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Learning Java, 4th Edition

Cover of Learning Java, 4th Edition by Daniel Leuck... Published by O'Reilly Media, Inc.
  1. Learning Java
  2. Preface
    1. Who Should Read This Book
    2. New Developments
      1. New in This Edition (Java 6 and 7)
    3. Using This Book
    4. Online Resources
    5. Conventions Used in This Book
    6. Using Code Examples
    7. Safari® Books Online
    8. How to Contact Us
    9. Acknowledgments
  3. 1. A Modern Language
    1. Enter Java
      1. Java’s Origins
      2. Growing Up
    2. A Virtual Machine
    3. Java Compared with Other Languages
    4. Safety of Design
      1. Simplify, Simplify, Simplify...
      2. Type Safety and Method Binding
      3. Incremental Development
      4. Dynamic Memory Management
      5. Error Handling
      6. Threads
      7. Scalability
    5. Safety of Implementation
      1. The Verifier
      2. Class Loaders
      3. Security Managers
    6. Application and User-Level Security
    7. A Java Road Map
      1. The Past: Java 1.0–Java 1.6
      2. The Present: Java 7
      3. The Future
      4. Availability
  4. 2. A First Application
    1. Java Tools and Environment
    2. Configuring Eclipse and Creating a Project
      1. Importing the Learning Java Examples
    3. HelloJava
      1. Classes
      2. The main() Method
      3. Classes and Objects
      4. Variables and Class Types
      5. HelloComponent
      6. Inheritance
      7. The JComponent Class
      8. Relationships and Finger Pointing
      9. Package and Imports
      10. The paintComponent() Method
    4. HelloJava2: The Sequel
      1. Instance Variables
      2. Constructors
      3. Events
      4. The repaint() Method
      5. Interfaces
    5. HelloJava3: The Button Strikes!
      1. Method Overloading
      2. Components
      3. Containers
      4. Layout
      5. Subclassing and Subtypes
      6. More Events and Interfaces
      7. Color Commentary
      8. Static Members
      9. Arrays
      10. Our Color Methods
    6. HelloJava4: Netscape’s Revenge
      1. Threads
      2. The Thread Class
      3. The Runnable Interface
      4. Starting the Thread
      5. Running Code in the Thread
      6. Exceptions
      7. Synchronization
  5. 3. Tools of the Trade
    1. JDK Environment
    2. The Java VM
    3. Running Java Applications
      1. System Properties
    4. The Classpath
      1. javap
    5. The Java Compiler
    6. JAR Files
      1. File Compression
      2. The jar Utility
      3. The pack200 Utility
    7. Policy Files
      1. The Default Security Manager
      2. The policytool Utility
      3. Using a Policy File with the Default Security Manager
  6. 4. The Java Language
    1. Text Encoding
      1. Javadoc Comments
    3. Types
      1. Primitive Types
      2. Reference Types
      3. A Word About Strings
    4. Statements and Expressions
      1. Statements
