to not accept jdbcUrl)

A few months ago I had written about how one can setup a PostgreSQL database in a docker container during the Maven testing phase (part 1 and part 2). Today, I wanted to iterate on this topic using Testcontainers. Unfortunately, before I could get to that I ran into issues with the original project. For some reason I was now getting the following error:

Caused by: java.lang.RuntimeException: Driver org.postgresql.Driver claims to not accept jdbcUrl, jdbc:postgresql://localhost:${it-database.port}/docker_db_testing_tests

Maven did not replace the variable it-database in the integration test application.properties file. The question is: "why now"? It has worked before. Now, one thing that I changed is that this time I was using Linux instead of Windows. Either way, the fix was simple, although not obvious. It seems to be an issue with the Maven Failsafe plugin.

Not working:

<configuration>
    <environmentVariables>
        <it-database.port>${it-database.port}</it-database.port>
    </environmentVariables>
</configuration>

Working:

<configuration>
    <systemPropertyVariables>
        <it-database.port>${it-database.port}</it-database.port>
    </systemPropertyVariables>
</configuration>

Here is the link to the commit.

Spring Multipart File – Can I Read InputStream Multiple Times?

The short answer is Yes.

Here is the long version and why I even asked myself this question.

If you are familiar with ServletRequest then you probably know that calling its getInputStream method only works once. If you need to read the body data multiple times then it is up to you to cache it in a buffer or employ workarounds such as a "caching servlet request". Unfortunately, this fact is not stated in the Javadoc of ServletRequest#getInputStream so it is no wonder this question gets asked.

Spring’s MultipartFile is a bit different here. It, too, has a getInputStream method, but this one can be called multiple times. Again, it is not obvious from the documentation which is why I am making this mental note for myself and others who are researching this question because they know about the behavior of ServletRequest and assume – as I did – it is the same for MultipartFile. Fortunately, it is not.

In my case I needed to compute a hash of an uploaded file and then move the file to Azure’s Blob Storage. The Azure API used an InputStream and I assumed, once I had consumed the multipart InputStream that I could not use that API anymore.

As a side note: Using DigestInputStream it is possible to do this in one go, move the data to storage and while doing that compute the hash. In my case, I needed the hash first to compare it with a value that was provided on upload. Only when they match can the data be transferred to storage.

Mockito “when” vs. “verify”

Recently, during a code review at work there was a discussion about whether Mockito’s verify is necessary when when (or given, which is a synonym) is parameterized. The quick answer is "no".

Imagine this contrived example. I have two classes, Calculator and ComplexOperationService, where the latter requires the former. The goal is to write a unit test for ComplexOperationService and mock all usages of Calculator.

Here are the two classes.

public class Calculator {

    public int sum(final int a, final int b) {
        return a + b;
    }
}

@RequiredArgsConstructor
public class ComplexOperationService {
    
    private final Calculator calculator;

    public void doComplexOperation(final int a, final int b) {
        System.out.println(calculator.sum(a, b));
    }
}
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Integration Testing With Docker Maven Plugin, PostgreSQL, Flyway

Some things in software development require more than mocks and unit testing. If your application uses a database it makes sense to also hit that database in automated testing to ensure custom SQL queries work correctly, Hibernate relations are set up properly and also that database migrations are successful.

This blog post was written with a focus on the latter. I will be using Spring Boot talking to a PostgreSQL database. The database structure is managed via Flyway and, basically customary for Java applications, Maven serves as the build and dependency management tool. Docker will also play a role because we’ll be creating and running a PostgreSQL docker image for testing. From Maven. Every time the test is executed. And to spice things up, we’ll also create a custom database and user in that dockerized PSQL image.

I have created a working sample on Github and you can follow every single step by taking a look at the commit history. There you can see individual changes, starting from an empty Spring Boot application with no database to the final solution with Spring Data JPA and Flyway.

In the following sections and snippets, I will highlight the important parts of each step.

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Comparing Java Optional vs C++ STL optional

Optionals in Java have been around for some time now, basically since the release of version 8. My other language of choice, C++, has received this feature in version C++17. Since I am currently in the process of writing some C++ code, I was curious how they were implemented there. Optionals are trying to solve a problem that is likely to plague any language. What shall a method or function return if there is no value? Or shall it not return anything but instead start crying like a petulant child and throw an exception?

