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Tip of the Day
Language: Visual Basic, Java
Expertise: Intermediate
Oct 8, 2001

Delimit, Unparse, or Concatenate to Strings


A common operation in many applications requires you to concatenate a list of objects (usually strings) and separate them by commas, or some other character for display (the opposite of a parsing). A simple set of delimiting methods can be placed into a utility class and used again and again. It would be easy to provide polymorphic methods to handle integers or any of the other primitive data types as well. These methods are especially useful in generating a comma separated values (.csv) file.

The following code contains the delimit() methods that return strings. See the 'main()' method for example usage.
 
public class Delimit
{

    public static String delimit(Object[] a) {
        return delimit(null, a, ", ");
    }

    public static String delimit(Object[] a, 
String delimiter) {
        return delimit(null, a, delimiter);
    }

    public static String delimit(
        String header, Object[] a, String delimiter) {

        String s = ((header == null) ? "" : header);
        String d = ((delimiter == null) ? "" : 
delimiter);

        if ((a != null) && (a.length > 0)) {
            s += a[0].toString();
            for (int i = 1; i < a.length; i++) {
                s += d + a[i].toString();
            }
        }
        return s;
    }

    public static void main(String args[]) {
        Object[] obj = {"abcdefg", new Integer(555), 
new Boolean(true)};

        System.out.println(Delimit.delimit(obj));
        System.out.println(Delimit.delimit
("LIST: ", obj, " - "));    }
}
Roy Lachapelle
 
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