      2. Expressions
    5. Exceptions
      1. Exceptions and Error Classes
      2. Exception Handling
      3. Bubbling Up
      4. Stack Traces
      5. Checked and Unchecked Exceptions
      6. Throwing Exceptions
      7. try Creep
      8. The finally Clause
      9. Try with Resources
      10. Performance Issues
    6. Assertions
      1. Enabling and Disabling Assertions
      2. Using Assertions
    7. Arrays
      1. Array Types
      2. Array Creation and Initialization
      3. Using Arrays
      4. Anonymous Arrays
      5. Multidimensional Arrays
      6. Inside Arrays
  7. 5. Objects in Java
    1. Classes
      1. Accessing Fields and Methods
      2. Static Members
    2. Methods
      1. Local Variables
      2. Shadowing
      3. Static Methods
      4. Initializing Local Variables
      5. Argument Passing and References
      6. Wrappers for Primitive Types
      7. Autoboxing and Unboxing of Primitives
      8. Variable-Length Argument Lists
      9. Method Overloading
    3. Object Creation
      1. Constructors
      2. Working with Overloaded Constructors
      3. Static and Nonstatic Initializer Blocks
    4. Object Destruction
      1. Garbage Collection
      2. Finalization
      3. Weak and Soft References
    5. Enumerations
      1. Enum Values
      2. Customizing Enumerations
  8. 6. Relationships Among Classes
    1. Subclassing and Inheritance
      1. Shadowed Variables
      2. Overriding Methods
      3. Special References: this and super
      4. Casting
      5. Using Superclass Constructors
      6. Full Disclosure: Constructors and Initialization
      7. Abstract Methods and Classes
    2. Interfaces
      1. Interfaces as Callbacks
      2. Interface Variables
      3. Subinterfaces
    3. Packages and Compilation Units
      1. Compilation Units
      2. Package Names
      3. Class Visibility
      4. Importing Classes
    4. Visibility of Variables and Methods
      1. Basic Access Modifiers
      2. Subclasses and Visibility
      3. Interfaces and Visibility
    5. Arrays and the Class Hierarchy
      1. ArrayStoreException
    6. Inner Classes
      1. Inner Classes as Adapters
      2. Inner Classes Within Methods
  9. 7. Working with Objects and Classes
    1. The Object Class
      1. Equality and Equivalence
      2. Hashcodes
      3. Cloning Objects
    2. The Class Class
    3. Reflection
      1. Modifiers and Security
      2. Accessing Fields
      3. Accessing Methods
      4. Accessing Constructors
      5. What About Arrays?
      6. Accessing Generic Type Information
      7. Accessing Annotation Data
      8. Dynamic Interface Adapters
      9. What Is Reflection Good For?
    4. Annotations
      1. Using Annotations
      2. Standard Annotations
      3. The apt Tool
  10. 8. Generics
    1. Containers: Building a Better Mousetrap
      1. Can Containers Be Fixed?
    2. Enter Generics
      1. Talking About Types
    3. “There Is No Spoon”