As an introduction, let me dive a little bit into why we need optionals (or do we?) and compare two different implementations of this concept, one being java.util.Optional and the other C++ std::optional. I chose to compare these two language for several reasons:

  1. I work with Java in my day job, so I have a good idea of how it works there.
  2. As mentioned, C++ is one of the languages I know quite well too.
  3. The main reason: both optional implementations are add-on classes rather than language features. More on that later.
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Spring @ConfigurationProperty a Bean or not?

Semi-recently (“semi” because procrastination kept me from writing, so it’s more like two months ago, but blog posts have to start with “recently” when you try to explain yourself why you are writing what you are writing – but I’m getting sidetracked here, so let’s move on) I was wondering whether Java classes annotated with Spring’s @ConfigurationProperty should be declared as a bean, e.g. with @Component. I didn’t find a definitive answer, but I found three ways on how to do it – typical Spring, I guess.

Here’s a quick setup:

My configuration class.

package com.thecodeslinger.configpropsdemo;

import lombok.Data;
import org.springframework.boot.context.properties.ConfigurationProperties; 

@Data 
@ConfigurationProperties(prefix = "demo")
public class Configuration {

    private String elegy;
}

My main application:

package com.thecodeslinger.configpropsdemo;

import org.springframework.beans.factory.annotation.Autowired;
import org.springframework.boot.SpringApplication;
import org.springframework.boot.autoconfigure.SpringBootApplication;

import javax.annotation.PostConstruct;

@SpringBootApplication
public class ConfigPropsDemoApplication {

   @Autowired
   private Configuration configuration;

   @PostConstruct
   public void postConstruct() {
      System.out.println(configuration.getElegy());
   }

   public static void main(String[] args) {
      SpringApplication.run(ConfigPropsDemoApplication.class, args);
   }
}

And finally, my properties file:

demo.elegy=R.I.P. Kobe

It’s not an elegant setup, but that’s not the point. It does the job for now.

If you run the application in this state, Spring will greet you with an error message.

APPLICATION FAILED TO START

Description:
Field configuration in com.thecodeslinger.configpropsdemo.ConfigPropsDemoApplication required a bean of type 'com.thecodeslinger.configpropsdemo.Configuration' that could not be found.
The injection point has the following annotations:
- @org.springframework.beans.factory.annotation.Autowired(required=true)
Action:
Consider defining a bean of type 'com.thecodeslinger.configpropsdemo.Configuration' in your configuration.

It obviously cannot find the configuration bean.

Option #1: Slap @Component to it.

package com.thecodeslinger.configpropsdemo;

import lombok.Data;
import org.springframework.boot.context.properties.ConfigurationProperties;
import org.springframework.stereotype.Component;

@Data
@Component
@ConfigurationProperties(prefix = "demo")
public class Configuration {

    private String elegy;
}

Option #2: Use the @EnableConfigurationProperties annotation.

import org.springframework.boot.context.properties.EnableConfigurationProperties;

@SpringBootApplication
@EnableConfigurationProperties(Configuration.class)
public class ConfigPropsDemoApplication {

Option #3: Use @ConfigurationPropertiesScan to explicitly name the packages to scan for.

import org.springframework.boot.context.properties.ConfigurationPropertiesScan;

@SpringBootApplication
@ConfigurationPropertiesScan({"com.thecodeslinger.configpropsdemo"})
public class ConfigPropsDemoApplication {

All three options achieve what you’re aiming for, a running application.

:: Spring Boot :: (v2.2.4.RELEASE)
2020-02-03 19:57:43.562 INFO 4612 --- [ main] c.t.c.ConfigPropsDemoApplication : Starting ConfigPropsDemoApplication on DESKTOP-C0O3OKC with PID 4612 (D:\OneDrive\Code\Java\config-props-demo\target\classes started by lober in D:\OneDrive\Code\Java\config-props-demo)
2020-02-03 19:57:43.562 INFO 4612 --- [ main] c.t.c.ConfigPropsDemoApplication : No active profile set, falling back to default profiles: default
R.I.P. Kobe
2020-02-03 19:57:43.921 INFO 4612 --- [ main] c.t.c.ConfigPropsDemoApplication : Started ConfigPropsDemoApplication in 0.573 seconds (JVM running for 1.083)

So, is there any benefit of one over the other? The Spring documentation has the following to say:

Sometimes, classes annotated with @ConfigurationProperties might not be suitable for scanning, for example, if you’re developing your own auto-configuration or you want to enable them conditionally. In these cases, specify the list of types to process using the @EnableConfigurationProperties annotation. This can be done on any @Configuration class, as shown in the following example:

I’m not using a @Configuration class in my example, but if you were, you could leverage that to load your configuration classes based on @Profile annotations. Although @Component works too, it’s not mentioned in that part of the Spring documentation (“Type-safe Configuration Properties”).

