DTO standards

chatox edited this page Nov 27, 2014 · 12 revisions

Data Transfer Objects (DTOs)

DTOs are used in AIDR to transfer data. In AIDR most DTOs contain all the properties of an entity.

Types of properties

DTOs in AIDR have mandatory and optional properties.

All mandatory properties must be initialized by the constructor. Their getter does not need to test that the property exists. Their setter needs to verify the values given before setting.

In optional properties: the getter needs to test if the property exist, and if not, must throw an exception of type PropertyNotSetException. Their setter needs to verify the values given before setting.


Mapping from/to entities in done by the DTO class, not by a helper class.

Mapping from entities is done through the constructor and the constructor only.

Mapping to entities is done by a method toEntity(). This method is always called toEntity(), no matter what the class name is.



@Table(name = "crisis", ...)
public class Crisis ... {

    private Long crisisId;

    private String name;

    private List<ModelFamily> modelFamilies = null;

    // + getters and setters

DTO (this example assumes crisisID and name are mandatory, for example purposes only):

public class CrisisDTO implements Serializable {

    /* Mandatory properties */

    private Long crisisID;

    private String name;

    /* Optional properties */

    private List<ModelFamilyDTO> modelFamiliesDTO = null;

    /* Constructors from entity and from mandatory properties */

    public CrisisDTO( Crisis crisis ) {

    public CrisisDTO( Long crisisID, String name ) {

    /* Mapping to entity */

    public Crisis toEntity() {
        Crisis crisis = new Crisis();
        return crisis;

    /* Getters for mandatory properties */

    public getCrisisID() {
        return crisisID;

    public getName() {
        return name;

    /* Getters for optional properties, must thrown exception if property not set */

    public getModelFamiliesDTO() {
        if( modelFamiliesDTO == null ) {
            logger.error( "Attempt to access unset property" );
            throw new PropertyNotSetException();
        } else {
            return modelFamiliesDTO;

    /* Setters, which must always verify */

    public setCrisisID(Long crisisID) {
        if( crisisID == null ) {
            logger.error( "Attempt to set a crisisID to null" );
            throw new IllegalArgumentException("crisisID cannot be null");
        } else if( crisisID.longValue() <= 0 ) {
            logger.error( "Attempt to set a crisisID to zero or a negative number" );
            throw new IllegalArgumentException("crisisID cannot be zero or a negative number");
        } else {
            this.crisisID = crisisID;

    // + other setters, which must also verify

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