      1. Erasure
      2. Raw Types
    4. Parameterized Type Relationships
      1. Why Isn’t a List<Date> a List<Object>?
    5. Casts
    6. Writing Generic Classes
      1. The Type Variable
      2. Subclassing Generics
      3. Exceptions and Generics
      4. Parameter Type Limitations
    7. Bounds
      1. Erasure and Bounds (Working with Legacy Code)
    8. Wildcards
      1. A Supertype of All Instantiations
      2. Bounded Wildcards
      3. Thinking Outside the Container
      4. Lower Bounds
      5. Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic
      6. <?>, <Object>, and the Raw Type
      7. Wildcard Type Relationships
    9. Generic Methods
      1. Generic Methods Introduced
      2. Type Inference from Arguments
      3. Type Inference from Assignment Context
      4. Explicit Type Invocation
      5. Wildcard Capture
      6. Wildcard Types Versus Generic Methods
    10. Arrays of Parameterized Types
      1. Using Array Types
      2. What Good Are Arrays of Generic Types?
      3. Wildcards in Array Types
    11. Case Study: The Enum Class
    12. Case Study: The sort() Method
    13. Conclusion
  11. 9. Threads
    1. Introducing Threads
      1. The Thread Class and the Runnable Interface
      2. Controlling Threads
      3. Death of a Thread
    2. Threading an Applet
      1. Issues Lurking
    3. Synchronization
      1. Serializing Access to Methods
      2. Accessing class and instance Variables from Multiple Threads
      3. The wait() and notify() Methods
      4. Passing Messages
      5. ThreadLocal Objects
    4. Scheduling and Priority
      1. Thread State
      2. Time-Slicing
      3. Priorities
      4. Yielding
    5. Thread Groups
      1. Working with ThreadGroups
      2. Uncaught Exceptions
    6. Thread Performance
      1. The Cost of Synchronization
      2. Thread Resource Consumption
    7. Concurrency Utilities
      1. Executors
      2. Locks
      3. Synchronization Constructs
      4. Atomic Operations
    8. Conclusion
  12. 10. Working with Text
    1. Text-Related APIs
    2. Strings
      1. Constructing Strings
      2. Strings from Things
      3. Comparing Strings
      4. Searching
      5. Editing
      6. String Method Summary
      7. StringBuilder and StringBuffer
    3. Internationalization
      1. The java.util.Locale Class
      2. Resource Bundles
    4. Parsing and Formatting Text
      1. Parsing Primitive Numbers
      2. Tokenizing Text
    5. Printf-Style Formatting
      1. Formatter
      2. The Format String
      3. String Conversions
      4. Primitive and Numeric Conversions
      5. Flags
      6. Miscellaneous
    6. Formatting with the java.text Package
      1. MessageFormat
    7. Regular Expressions
      1. Regex Notation
      2. The java.util.regex API
  13. 11. Core Utilities
    1. Math Utilities
      1. The java.lang.Math Class
      2. Big/Precise Numbers
      3. Floating-Point Components
      4. Random Numbers
    2. Dates and Times
      1. Working with Calendars
      2. Time Zones
      3. Parsing and Formatting with DateFormat
      4. Printf-Style Date and Time Formatting
    3. Timers
    4. Collections
      1. The Collection Interface
      2. Iterator
      3. Collection Types
      4. The Map Interface
      5. Collection Implementations
      6. Hash Codes and Key Values
      7. Synchronized and Unsynchronized Collections
      8. Read-Only and Read-Mostly Collections
      9. WeakHashMap
      10. EnumSet and EnumMap
      11. Sorting Collections
      12. A Thrilling Example
    5. Properties
      1. Loading and Storing
      2. System Properties
    6. The Preferences API
      1. Preferences for Classes
      2. Preferences Storage
      3. Change Notification
    7. The Logging API
      1. Overview
      2. Logging Levels
      3. A Simple Example
      4. Logging Setup Properties
      5. The Logger
      6. Performance
    8. Observers and Observables
  14. 12. Input/Output Facilities
    1. Streams
      1. Basic I/O
      2. Character Streams
      3. Stream Wrappers
      4. Pipes
      5. Streams from Strings and Back
      6. Implementing a Filter Stream
    2. File I/O
      1. The Class
      2. File Streams
      3. RandomAccessFile
      4. Resource Paths
    3. The NIO File API
      1. FileSystem and Path
      2. NIO File Operations
      3. Directory Operations
      4. Watching Paths
    4. Serialization
      1. Initialization with readObject()
      2. SerialVersionUID
    5. Data Compression
      1. Archives and Compressed Data
      2. Decompressing Data
      3. Zip Archive As a Filesystem
    6. The NIO Package
      1. Asynchronous I/O
      2. Performance
      3. Mapped and Locked Files
      4. Channels
      5. Buffers
      6. Character Encoders and Decoders
      7. FileChannel
      8. Scalable I/O with NIO
  15. 13. Network Programming
    1. Sockets
      1. Clients and Servers
      2. author="pat” timestamp="20120926T110720-0500” comment="one of those sections I hate to get rid of but is less relevant in terms of the example... should probably find a more modern example...”The DateAtHost Client
      3. The TinyHttpd Server
      4. Socket Options
      5. Proxies and Firewalls
    2. Datagram Sockets
      1. author="pat” timestamp="20120926T141346-0500” comment="I actually rewrote this as a standalone client but then decided to leave it as an applet”The HeartBeat Applet
