Text-Related APIs

In this chapter, we cover most of the special-purpose, text-related APIs in Java, from simple classes for parsing words and numbers to advanced text formatting, internationalization, and regular expressions. But since so much of what we do with computers is oriented around text, classifying APIs as strictly text-related can be somewhat arbitrary. Some of the text-related packages we cover in the next chapter include the Java Calendar API, the Properties and User Preferences APIs, and the Logging API. But probably the most important new tools in the text arena are those for working with the Extensible Markup Language, XML. In , we cover this topic in detail, along with the XSL/XSLT stylesheet language. Together they provide a powerful framework for rendering documents. Before we dive in, we should mention that one of the biggest developments in Java in a long time has been the introduction of printf style text formatting, introduced in Java 5.0. We call it "printf style" after the C language printf function, from which it was largely borrowed. Although this new formatting capability does not technically add many new features to Java, it is an important and highly anticipated addition that changes the "feel" of the language in a fundamental way. We'll show both the older and newer style tools in this chapter so that you can be familiar with both.