[jdom-interest] XMLOutputter & null pointer exception.

John Interrante jinterra at nycap.rr.com
Thu Aug 17 19:55:02 PDT 2000

I also encountered the XMLOutputter null pointer exception.  I'd been
calling setText("") to "blank out" an element in a JDOM tree that I
got from parsing an XML document.  Then I'd been calling XMLOutputter
to write out the modified XML document.  I ended up having to do this:

//         collNetXiExt.setText(""); // "" causes a NullPointerException
//                                   // when outputting the JDOM tree as XML

Therefore, I want to throw my two cents into this discussion too.
Like everybody else, I'd prefer getText to return "" for each of these


Not only would this have avoided the NullPointer exception in
XMLOutputter, it also avoids having to write extra code to check for a
null return value.  I used to write code using Xerces's DOM and
Xalan's XPath API to parse an XML document and extract specific
elements' values as strings.  XPath ALWAYS returned a string, even if
it was "" because the element was empty, and I found that behaviour
very reasonable and easy to work with.  I think Wes Bigg's point about
there being no way, short of metasemantics like a xsl:null="true"
attribute, to represent a null value in XML sums it up.  


This is problematic for another reason besides requiring support for
the xsl:null="true" attribute.  If you read the Javadoc for the Java 2
List container class, you'll find out that it says List doesn't define
the semantics of what happens if you add a null object to a List.
Some List implementations accept it, some don't.

John Interrante * Niskayuna, NY * GE CR&D, Web & E-Business Solutions

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