      2. InetAddress
    3. Simple Serialized Object Protocols
      1. A Simple Object-Based Server
    4. Remote Method Invocation
      1. Real-World Usage
      2. Remote and Nonremote Objects
      3. An RMI Example
      4. RMI and CORBA
    5. Scalable I/O with NIO
      1. Selectable Channels
      2. Using Select
      3. LargerHttpd
      4. Nonblocking Client-Side Operations
  16. 14. Programming for the Web
    1. Uniform Resource Locators (URLs)
    2. The URL Class
      1. Stream Data
      2. Getting the Content as an Object
      3. Managing Connections
      4. Handlers in Practice
      5. Useful Handler Frameworks
    3. Talking to Web Applications
      1. Using the GET Method
      2. Using the POST Method
      3. The HttpURLConnection
      4. SSL and Secure Web Communications
      5. URLs, URNs, and URIs
    4. Web Services
      1. XML-RPC
      2. WSDL
      3. The Tools
      4. The Weather Service Client
  17. 15. Web Applications and Web Services
    1. Web Application Technologies
      1. Page-Oriented Versus “Single Page” Applications
      2. JSPs
      3. XML and XSL
      4. Web Application Frameworks
      5. Google Web Toolkit
      6. HTML5, AJAX, and More...
    2. Java Web Applications
      1. The Servlet Lifecycle
      2. Servlets
      3. The HelloClient Servlet
      4. The Servlet Response
      5. Servlet Parameters
      6. The ShowParameters Servlet
      7. User Session Management
      8. The ShowSession Servlet
      9. The ShoppingCart Servlet
      10. Cookies
      11. The ServletContext API
      12. Asynchronous Servlets
    3. WAR Files and Deployment
      1. Configuration with web.xml and Annotations
      2. URL Pattern Mappings
      3. Deploying HelloClient
      4. Error and Index Pages
      5. Security and Authentication
      6. Protecting Resources with Roles
      7. Secure Data Transport
      8. Authenticating Users
      9. Procedural Authorization
    4. Servlet Filters
      1. A Simple Filter
      2. A Test Servlet
      3. Declaring and Mapping Filters
      4. Filtering the Servlet Request
      5. Filtering the Servlet Response
    5. Building WAR Files with Ant
      1. A Development-Oriented Directory Layout
      2. Deploying and Redeploying WARs with Ant
    6. Implementing Web Services
      1. Defining the Service
      2. Our Echo Service
      3. Using the Service
      4. Data Types
    7. Conclusion
  18. 16. Swing
    1. Components
      1. Peers and Look-and-Feel
      2. The MVC Framework
      3. Painting
      4. Enabling and Disabling Components
      5. Focus, Please
      6. Other Component Methods
      7. Layout Managers
      8. Insets
      9. Z-Ordering (Stacking Components)
      10. The revalidate() and doLayout() Methods
      11. Managing Components
      12. Listening for Components
      13. Windows, Frames and Splash Screens
      14. Other Methods for Controlling Frames
      15. Content Panes
      16. Desktop Integration
    2. Events
      1. Event Receivers and Listener Interfaces
      2. Event Sources
      3. Event Delivery
      4. Event Types
      5. The java.awt.event.InputEvent Class
      6. Mouse and Key Modifiers on InputEvents
      7. Focus Events
    3. Event Summary
      1. Adapter Classes
      2. Dummy Adapters
    4. The AWT Robot!
    5. Multithreading in Swing
  19. 17. Using Swing Components
    1. Buttons and Labels
      1. HTML Text in Buttons and Labels
    2. Checkboxes and Radio Buttons
    3. Lists and Combo Boxes
    4. The Spinner
    5. Borders
    6. Menus
    7. Pop-Up Menus
      1. Component-Managed Pop Ups
    8. The JScrollPane Class
    9. The JSplitPane Class
    10. The JTabbedPane Class
    11. Scrollbars and Sliders
    12. Dialogs
      1. File Selection Dialog
      2. The Color Chooser
  20. 18. More Swing Components
    1. Text Components
      1. The TextEntryBox Application
      2. Formatted Text
      3. Filtering Input
      4. Validating Data
      5. Say the Magic Word
      6. Sharing a Data Model
      7. HTML and RTF for Free
