How Nashorn Impacts API Evolution on a New Level

Following our previous article about how to use jOOQ with Java 8 and Nashorn, one of our users discovered a flaw in using the jOOQ API as discussed here on the user group. In essence, the flaw can be summarised like so:

Java code

package org.jooq.nashorn.test;

public class API {
    public static void test(String string) {
        throw new RuntimeException("Don't call this");
    }

    public static void test(Integer... args) {
        System.out.println("OK");
    }
}

JavaScript code

var API = Java.type("org.jooq.nashorn.test.API");
API.test(1); // This will fail with RuntimeException

After some investigation and the kind help of Attila Szegedi, as well as Jim Laskey (both Nashorn developers from Oracle), it became clear that Nashorn disambiguates overloaded methods and varargs differently than what an old Java developer might expect. Quoting Attila:

Nashorn’s overload method resolution mimics Java Language Specification (JLS) as much as possible, but allows for JavaScript-specific conversions too. JLS says that when selecting a method to invoke for an overloaded name, variable arity methods can be considered for invocation only when there is no applicable fixed arity method.

I agree that variable arity methods can be considered only when there is no applicable fixed arity method. But the whole notion of “applicable” itself is completely changed as type promotion (or coercion / conversion) using ToString, ToNumber, ToBoolean is preferred over what intuitively appear to be “exact” matches with varargs methods!

Let this sink in!

Given that we now know how Nashorn resolves overloading, we can see that any of the following are valid workarounds:

Explicitly calling the test(Integer[]) method using an array argument:

This is the simplest approach, where you ignore the fact that varargs exist and simply create an explicit array

var API = Java.type("org.jooq.nashorn.test.API");
API.test([1]);

Explicitly calling the test(Integer[]) method by saying so:

This is certainly the safest approach, as you’re removing all ambiguity from the method call

var API = Java.type("org.jooq.nashorn.test.API");
API["test(Integer[])"](1);

Removing the overload:

public class AlternativeAPI1 {
    public static void test(Integer... args) {
        System.out.println("OK");
    }
}

Removing the varargs:

public class AlternativeAPI3 {
    public static void test(String string) {
        throw new RuntimeException("Don't call this");
    }

    public static void test(Integer args) {
        System.out.println("OK");
    }
}

Providing an exact option:

public class AlternativeAPI4 {
    public static void test(String string) {
        throw new RuntimeException("Don't call this");
    }

    public static void test(Integer args) {
        test(new Integer[] { args });
    }

    public static void test(Integer... args) {
        System.out.println("OK");
    }
}

Replacing String by CharSequence (or any other “similar type”):

Now, this is interesting:

public class AlternativeAPI5 {
    public static void test(CharSequence string) {
        throw new RuntimeException("Don't call this");
    }

    public static void test(Integer args) {
        System.out.println("OK");
    }
}

Specifically, the distinction between CharSequence and String types appears to be very random from a Java perspective in my opinion.

Agreed, implementing overloaded method resolution in a dynamically typed language is very hard, if even possible. Any solution is a compromise that will introduce flaws at some ends. Or as Attila put it:

As you can see, no matter what we do, something else would suffer; overloaded method selection is in a tight spot between Java and JS type systems and very sensitive to even small changes in the logic.

True! But not only is overload method selection very sensitive to even small changes. Using Nashorn with Java interoperability is, too! As an API designer, over the years, I have grown used to semantic versioning, and the many subtle rules to follow when keeping an API source compatible, behavior compatible – and if ever possible – to a large degree also binary compatible.

Forget about that when your clients are using Nashorn. They’re on their own. A newly introduced overload in your Java API can break your Nashorn clients quite badly. But then again, that’s JavaScript, the language that tells you at runtime that:

['10','10','10','10'].map(parseInt)

… yields

[10, NaN, 2, 3]

… and where

++[[]][+[]]+[+[]] === "10"

yields true! (sources here)

For more information about JavaScript, please visit this introductory tutorial

Java 8 Friday: JavaScript goes SQL with Nashorn and jOOQ

At Data Geekery, we love Java. And as we’re really into jOOQ’s fluent API and query DSL, we’re absolutely thrilled about what Java 8 will bring to our ecosystem.

Java 8 Friday

Every Friday, we’re showing you a couple of nice new tutorial-style Java 8 features, which take advantage of lambda expressions, extension methods, and other great stuff. You’ll find the source code on GitHub.

JavaScript goes SQL with Nashorn and jOOQ

This week, we’ll look into some awesome serverside SQL scripting with Nashorn and Java 8. Only few things can be found on the web regarding the use of JDBC in Nashorn. But why use JDBC and take care of painful resource management and SQL string composition, when you can use jOOQ? Everything works out of the box!

