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README.md

Pointer-Path - An API for processing nested data types

Overview

Pointer-Path is a Java API for building and transforming nested data types like JSON.

The API is generic, but currently only supports JSON operations, with the intent to provide POJO and XML providers.

Final Releases are available on jcenter:

compile 'io.heretical:pointer-path-core:1.0.1'
compile 'io.heretical:pointer-path-json:1.0.1'
<dependency>
  <groupId>io.heretical</groupId>
  <artifactId>pointer-path-core</artifactId>
  <version>1.0.1</version>
  <type>pom</type>
</dependency>

<dependency>
  <groupId>io.heretical</groupId>
  <artifactId>pointer-path-json</artifactId>
  <version>1.0.1</version>
  <type>pom</type>
</dependency>

WIP release maven coordinates can be found at:

This library requires Java 8 and the JSON functionality is dependent on Jackson.

Pointer Path Syntax

The pointer path syntax is an extended version of the JSON Pointer syntax with the addition of a wildcard operator (*) and a descent operator(**).

/person references the person element in an data structure.

/person/firstName references the child firstName beneath the person element in an data structure.

/people/*/age will reference the age value a level below the people array (e.g. /people/measures/age).

/measures/**/value will reference all the value values at any level below the measures root. (e.g. /measures/value and /measures/foo/bar/value)

Pointer

The Pointer API, relying on the pointer path syntax, provides accessors and mutators for use against a nested data structure.

The following code snippet will deep copy the tree that matches /person/measures/*/value from the from node into the into node.

    JSONNestedPointerCompiler.COMPILER.nested( "/person/measures/*/value" ).copy( from, into );

This code will return an array type (specific to the provider) of all the values values found in the tree.

    JsonNode from = mapper.readTree( JSONData.nested );

    JsonNode result = COMPILER.nested( "/**/measures/*/value" ).allAt( from );

Here we coerce all elements named value to float types, then retrieve all the values as a JSON array.

    JsonNode from = mapper.readTree( JSONData.nested );

    NestedPointer<JsonNode, ArrayNode> pointer = COMPILER.nested( "/person/**/value" );

    pointer.apply( from, JSONPrimitiveTransforms.TO_FLOAT ); // accepts a Java 8 Function or lambda

    JsonNode result = pointer.allAt( from );

Builder

The Builder class allows for new nested objects to be created from a set of BuildSpec declarations and a Map of values. With the intent of declaring the transformation once, and repeatedly generating new objects on new sets of argument values.

Below a new JSON object is being created from a Map of values.

    Map<Comparable, Object> arguments = new HashMap<>();

    arguments.put( "id", "123-45-6789" );
    arguments.put( "age", 50 );
    arguments.put( "first", "John" );
    arguments.put( "last", "Doe" );
    arguments.put( "child", "Jane" );
    arguments.put( "child-age", 4 );

    BuildSpec spec = new BuildSpec()
      .putInto( "id", "/ssn" )
      .putInto( "age", String.class, "/age" )
      .putInto( "first", "/name/first" )
      .putInto( "last", "/name/last" )
      .addInto( "child", "/children" )
      .addInto( "child-age", Integer.class, "/childAges" );

    JSONBuilder builder = new JSONBuilder( spec );

    ObjectNode value = JsonNodeFactory.instance.objectNode();

    builder.build( ( key, type ) -> arguments.get( key ), value );

Note that the values in the arguments Map can be any primitive type or supported child type to the parent node, including another JSON Object or Array. Internally, all primitive values are wrapped by their corresponding node type, if any.

Copier

Similarly the Copier class allows for a new nested objects to be created from a set of CopySpec declarations and a single input nested data type. Again with the intent of declaring the transformation once, and repeatedly generating new objects on new sets of argument values.

Below a new JSON object is being created by copying the original object, but excluding specific values.

    JsonNode value = mapper.readTree( JSONData.nested );
    ObjectNode result = JsonNodeFactory.instance.objectNode();

    CopySpec spec = new CopySpec()
      .fromExclude( "/person", "/ssn", "/children" ); // exclude ssn and children from the result

    JSONCopier copier = new JSONCopier( spec );

    copier.copy( value, result );

Its worth noting that the Copier and CopySpec declarations attempts to replicate the semantics of copying a directory tree from one location to another.

In the example below, we apply a transformation to all the value elements in an array into float values.

    JsonNode value = mapper.readTree( JSONData.nested );
    ObjectNode result = JsonNodeFactory.instance.objectNode();

    CopySpec spec = new CopySpec()
      .fromTransform( "/result", "/measures/*/value", JSONPrimitiveTransforms.TO_FLOAT );

    JSONCopier copier = new JSONCopier( spec );

    copier.copy( value, result );

We could also have used a descent operator to catch all the child value elements in a complex object to help normalize the data structure. In some object the value could be an int on one path and float on another, which could cause downstream headaches if a system was tyring to infer data types from observed values (looking at you Elasticsearch).

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A declarative API for batch processing schema-less nested data types like JSON

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