Avoiding Null Anti Patterns
The Easiest way to manage null
Sometimes, the easiest way to manage
null is to not use it.
Java coders tend to acquire the habit of initializing data (attributes & variables) to
This puts them at risk of using a method on the
null object, thus causing an overwhelming runtime exception to be thrown!
It's generally a better idea to use an empty type to initialize data and yield the same results as a null check.
We are frequently tempted to initialize a collection to null to represent the fact that it has not been given any data yet, making it necessary to instantiate it at a later time.
Why not instantiate it straight away?
This will prevent a potential NullPointerException at runtime and free us of the chore to check if it is null before we try to access it. Moreover, every collection has an
isEmpty() method which is as easy to manipulate as anything.
String data types are often initalized to null as well. However, for the exact same reasons, we prefer to use an empty string to replace
If you want to make it as clear as possible, you can declare a constant in your code such as:
public final String EMPTY_STRING = "";
Instead, many coders prefer to use an external library. The Apache Common Lang defines many useful methods for String manipulation, as well as an alias for an empty String.
import org.apache.commons.lang3.StringUtils; public String name = StringUtils.EMPTY;