Let’s set up a little sample JavaScript file as such:

var someDatabaseFun = function() {
    var Properties = Java.type("java.util.Properties");
    var Driver = Java.type("org.h2.Driver");

    var driver = new Driver();
    var properties = new Properties();

    properties.setProperty("user", "sa");
    properties.setProperty("password", "");

    try {
        var conn = driver.connect(
            "jdbc:h2:~/test", properties);

        // Database code here
    }
    finally {
        try { 
            if (conn) conn.close();
        } catch (e) {}
    }
}

someDatabaseFun();

This is pretty much all you need to interoperate with JDBC and a H2 database. So we could be running SQL statements with JDBC like so:

try {
    var stmt = conn.prepareStatement(
        "select table_schema, table_name " + 
        "from information_schema.tables");
    var rs = stmt.executeQuery();

    while (rs.next()) {
        print(rs.getString("TABLE_SCHEMA") + "."
            + rs.getString("TABLE_NAME"))
    }
}
finally {
    if (rs)
        try {
            rs.close();
        }
        catch(e) {}

    if (stmt)
        try {
            stmt.close();
        }
        catch(e) {}
}

Most of the bloat is JDBC resource handling as we unfortunately don’t have a try-with-resources statement in JavaScript. The above generates the following output:

INFORMATION_SCHEMA.FUNCTION_COLUMNS
INFORMATION_SCHEMA.CONSTANTS
INFORMATION_SCHEMA.SEQUENCES
INFORMATION_SCHEMA.RIGHTS
INFORMATION_SCHEMA.TRIGGERS
INFORMATION_SCHEMA.CATALOGS
INFORMATION_SCHEMA.CROSS_REFERENCES
INFORMATION_SCHEMA.SETTINGS
INFORMATION_SCHEMA.FUNCTION_ALIASES
INFORMATION_SCHEMA.VIEWS
INFORMATION_SCHEMA.TYPE_INFO
INFORMATION_SCHEMA.CONSTRAINTS
...

Let’s see if we can run the same query using jOOQ:

var DSL = Java.type("org.jooq.impl.DSL");

print(
    DSL.using(conn)
       .fetch("select table_schema, table_name " +
              "from information_schema.tables")
);

This is how you can execute plain SQL statements in jOOQ, with much less bloat than with JDBC. The output is roughly the same:

+------------------+--------------------+
|TABLE_SCHEMA      |TABLE_NAME          |
+------------------+--------------------+
|INFORMATION_SCHEMA|FUNCTION_COLUMNS    |
|INFORMATION_SCHEMA|CONSTANTS           |
|INFORMATION_SCHEMA|SEQUENCES           |
|INFORMATION_SCHEMA|RIGHTS              |
|INFORMATION_SCHEMA|TRIGGERS            |
|INFORMATION_SCHEMA|CATALOGS            |
|INFORMATION_SCHEMA|CROSS_REFERENCES    |
|INFORMATION_SCHEMA|SETTINGS            |
|INFORMATION_SCHEMA|FUNCTION_ALIASES    |
 ...

But jOOQ’s strength is not in its plain SQL capabilities, it lies in the DSL API, which abstracts away all the vendor-specific SQL subtleties and allows you to compose queries (and also DML) fluently. Consider the following SQL statement:

// Let's assume these objects were generated
// by the jOOQ source code generator
var Tables = Java.type(
    "org.jooq.db.h2.information_schema.Tables");
var t = Tables.TABLES;
var c = Tables.COLUMNS;

// This is the equivalent of Java's static imports
var count = DSL.count;
var row = DSL.row;

// We can now execute the following query:
print(
    DSL.using(conn)
       .select(
           t.TABLE_SCHEMA, 
           t.TABLE_NAME, 
           c.COLUMN_NAME)
       .from(t)
       .join(c)
       .on(row(t.TABLE_SCHEMA, t.TABLE_NAME)
           .eq(c.TABLE_SCHEMA, c.TABLE_NAME))
       .orderBy(
           t.TABLE_SCHEMA.asc(),
           t.TABLE_NAME.asc(),
           c.ORDINAL_POSITION.asc())
       .fetch()
);

Note that there is obviously no typesafety in the above query, as this is JavaScript. But I would imagine that the IntelliJ, Eclipse, or NetBeans creators will eventually detect Nashorn dependencies on Java programs, and provide syntax auto-completion and highlighting, as some things can be statically analysed.

Things get even better if you’re using the Java 8 Streams API from Nashorn. Let’s consider the following query:

DSL.using(conn)
   .select(
       t.TABLE_SCHEMA,
       t.TABLE_NAME,
       count().as("CNT"))
   .from(t)
   .join(c)
   .on(row(t.TABLE_SCHEMA, t.TABLE_NAME)
       .eq(c.TABLE_SCHEMA, c.TABLE_NAME))
   .groupBy(t.TABLE_SCHEMA, t.TABLE_NAME)
   .orderBy(
       t.TABLE_SCHEMA.asc(),
       t.TABLE_NAME.asc())

// This fetches a List<Map<String, Object>> as
// your ResultSet representation
   .fetchMaps()

// This is Java 8's standard Collection.stream()
   .stream()

// And now, r is like any other JavaScript object
// or record!
   .forEach(function (r) {
       print(r.TABLE_SCHEMA + '.' 
           + r.TABLE_NAME + ' has ' 
           + r.CNT + ' columns.');
   });

The above generates this output:

INFORMATION_SCHEMA.CATALOGS has 1 columns.
INFORMATION_SCHEMA.COLLATIONS has 2 columns.
INFORMATION_SCHEMA.COLUMNS has 23 columns.
INFORMATION_SCHEMA.COLUMN_PRIVILEGES has 8 columns.
INFORMATION_SCHEMA.CONSTANTS has 7 columns.
INFORMATION_SCHEMA.CONSTRAINTS has 13 columns.
INFORMATION_SCHEMA.CROSS_REFERENCES has 14 columns.
INFORMATION_SCHEMA.DOMAINS has 14 columns.
...

If your database supports arrays, you can even access such array columns by index, e.g.

r.COLUMN_NAME[3]

So, if you’re a server-side JavaScript aficionado, download jOOQ today, and start writing awesome SQL in JavaScript, now! For more Nashorn awesomeness, consider reading this article here.

Stay tuned for more awesome Java 8 content on this blog.