Welcome!

Apache Authors: Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Christopher Harrold, Janakiram MSV

Related Topics: Industrial IoT

Industrial IoT: Article

An Introduction to JDOM Part 2 of 2

An Introduction to JDOM Part 2 of 2

This second of a two-part series on JDOM examines in greater detail what it takes to use JDOM to perform some common tasks. In particular, I'll illustrate how to create JDOM documents, read JDOM documents from various sources (including SAX and DOM), output to various sources, and how to use JDOM with XSLT.

The overview of JDOM discussed in Part 1 (XML-J, Vol. 2, issue 7) revealed that JDOM bridges the gap between inconsistencies in DOM parser APIs via adapters. It also takes SAX and DOM to the next level in terms of ease of use, by compensating for the weaknesses of these APIs when it comes to XML document manipulation.

Part 1 explored the JDOM API and the packages and classes that are most significant for developing in JDOM. The main components of a JDOM document that were defined in Part 1 are critical prerequisites for understanding this article.

Creating a JDOM Document
JDOM documents can be created in two ways - from scratch or from some other input source, such as an XML document, a series of SAX events, or a DOM document. First, we'll discuss how to create a JDOM document in memory from scratch, and then, in the next section, we'll address how to output that document in various different formats.

After we create a JDOM document and show how to output its content, we will demonstrate how to input an existing XML document, a series of SAX events, or a DOM document, and convert it into a JDOM document, which is the second option for creating a JDOM document.

Creating a JDOM Document in Memory
Let's begin by creating a JDOM document in memory, from scratch. Since JDOM was written with the Java developer in mind (keeping as close to Java standards as possible), creating a new JDOM document in memory is straightforward for Java developers.

To create a JDOM document in memory using the core JDOM classes, Document and Element from the org.jdom package, use the following code:

Document doc = new Document( new
Element("root-element")

.setText("Hello World!") );

This creates, in memory, a bare bones JDOM document and stores it in the variable doc. That's all there is to it. Next, we'll look at outputting this document to the screen, so we can see what it looks like in XML.

Outputting JDOM Documents
After creating a JDOM document, it can be output using one of three primary ways:

1. org.jdom.output.DOMOutputter: As a DOM document
2. org.jdom.output.SAXOutputter:  As a sequence of SAX events
3. org.jdom.output.XMLOutputter: As an XML document to a file or an output stream

As part of the org.jdom.output package, XMLOutputter outputs a JDOM document to an output stream, such as the screen, or to a file. Alternatively, the SAXOutputter or DOMOutputter classes, also of the org.jdom.output package, can be used to output the JDOM document as a series of SAX events or as a DOM document, respectively.

In Listing 1, we illustrate output using XMLOutputter to output to the standard output stream, System.out, which by default is the screen when running in a DOS/UNIX command window.

Using XMLOutputter
When a JDOM document is output as an XML document, it's output as one or two long lines of XML code unless you specify otherwise. This is fine if it's being sent to another application or system for processing, and is actually the most compact. However, it makes it very difficult to read and see the structure.

To format the XML output to improve readability - by humans, not computers - we can specify a couple of parameters when creating the XMLOutputter. The first parameter defines the level of indentation - usually as a sequence of spaces - and the second is a Boolean value that, if set to true, causes new lines to be added to the output.

Here's an example:

outputter = new XMLOutputter(" ",
true);
outputter.output(doc, System.out);

We use this approach in our HelloWorld example shown later in the article.

Note that since XMLOutputter contains methods to output a JDOM document to a java.io.OutputStream as well as to a java.io.Writer, you can use the same approach whether outputting to a file, an output stream (such as across a network), to the screen, or to any other form of Writer or OutputStream.

Other output methods in XMLOutputter allow you to output just parts of the JDOM document such as CDATA sections, comments, elements, entities, and processing instructions. We talked about each of these components in Part 1.

The JDOM document created as described in the last example will be output to the screen. The code required is in Listing 1.

