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Collection selection and the use of #this [SPR-10417] #15050

spring-issuemaster opened this issue Mar 25, 2013 · 3 comments


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commented Mar 25, 2013

Ram Chidambaram opened SPR-10417 and commented

I have 2 lists containing strings and i would like to check if an item in one list is contained in another. I tried this using the Collection selection.

list1 contains values "a", "b", "x"
list 2 contains values "c", "x"


The expected result is a list with "x". But I just get an empty result.

I'm expecting the #this inside the collection selection would point to the current iteration item. Is this not the case ?

Affects: 3.1.2

Issue Links:

  • #16651 SpEL Collection Selection: "selectionExpression" with method invocation pushes root object as active context instead of current item
  • #17647 In SPEL projection expression, #this as the same value as #root

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commented Mar 27, 2013

Phil Webb commented

It seems that the #this object is always reset to the root object during method calls, see the org.springframework.expression.spel.ast.MethodReference getValueRef method:

// Make the root object the active context again for evaluating the parameter
// expressions
try {
	arguments[i] = children[i].getValueInternal(state).getValue();
finally {

This means that #self does reference the iterator item but unfortunately not during the call to .contains().

Have you considered writing a custom function that could return the intersection of the two lists? Something like:

public void SPR_10417() throws Exception {
	StandardEvaluationContext context = new StandardEvaluationContext();
		getClass().getDeclaredMethod("intersect", Collection.class, Collection.class));

	Expression exp = parser.parseExpression("#intersect(#list1, #list2)");
	List<String> list1 = new ArrayList<String>(Arrays.asList("a", "b", "c"));
	List<String> list2 = new ArrayList<String>(Arrays.asList("c", "x"));
	context.setVariable("list1", list1);
	context.setVariable("list2", list2);
	Object value = exp.getValue(context);

public static List intersect(Collection a, Collection b) {
	List list = new ArrayList(a);
	return list;

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commented Oct 27, 2014

Andy Clement commented

This is somewhat related to #16651, under that bug I might make some changes, they just need to be done carefully and with an eye on what impact it will have to existing users.


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commented May 22, 2015

Andy Clement commented

Fixed by commit for #17647. Test cases based on this issue included.

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