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SQL-Like Operations With Java Using Streams

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SQL-Like Operations With Java Using Streams

Among the Streams API's uses is easily processing data. Here is how to get SQL-like functionality out of your Streams with some best practices to keep in mind.

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Nearly every Java application makes and processes collections to group and process the data. To process the data from collections, we write a lot of boilerplate code. Typical processing patterns on collections are similar to SQL-like operations such as “finding”, “grouping”, etc. Most databases let us specify such operations declaratively like the below SQL query:

SELECT dept_no, MAX(salary) FROM employee GROUP BY DeptID

As you can see, we don’t need to implement how to calculate the maximum salary (for example, using loops and a variable to track the highest value). We only express what we expect. In Java 8, we can do the same way using streams.

What Is and Is Not a Stream?

  • A Stream is a pipeline of functions that can be evaluated
  • Streams can transform data
  • A Stream is not a data structure
  • Streams cannot mutate data

Most importantly, a stream isn’t a data structure. We can often create a stream from collections to apply a number of functions on a data structure, but a stream itself is not a data structure.

Working With Streams

Obtaining a Stream From a Collection

List<String> items = new ArrayList<String>();

items.add("one");
items.add("two");
items.add("three");

Stream<String> stream = items.stream();


The first list of items is created using the Collection API. Then a Stream of strings is obtained by calling the items.stream() method.

Streams filter() and collect()

Before Java 8, you filtered a List like this

List < String > items = Arrays.asList("one", "two", "three");
List < String > result = new ArrayList < > ();
for (String item: items) {
    if (!"three".equals(item)) { // don't want three
        result.add(item);
    }
}
for (String temp: result) {
    System.out.println(temp); //output : one, two
}


Using Java 8 streams, we can use stream.filter() to filter a List and collect() to convert a stream into a List.

List<String> items = Arrays.asList("one", "two", "three");

List<String> result = items.stream() // obtain a stream from the list
    .filter(item -> !"three".equals(item)) // don't want three
    .collect(Collectors.toList()); // collect the output and convert streams to a List

result.forEach(System.out::println); //output : one, two

Streams map()

Before Java 8:

List<String> alphaNumbers = Arrays.asList("one", "two", "three", "four");

List <String> alphaNumbersUpperCase = new ArrayList < > ();
for (String s: alphaNumbers) {
    alphaNumbersUpperCase.add(s.toUpperCase());
}

System.out.println(alphaNumbers); //[one, two, three, four]
System.out.println(alphaNumbersUpperCase); //[ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR]


Using Java 8's stream.map():

List<String> alphaNumbers = Arrays.asList("one", "two", "three", "four");

List<String> alphaNumbersUpperCase =
    alphaNumbers.stream()
    .map(String::toUpperCase)
    .collect(Collectors.toList());
System.out.println(alphaNumbersUpperCase); //[ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR]


Streams sorted()

Using the same example above, we will sort the alphaNumbers:

List<String> alphaNumbers = Arrays.asList("one", "two", "three", "four");

List<String> alphaNumbersUpperCase = alphaNumbers.stream()
    .map(String::toUpperCase)
    .sorted()
    .collect(Collectors.toList());
System.out.println(alphaNumbersUpperCase); // [FOUR, ONE, THREE, TWO]


To sort in reverse order:

List<String> alphaNumbers = Arrays.asList("one", "two", "three", "four");

List<String> alphaNumbersUpperCase = alphaNumbers.stream()
    .map(String::toUpperCase)
    .sorted(Comparator.reverseOrder())
    .collect(Collectors.toList());
System.out.println(alphaNumbersUpperCase); // [TWO, THREE, ONE, FOUR]


Conclusion

The Streams API is powerful and simple to understand. It allows us to reduce a huge amount of boilerplate code, create more readable programs, and improve productivity when used properly. We should not leave instantiated streams unconsumed, as that will lead to memory leaks. Apply the close() method or a terminal operation to close the stream.

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Topics:
java 8 streams ,java ,sql ,collections

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