To compile this file, first ensure that you have set up your Java environment correctly for use with JDOM. Your CLASSPATH must include the xerces.jar file found in the lib subdirectory of your JDOM distribution. The xerces.jar file should be followed in the CLASSPATH by the jdom.jar file from the build subdirectory of your JDOM distribution.

Next, to compile the HelloWorld.java file, type the following code:

javac HelloWorld.java

After the HelloWorld.java file compiles, run the HelloWorld application using:

java HelloWorld

This produces the following output:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> <root-element>Hello World!</root-element>

The root-element tag is from the code defined in the HelloWorld.java file, specifically from the line that instantiates a new Element. Here is the code that defines the name of the new Element.

new Element("root-element")

The text "Hello World!" also was defined in the code in the HelloWorld.java file and by the call to the setText method. The following code defines the text for the root element:

new Element("root-element").setText("Hello World!")

As you can see, using JDOM, it's possible to produce perfectly valid XML output with little prior knowledge of XML. This was one of the original goals of JDOM.

Outputting Using DOMOutputter
We just saw how to output a JDOM document as an XML file. Using DOMOutputter, we can output a JDOM document as a DOM document. This is useful when interfacing with another application or system that expects a DOM document as its input.

The following lines of code show how to create and use DOMOutputter to output a JDOM document, doc.

DOMOutputter outputter = new DOMOutputter(); outputter.output( doc );

In addition to outputting JDOM documents, DOMOutputter also provides methods that allow you to output JDOM elements and attributes. See the JDOM API documentation for details.

Outputting Using SAXOutputter
We just saw how to output a JDOM document as an XML file and as a DOM document. The final way to output a JDOM document is as a sequence of SAX events. This is useful for interfacing with applications or components that handle a series of SAX events.

When constructing a SAXOutputter, you must specify a SAX content handler (actually an org.xml.sax.ContentHandler) as a minimum. You then have the option of specifying a SAX error handler (org.xml.sax.ErrorHandler), DTD handler (org.xml.sax.DTDHandler), and entity handler (org.xml.sax.EntityHandler) after you have created the SAXOutputter object.

The following lines of code show how to create and use SAXOutputter to output a JDOM document, doc.

SAXOutputter outputter = new SAXOutputter( contentHandler ); outputter.output( doc );

After creating a SAXOutputter object, you need to invoke the output() method to pass the JDOM document object you want to output to the outputter.

Inputting to JDOM Documents
Earlier in this article we saw how to create a JDOM document from scratch. Another way of creating a JDOM document is to read an XML document or input stream (using a SAX parser), or input a DOM document. Again, we will use an output stream to output the JDOM document.

To input an XML file, input stream, or DOM document as a JDOM document, use the SAXBuilder or DOMBuilder classes, respectively, from the org.jdom.input package.

Inputting Using SAXBuilder
Perhaps the most common means of building a JDOM document is to use SAXBuilder. SAXBuilder uses a SAX parser to parse an XML input file or input stream. Building a JDOM document using SAXBuilder is a two-step process.

In step one, you need to create a new instance of a SAXBuilder object. Next, invoke one of the build methods for reading the XML input and building a JDOM document object.

Four different constructors are available for creating a new SAXBuilder object, the primary one using the default SAX parser as determined by JAXP. Validation is turned off. It can be enabled and disabled after the construction of a SAXBuilder object by using the setValidation() method.

The other three constructors allow more control over whether or not validation is enabled or disabled and in choosing an alternate SAX parser.

After creating a SAXBuilder object, other methods are available that allow us to initialize it with a custom DTD handler, Entity resolver, XML filter, and error handler.

Once we have instantiated a new SAXBuilder object, we can use it to build a JDOM document. There are seven different publicly accessible build methods available.

The main differences between the seven build methods lie in where the XML input is to come from. It can come from a variety of sources, including one specified by a java.io.File, java.io.InputStream, java.io.Reader, a URI specified as a java.lang.String, or a java.net.URL.

