Java Streams Overview, Part II

In my previous article, I wrote about the fundamentals of streams in Java 8. Now, let’s augment our skills with some additional information about streams, like how we can chain them, and we can use them to access files.

Chaining Streams

When working with streams, they are often chained together.

Let us see what are the advantages of using chained streams:

  • One stream instance leverages another stream instance.
  • This creates a higher level of functionality. We can have one stream accessing the data, then we have another stream that takes the results of that and processes more complex functionality.
  • This simplifies reusability because you can organize your streams in a way that allows each of them performs a specific job. In this way, they do not need to know each other’s inner workings.

We perform chaining using a constructor. We construct a higher level instance of the stream and then pass an instance of a lower level stream.

A good example of a chained stream is the InputStreamReader class, which is what we talked about in my previous article.

This class leverages chaining by providing reader behavior over an  InputStream. It translates the binary response to character behavior.

Let us see how it works.

void doChain(InputStream in) throws IOException{
int length;
char[] buffer = new char[128];
try(InputStreamReader rdr = new InputStreamReader(in)) {
while((length = rdr.read(buffer)) >= 0) {
//do something
}
}
}

As you can see, we do not need to care about how the  InputStream works. Whether it is backed by a file or network, it does not matter.

The only thing we know that it gives us binary data, we will pass it to our InputStreamReader and it converts it and can work with it as a character data.

Notice that we use try-with-resources here as well. If we close the InputStreamReader, it automatically closes theInputStream as well. This a very powerful concept, that you should know about.

File and Buffered Streams

We often use streams for accessing files.

There are several classes for that in the java.io package to use, like:

  • FileReader
  • FileWriter 
  • FileInputStream 
  • FileOutputStream 

The real thing is that these file streams are deprecated now. Despite that, they are still widely used in codes. So, you probably will face them in the near future, so it’s worth a notation.

Let us look at new ways to interact with files.

Buffered Streams

Buffered Streams are introduced to replace the FileStream classes in the java.io package. These new Streams are placed under the java.nio package.

It was necessary because direct file access can be inefficient and buffered streams can significantly improve efficiency with the following:

  • Buffer content in memory
  • Perform reads/writes in large chunks
  • Reduce underlying stream interaction

Buffering available for all four stream types:

  • BufferReader 
  • BufferWriter 
  • BufferedInputStream 
  • BufferedOutputStream 

Using them is very straightforward.

try(BufferedReader br = new BufferedReader(new FileReader("file.txt"))){
int value;
while((value = br.read()) >= 0) {
char charValue = (char)value;
//do something
}
}

Additional benefits to using BufferedStreams includes:

  • It handles linebreaks for various platforms like Windows or Unix
  • Uses correct value for the current platform
  • The BufferedWriter has a method:newLine(). It will create a new line with the appropriate character.
  • TheBufferedReader has a method for line based read: readLine().

Let us see how they work.

BufferedWriter:

void writeData(String[] data) throws IOException {
try(BufferedWriter bw = new BufferedWriter(new FileWriter("file.txt"))){
int value;
for(String str : data) {
bw.write(str);
bw.newLine();
}
}

BufferedReader:

void readData(String[] data) throws IOException {
try(BufferedReader br = new BufferedReader(new FileReader("file.txt"))){
String inValue;
while((inValue = br.readLine()) != null) {
System.out.println(inValue);
}
}

The code above will write out the file’s content line by line.

Accessing Files With the java.nio.file package

In Java 8, the java.io.FileXXX streams are deprecated. There is a new package to handle file streams called the java.nio.file package.

The package has several benefits over java.io:

  • Better exception reporting
  • Greater scalability, they work much better with large files
  • More file system feature support
  • Simplifies common tasks

Bellow, we will talk about the most fundamental Types In this new package.

Paths and Path Types

Path

  • Used to locate a file system item
  • It can be a file or directory

Paths

  • Used to get the Path objects through static Path factory methods
  • It translates a string-based hierarchical path or URI to Path.

