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JRecordBind v2.3: A Closer Look

Posted by editor on September 23, 2009 at 9:15 AM PDT

A few days ago, the JRecordBind project released Version 2.3 (see the Java Today entry below). JRecordBind, which is led by Federico Fissore, is a member of the Java Tools Community. The project is licensed under the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL). JRecordBind Version 2.3 adds support for xs:choice.

JRecordBind provides two services that are applicable to business applications, in particular to situations where an interface between two different systems is required. The library provides two simple capabilities:

  • map a fixed or variable length text file to bean instances, ready to be chewed by an import procedure (Unmarshaller)
  • export record beans into a fixed or variable length text file (Marshaller)

So, you can see that JRecordBind is useful in any situation where data must be transferred between a bean-based application and an application that can read and write text files. The latter application might be, for example, a legacy operational business platform, that can write out or read in data records in the form of fixed field text data dumps, or write data into formatted text reports.

About 8 years ago I was very much involved in developing software for document archival and retrieval. The company I worked for sold software to insurance companies and other businesses, along with goverment agencies, all of which needed to maintain historical records for periods of years to even decades. The documents were ingested into the archive, key elements were detected and catalogued, and the users could search for and retrieve documents based on the catalogued data elements. One of the most common types of document was a text report, with fixed fields and a fixed page or text record format. Clearly, JRecordBind is well-tailored for addressing this kind of task.

The JRecordBind home page refers to JRecordBind as "a tiny and super fast library." I downloaded Version 2.3 and took a look. The download unpacks into jrecordbind-2.3.jar and two subdirectories: apidocs and lib. While the byte size of a jar isn't the perfect way to measure size, for the record, jrecordbind-2.3.jar comes in at just over 36 KBytes.

The lib directory contains XML-schema API component jars, related to, for example, JAXB, RELAX NG, XSOM (the GlassFish/Metro XML Schema Object Model), and StAX (Streaming API for XML). Just for comparison, the combined size of the lib jars is 4.5 MBytes (with the JAXB jars occupying 4.1 MBytes of the total).

Looking at it this way, JRecordBind is indeed a small library. It performs its own specific task, applying some powerful standardized APIs to do some of the lower-level heavy lifting.

The apidocs subdirectory contains javadocs files. The JRecordBind home page includes a lot of good discussion about the library's features, and points you to additional xsd examples and class examples that demonstrate the library's features.

Congratulations to Federico and the JRecordBind team on releasing stable Version 2.3!


In Java Today, java.net's JRecordBind project has announced the release of Version 2.3. JRecordBind is a tiny and super fast library that aims to: 1) map a fixed or variable length text file to bean instances, ready to be chewed by an import procedure (Unmarshaller); and 2) export record beans into a fixed or variable length text file (Marshaller). Version 2.3, which is now available for download, adds xs:choice support:

Since version 2.3, you can specify the jrb:setter attribute at the xs:choice level. JAXB allows you to have only one method in classes defined as "choice" in the xsd, but that's defined outsiBhavani Shankarde of the xsd, in a file called bindings.xjb (using the "choiceContentProperty" option). JRecordBind knows nothing about that file, so you need to duplicate that information into the xsd, in a way JRecordBind can understand. So, for instance, if you have the elements One and Two inside an xs:choice element ...

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