SAX parsers tend to be the first choice over DOM parsers because of their speed when reading in XML and generating a JDOM document. If you prefer not to use the default SAX parser with SAXBuilder, you can always substitute a third-party SAX parser.

Simply pass the name of the SAX Driver class to the SAXBuilder constructor when creating the builder. Make sure that the classes required by the alternate parser are available in your CLASSPATH. SAXBuilder will then use the specified SAX parser to build a JDOM document.

Inputting Using DOMBuilder
An alternative to the SAXBuilder is the DOMBuilder. The DOMBuilder class is intended to allow us to build a JDOM document from a preexisting DOM document. It uses basically the same steps as when using SAXBuilder.

First, create a new instance of a DOMBuilder object. Next, invoke one of the build methods to read the XML input and build a JDOM document object.

To create a new DOMBuilder object, four different constructors are available. The default constructor creates a new DOMBuilder using the default DOM parser - as specified by the default JAXP parser, or a JDOM default if not. Validation is turned off.

The default constructor with no validation suffices for most purposes, but the other three constructors allow for greater control when selecting a DOM parser. They also allow you to enable or disable validation.

After creating a DOMBuilder object, use one of the DOMBuilder.build methods to build a JDOM document from an existing DOM document object. This build method is just like the SAXBuilder.build methods except that it takes an org.w3c.dom.Document object as a single argument for its input.

In addition, DOMBuilder contains a build method that allows you to construct a JDOM element object directly from a DOM element (org.w3c.dom.Element) object. The DOMBuilder class is intended primarily as a way of generating a JDOM document from a preexisting DOM document.

The DOMBuilder class contains three additional DOMBuilder.build methods, each of these taking a single argument - either a java.io.File, java.io.InputStream, or a java.net.URL - and building a JDOM document from a file, input stream, or URL, respectively. These other methods are provided as a means of cross-checking the SAXBuilder.build methods, which is the recommended parser for XML parsing.

Generating a JDOM document using a DOM parser is slow, hence the SAX parser recommendation. The only possible exception to not using a SAX parser (via the SAXBuilder class) is if you are trying to validate the correct operation of the SAXBuilder class.

Working Together: JDOM and XSLT
One of the more common questions posted to the JDOM-interest discussion list centers on using JDOM with XSLT. There are several ways to do this. Below we look at one such way using a couple of classes from the JDOM-contrib repository.

Now that we have seen how to create, input, and output a JDOM document object, let's see how to feed it into an XSLT processor to transform one JDOM document into another.

XSLT Transformations Using JDOMResult and JDOMSource
The example described later assumes that you have downloaded and installed the JDOM-contrib files from the JDOM Web site. Refer to Part 1 of this series for details on downloading and installing JDOM. The JDOM-contrib files contain two classes intended to make using JDOM with XSLT quite straightforward. These are JDOMResult and JDOMSource. You can access these, provided the JDOM-contrib.jar file is (or its classes are) in your CLASSPATH.

In addition to the JDOM-contrib files, this example also makes use of classes from the Java API for XML Processing (JAXP) 1.1.

In Listing 2 there's a transform method - in the class XSLTDemo - that takes a JDOM document and the name of an XSLT file, then using JDOMResult and JDOMSource, transforms it according to the instructions in the given XSLT file. The transform method then returns the resulting JDOM document.

I thank Laurent Bihanic for this example, and the contribution of JDOMSource and JDOMResult to the JDOM-contrib repository.

Family Matters: Working with Children
One of the useful features of JDOM is that it allows developers to add and remove elements with a single line of code in its simplest form. For example, developers can create a child element from one line of code instead of requiring a factory method to create it for them after requesting it. However, more business logic may need to be added for greater functionality.