For myself, I might go with @EnableConfigurationProperties and if it makes sense, even have dedicated @Configuration classes linked to @Profile. For little samples like this one it’s obviously overkill. In a remotely useful application, the additional overhead may be worth it for structural and documentational reasons.

Kotlin Object Expression – What more can object do?

In a previous post I explained what Kotlin Object Declarations are. This time around it’s about the declaration’s sibling, the Object Expression.

An object is not just a glorified static replacement or a singleton. object can be used where Java usually utilizes anonymous inner classes. Let’s look at a more realistic scenario: a JButton and an ActionListener or a MouseListener.

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Kotlin Object Declarations – The fake-static

Instead of implementing my own backup application as I had planned a long time ago, I’m wandering off (re)learning Kotlin after a long absence from that language. In my defense though, I’m doing it in the context of the backup app which will not be Java as originally intended (or maybe later for comparison, who knows, I obviously can’t be trusted with my plans). Putting that aside, the most confusing concept of Kotlin for a Java developer is the object. What is that thing doing that a class can’t do and how do we declare static fields and methods? I know it’s nothing new, but that part seems to have changed a bit since I used Kotlin about two (?) years ago. So, for me this is a refresh of old information and also something new and by writing about it I will engrave it in my brain once and for all. And your confusion will hopefully turn into some productive… fusion… of some sort… or so.

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Unwanted JUnit 4 Dependency with Kotlin and JUnit 5

I ran across this issue only by accident because I was investigating a completely different problem. I wrote a quick test to debug my issue and was wondering why custom serializers and deserializers are not registered with the Jackson ObjectMapper. I had a nice init() function that was annotated with @Before. So, what the hell?

Let’s back up a bit for some context.

  • Kotlin Project
  • Runs on Java 12
  • JUnit 5 as test engine
  • AssertK for assertions (just for the sake of completeness)

I’m used to JUnit 4, so in my test I used @Before to annotate a setup method. It was one of the many options IntelliJ presented to me.

@Before
fun init() {
    val module = SimpleModule()
    module.addDeserializer(Instant::class.java, InstantDeserializer())
    module.addSerializer(Instant::class.java, InstantSerializer())
    mapper.registerModule(module)
}

The method wasn’t called, however. But it’s annotated! Well, it’s the wrong annotation if you’re using JUnit 5. The correct one is @BeforeEach. This one and @BeforeClass (new name @BeforeAll) have been changed from version 4 to 5 to make their meaning more obvious.

But that’s besides the point. The question is: where does this @Before come from then?

A look at the dependency tree quickly reveals the culprit.

It’s the official JetBrains Kotlin JUnit test artifact. Although it doesn’t hurt me to have it in my project, it certainly caused some confusion and I’d like to avoid that in the future. Hence, I excluded the old version of JUnit in my POM file for this dependency.

<dependency>
    <groupId>org.jetbrains.kotlin</groupId>
    <artifactId>kotlin-test-junit</artifactId>
    <version>${kotlin.version}</version>
    <scope>test</scope>
    <exclusions>
        <exclusion>
            <groupId>junit</groupId>
            <artifactId>junit</artifactId>
        </exclusion>
    </exclusions>
</dependency>

Problem solved.

AdoptOpenJDK 8 NullPointerException sun.awt.FontConfiguration.getVersion(FontConfiguration.java:1264)

I recently had to deal with this little bugger as we moved from the OpenJDK 8 package supplied by the Linux distro of choice to AdoptOpenJDK 8. It is important to know that we completely uninstalled OpenJDK, including all its transient dependencies.

(And in due time we’ll uninstall Java 8 and replace that grandpa as well)

As a result, parts of our application didn’t work any longer, resulting in this nice and shiny Java stacktrace.