Example: Path p = Paths.get(“\\documents\\foo.txt”)

Files Type

  • Static methods for interacting with files
  • Create, copy, delete, etc…
  • Open files streams
    • newBufferedReader 
    • newBufferedWriter 
    • newInputStream 
    • newOutputStream 
  • Read/Write file contents
    • readAllLines
    • write 

Reading Lines With BufferedReader

Let us see some quick example of how you can use it.

void readData(String[] data) throws IOException {
try(BufferedReader br = Files.newBufferedReader(Paths.get("data.txt")){
String inValue;
while((inValue = br.readLine()) != null) {
System.out.println(inValue);
}
}
}

Read All lines

void readAllLines(String[] data) throws IOException {
List<String> lines = Files.readAllLines(Paths.get("data.txt"));
for(String line:lines) {
System.out.println();
}
}

File Systems

When we work with files from a Java program, those files are contained within a file system. Most commonly, we use the computer’s default file system.

Java also supports specialized file systems, such as the Zip file system.

Path instances are tied to a file system and thePath class works only for the default one. So, we need another solution. Fortunately, in the Java.nio package, we have the opportunity to deal with this.

File System Types

FileSystem

  • Represents an individual file system
  • Factory for Path instances

FileSystems

  • Used to get the FileSystem objects through static FileSystem factory methods
  • Open or create a file system
    •  newFileSystem

Accessing File Systems

File systems identified by URIs

  • Specifics of URI vary greatly among the file systems
  • Zip file system uses “jar:file” scheme
    • jar:file:/documents/data.zip

File systems support custom properties

  • Different for each file system type
  • Examples: String encoding, whether to create if it does not exist

Creating a Zip Filesystem

public static void main(String[] args) throws FileNotFoundException, IOException {
try (FileSystem zipFileSystem = openZip(Paths.get("data.zip"))){ //pass the Path where we would like to create our FileSystem
}catch (Exception e) {
System.out.println(e.getClass().getSimpleName() + " - " + e.getLocalizedMessage());;
}
}
private static FileSystem openZip(Path path) throws URISyntaxException, IOException {
Map<String, String> properties = new HashMap<>();
properties.put("create", "true"); //set the property to allow creating
URI zipUri = new URI("jar:file", path.toUri().getPath(), null); //make a new URI from the path
FileSystem zipFileSystem = FileSystems.newFileSystem(zipUri, properties); //create the filesystem
return zipFileSystem;
}

After the code above, you should see your data.zip file in your directory.

Copying Files to Zip Filesystem

Let us augment the above example with a File copy operation.

In this example, I created a file called file.txt in my project library. We will copy this file to our data.zip Filesystem.

Streams in Java 8
public static void main(String[] args) throws FileNotFoundException, IOException {
try (FileSystem zipFileSystem = openZip(Paths.get("data.zip"))){
copyFileToZip(zipFileSystem); //Here we call the file copy
}catch (Exception e) {
System.out.println(e.getClass().getSimpleName() + " - " + e.getLocalizedMessage());;
}
}
private static FileSystem openZip(Path path) throws URISyntaxException, IOException {
Map<String, String> properties = new HashMap<>();
properties.put("create", "true");
URI zipUri = new URI("jar:file", path.toUri().getPath(), null);
FileSystem zipFileSystem = FileSystems.newFileSystem(zipUri, properties);
return zipFileSystem;
}
static void copyFileToZip(FileSystem zipFileSystem) throws IOException{
Path sourceFile = FileSystems.getDefault().getPath("file.txt"); //Read the file to copy
Path destFile = zipFileSystem.getPath("/fileCopied.txt"); //get the path of the new file
Files.copy(sourceFile, destFile);//Copy the file to our zip FileSystem
}

After you run the code, you should see the fileCopied.txt int our zip-file. Its context should be the same as in our file.txt.

Summary

In this article, we went further into streams in Java 8. I demonstrated how stream chaining works, as well as how you can deal with files through the new java.nio package. We also touched on why you should use more up-to-date, buffered versions of the Filestreams.

Hope you enjoyed!

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