Once you have a JDOM document, you'll want to traverse it and possibly manipulate certain elements. JDOM makes manipulation of child elements as easy as manipulating a Java 2 List. To obtain a list of child Elements belonging to a given element, use one of the getChildren methods:

List children = element.getChildren();
List children = element.getChildren
( name );
List children = element.getChildren
( name, namespace );

These methods return a list of child elements belonging to the Element, element. If no children exist, the returned list will be empty.

Any changes to the returned list object will automatically be reflected in the underlying JDOM document. Since each of these methods return a Java 2 List object, then adding, removing, and reordering children are performed using native Java 2 List operations.

For example, to create a new child Element and add it as the second child to a list, use something like the following:

Element newChild =
new Element("child")
.setText("new child element");
children.add( 1, newChild );

Note that since the first item in a list is numbered 0, then the second item has an index of 1. Hence, the above code adds the newChild element as the second child in the list, children.

Similarly, to remove the first element (index 0) from the list, use the following:

children.remove( 0 );

The change is automatically reflected in the associated JDOM document, and the first child will be removed from the document.

As another JDOM code safety check, JDOM validates the document structure, making sure you don't have duplicate nodes above and below a child, which would result in an infinite loop. In other words, JDOM overrides the add and remove methods and makes sure there's only one parent for each child element and that that same child does not exist in a conflicting position on the tree.

Conclusion
This two-part series on JDOM examined in detail how this open-source Java API simplifies XML document manipulation when compared with the previous alternatives. It also describes how JDOM interacts with existing APIs for document manipulation, such as SAX and DOM. JDOM's tight, Java-centric design makes XML document creation, manipulation, transformation, and parsing a no-brainer for Java developers.

In these articles, we explored the purpose that JDOM serves in filling in the gaps where SAX and DOM fail in XML document manipulation. We also explored the JDOM API in depth, then in Part 2 we demonstrated how to use the API to perform common tasks such as inputting and outputting JDOM documents, as well as how to use JDOM with XSLT.

JDOM recently was accepted as a Java Specification Request (JSR-102) by the Java Community Process (JCP). As such, expect to hear a great deal more about JDOM in the future as it continues to be embraced by the Java community.

Acknowledgments
Special thanks to Steven Gould for sharing his expertise in JDOM and working so diligently with me on this series.

Resources
1. JDOM: www.jdom.org
2. JDOM discussion lists: www.jdom.org/involved/lists.html
3. Java API for XML Processing (JAXP): http://java.sun.com/xml/xml_jaxp.html
4. The Collections API for JDK 1.1: www.java.sun.com/products/javabeans/infobus/
5. For an alternative way of using JDOM with XSLT, see "Using JDOM and XSLT: How to Find the Right Input for Your Processor," IBM developerWorks, March 2001, by Brett McLaughlin (www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/xml/library/x-tipjdom.html).