2019-05-03 08:22:07,345 ERROR [qtp1896708863-35] [PlotChartController] [/][/][/]- error while creating chart image
java.lang.NullPointerException
        at sun.awt.FontConfiguration.getVersion(FontConfiguration.java:1264)
        at sun.awt.FontConfiguration.readFontConfigFile(FontConfiguration.java:219)
        at sun.awt.FontConfiguration.init(FontConfiguration.java:107)
        at sun.awt.X11FontManager.createFontConfiguration(X11FontManager.java:774)
        at sun.font.SunFontManager$2.run(SunFontManager.java:431)
        at java.security.AccessController.doPrivileged(Native Method)
        at sun.font.SunFontManager.<init>(SunFontManager.java:376)
        at sun.awt.FcFontManager.<init>(FcFontManager.java:35)
        at sun.awt.X11FontManager.<init>(X11FontManager.java:57)
        at sun.reflect.NativeConstructorAccessorImpl.newInstance0(Native Method)
        at sun.reflect.NativeConstructorAccessorImpl.newInstance(NativeConstructorAccessorImpl.java:62)
        at sun.reflect.DelegatingConstructorAccessorImpl.newInstance(DelegatingConstructorAccessorImpl.java:45)
        at java.lang.reflect.Constructor.newInstance(Constructor.java:423)
        at java.lang.Class.newInstance(Class.java:442)
        at sun.font.FontManagerFactory$1.run(FontManagerFactory.java:83)
        at java.security.AccessController.doPrivileged(Native Method)
        at sun.font.FontManagerFactory.getInstance(FontManagerFactory.java:74)
        at java.awt.Font.getFont2D(Font.java:491)
        at java.awt.Font.defaultLineMetrics(Font.java:2176)
        at java.awt.Font.getLineMetrics(Font.java:2246)
        at org.jfree.chart.axis.DateAxis.estimateMaximumTickLabelWidth(DateAxis.java:1453)
        at org.jfree.chart.axis.DateAxis.selectHorizontalAutoTickUnit(DateAxis.java:1365)
        at org.jfree.chart.axis.DateAxis.selectAutoTickUnit(DateAxis.java:1340)
        at org.jfree.chart.axis.DateAxis.refreshTicksHorizontal(DateAxis.java:1616)
        at org.jfree.chart.axis.DateAxis.refreshTicks(DateAxis.java:1556)
        at org.jfree.chart.axis.ValueAxis.reserveSpace(ValueAxis.java:807)
        at org.jfree.chart.plot.CombinedDomainXYPlot.calculateAxisSpace(CombinedDomainXYPlot.java:364)
        at org.jfree.chart.plot.CombinedDomainXYPlot.draw(CombinedDomainXYPlot.java:442)
        at org.jfree.chart.JFreeChart.draw(JFreeChart.java:1235)
        at org.jfree.chart.JFreeChart.createBufferedImage(JFreeChart.java:1409)
        at org.jfree.chart.JFreeChart.createBufferedImage(JFreeChart.java:1389)
        at org.jfree.chart.ChartUtilities.writeChartAsPNG(ChartUtilities.java:183)

I obviously removed some (a lot) parts to make it more readable and to hide corporate IP 😉 But this is the relevant part.

I found this bug report on Github and for once, plowing through the comments, it helped me. As is mentioned there, the culprit is the missing “fontconfig” package. So, I added another Ansible task to our playbook to provision the server et voila, the problem is gone.

- name: Install fontconfig package
  package:
    name: fontconfig
    state: present
    tags:
      - java

As mentioned earlier, we had wiped all that was relevant to OpenJDK off the system and by doing so, also uninstalled the “fontconfig” package. Otherwise this error wouldn’t have surfaced. But that’s the benefit of starting with a clean slate. This way you know if something is missing and don’t get surprised by errors all of a sudden while, at the same time, it is working on another machine.

Micrometer and Spring (Non-Boot)

Almost all of the tutorials and blog posts I found on this topic were focused on Spring Boot because, starting with version 2, it uses Micrometer as its metrics framework. However, in a particular project at work we do not have access to Spring Boot let alone a recent Spring version. Therefore, I’m explaining how to include Micrometer in your non-Boot Spring application using XML configuration.

In this tutorial I will be using Spring 5 and Java 11, so not exactly the versions I’m dealing with at work, but the concepts are the same and everything can probably be copied exactly as shown here.

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A Java “DSL“ for Simple Unit Test Data Creation

I’m a person that usually writes tests before the implementation. In the context of my backup application project this has turned out to really slow me down. But it’s not just a problem of my personal projects. It also affects my professional work. 

Here’s the issue: for some tests you need test data and generating that test data can be a tedious task, depending on the complexity. This has caused me to procrastinate on my backup app. So, one evening, after having thought about this during a workout, I grabbed my laptop, sat down in my comfy bed and wrote a “DSL” that makes creating the data much simpler. Not only is it easier to create the data now, allowing me to continue at a faster pace, it’s also much more readable and the test setup doesn’t clutter the test case anymore. This is a very important aspect of a test. What good does it to have one if, after some time, you have to update it and don’t understand what it does anymore?

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