More Stories By Shari Jones

Shari Jones is a freelance journalist and a technical writer. A former consultant, she has more than 10 years of experience writing technical articles and documentation - covering all areas of the high-tech industry. She has written for various magazines, including SunWorld, Linux.SYS-CON.com, IBM's developerWorks and others. Her work also has been selected for inclusion on Sun's Solaris Developer Connection.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
New competitors, disruptive technologies, and growing expectations are pushing every business to both adopt and deliver new digital services. This ‘Digital Transformation’ demands rapid delivery and continuous iteration of new competitive services via multiple channels, which in turn demands new service delivery techniques – including DevOps. In this power panel at @DevOpsSummit 20th Cloud Expo, moderated by DevOps Conference Co-Chair Andi Mann, panelists will examine how DevOps helps to meet th...
DevOps at Cloud Expo – being held October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises – and delivering real r...
Most technology leaders, contemporary and from the hardware era, are reshaping their businesses to do software in the hope of capturing value in IoT. Although IoT is relatively new in the market, it has already gone through many promotional terms such as IoE, IoX, SDX, Edge/Fog, Mist Compute, etc. Ultimately, irrespective of the name, it is about deriving value from independent software assets participating in an ecosystem as one comprehensive solution.
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
SYS-CON Events announced today that A&I Solutions has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Founded in 1999, A&I Solutions is a leading information technology (IT) software and services provider focusing on best-in-class enterprise solutions. By partnering with industry leaders in technology, A&I assures customers high performance levels across all IT environments including: mai...
Every successful software product evolves from an idea to an enterprise system. Notably, the same way is passed by the product owner's company. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Oleg Lola, CEO of MobiDev, will provide a generalized overview of the evolution of a software product, the product owner, the needs that arise at various stages of this process, and the value brought by a software development partner to the product owner as a response to these needs.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Systena America will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Systena Group has been in business for various software development and verification in Japan, US, ASEAN, and China by utilizing the knowledge we gained from all types of device development for various industries including smartphones (Android/iOS), wireless communication, security technology and IoT serv...
Five years ago development was seen as a dead-end career, now it’s anything but – with an explosion in mobile and IoT initiatives increasing the demand for skilled engineers. But apart from having a ready supply of great coders, what constitutes true ‘DevOps Royalty’? It’ll be the ability to craft resilient architectures, supportability, security everywhere across the software lifecycle. In his keynote at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Jeffrey Scheaffer, GM and SVP, Continuous Delivery Busine...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Progress, a global leader in application development, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Enterprises today are rapidly adopting the cloud, while continuing to retain business-critical/sensitive data inside the firewall. This is creating two separate data silos – one inside the firewall and the other outside the firewall. Cloud ISVs ofte...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Outscale will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Outscale's technology makes an automated and adaptable Cloud available to businesses, supporting them in the most complex IT projects while controlling their operational aspects. You boost your IT infrastructure's reactivity, with request responses that only take a few seconds.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Interoute is the owner operator of Europe's largest network and a global cloud services platform, which encompasses over 70,000 km of lit fiber, 15 data centers, 17 virtual data centers and 33 colocation centers, with connections to 195 additional partner data centers. Our full-service Unifie...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CollabNet, a global leader in enterprise software development, release automation and DevOps solutions, will be a Bronze Sponsor of SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, taking place from June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CollabNet offers a broad range of solutions with the mission of helping modern organizations deliver quality software at speed. The company’s latest innovation, the DevOps Lifecycle Manager (DLM), supports Value S...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive ad...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Peak 10, Inc., a national IT infrastructure and cloud services provider, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Peak 10 provides reliable, tailored data center and network services, cloud and managed services. Its solutions are designed to scale and adapt to customers’ changing business needs, enabling them to lower costs, improve performance and focus intern...
Everywhere we turn in our industry we can find strong opinions about the direction, type and nature of cloud’s impact on computing and business. Another word that is used in every context in our industry is “hybrid.” In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Alvaro Gonzalez, Director of Technical, Partner and Field Marketing at Peak 10, will use a combination of a few conceptual props and some research recently commissioned by Peak 10 to offer a real-world consideration of how the various categories of...
Detecting internal user threats in the Big Data eco-system is challenging and cumbersome. Many organizations monitor internal usage of the Big Data eco-system using a set of alerts. This is not a scalable process given the increase in the number of alerts with the accelerating growth in data volume and user base. Organizations are increasingly leveraging machine learning to monitor only those data elements that are sensitive and critical, autonomously establish monitoring policies, and to detect...
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
The 21st International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding busin...
Multiple data types are pouring into IoT deployments. Data is coming in small packages as well as enormous files and data streams of many sizes. Widespread use of mobile devices adds to the total. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will look at the tools and environments that are being put to use in IoT deployments, as well as the team skills a modern enterprise IT shop needs to keep things running, get a handle on all this data, and deli...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Loom Systems will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Founded in 2015, Loom Systems delivers an advanced AI solution to predict and prevent problems in the digital business. Loom stands alone in the industry as an AI analysis platform requiring no prior math knowledge from operators, leveraging the existing staff to succeed in the digital era. With offices in S...