      8. Managing Text Yourself
    2. Focus Navigation
      1. Trees
      2. Nodes and Models
      3. Save a Tree
      4. Tree Events
      5. A Complete Example
    3. Tables
      1. A First Stab: Freeloading
      2. Round Two: Creating a Table Model
      3. Round Three: A Simple Spreadsheet
      4. Sorting and Filtering
      5. Printing JTables
    4. Desktops
    5. Pluggable Look-and-Feel
    6. Creating Custom Components
      1. Generating Events
      2. A Dial Component
      3. Model and View Separation
  21. 19. Layout Managers
    1. FlowLayout
    2. GridLayout
    3. BorderLayout
    4. BoxLayout
    5. CardLayout
    6. GridBagLayout
      1. The GridBagConstraints Class
      2. Grid Coordinates
      3. The fill Constraint
      4. Spanning Rows and Columns
      5. Weighting
      6. Anchoring
      7. Padding and Insets
      8. Relative Positioning
      9. Composite Layouts
    7. Other Layout Managers
    8. Absolute Positioning
  22. 20. Drawing with the 2D API
    1. The Big Picture
    2. The Rendering Pipeline
    3. A Quick Tour of Java 2D
      1. Filling Shapes
      2. Drawing Shape Outlines
      3. Convenience Methods
      4. Drawing Text
      5. Drawing Images
      6. The Whole Iguana
    4. Filling Shapes
      1. Solid Colors
      2. Color Gradients
      3. Textures
      4. Desktop Colors
    5. Stroking Shape Outlines
    6. Using Fonts
      1. Font Metrics
    7. Displaying Images
      1. The Image Class
      2. Image Observers
      3. Scaling and Size
    8. Drawing Techniques
      1. Double Buffering
      2. Limiting Drawing with Clipping
      3. Offscreen Drawing
    9. Printing
  23. 21. Working with Images and Other Media
    1. Loading Images
      1. ImageObserver
      2. MediaTracker
      3. ImageIcon
      4. ImageIO
    2. Producing Image Data
      1. Drawing Animations
      2. BufferedImage Anatomy
      3. Color Models
      4. Creating an Image
      5. Updating a BufferedImage
    3. Filtering Image Data
      1. How ImageProcessor Works
      2. Converting an Image to a BufferedImage
      3. Using the RescaleOp Class
      4. Using the AffineTransformOp Class
    4. Saving Image Data
    5. Simple Audio
    6. Java Media Framework
  24. 22. JavaBeans
    1. What’s a Bean?
      1. What Constitutes a Bean?
    2. The NetBeans IDE
      1. Installing and Running NetBeans
    3. Properties and Customizers
    4. Event Hookups and Adapters
      1. Taming the Juggler
      2. Molecular Motion
    5. Binding Properties
      1. Constraining Properties
    6. Building Beans
      1. The Dial Bean
      2. Design Patterns for Properties
    7. Limitations of Visual Design
    8. Serialization Versus Code Generation
    9. Customizing with BeanInfo
      1. Getting Properties Information
    10. Handcoding with Beans
      1. Bean Instantiation and Type Management
      2. Working with Serialized Beans
      3. Runtime Event Hookups with Reflection
    11. BeanContext and BeanContextServices
    12. The Java Activation Framework
    13. Enterprise JavaBeans and POJO-Based Enterprise Frameworks
  25. 23. Applets
    1. The Politics of Browser-Based Applications
    2. Applet Support and the Java Plug-in
    3. The JApplet Class
      1. Applet Lifecycle
      2. The Applet Security Sandbox
      3. Getting Applet Resources
      4. The <applet> Tag
      5. Attributes
      6. Parameters
      7. ¿Habla Applet?
      8. The Complete <applet> Tag
      9. Loading Class Files
      10. Packages
      11. appletviewer
    4. Java Web Start
    5. Conclusion
  26. 24. XML
    1. The Butler Did It
    2. A Bit of Background
      1. Text Versus Binary
      2. A Universal Parser
      3. The State of XML
      4. The XML APIs
      5. XML and Web Browsers
    3. XML Basics
      1. Attributes
      2. XML Documents
      3. Encoding
      4. Namespaces
      5. Validation
      6. HTML to XHTML
    4. SAX
      1. The SAX API
      2. Building a Model Using SAX
      3. XMLEncoder/Decoder
    5. DOM
      1. The DOM API
      2. Test-Driving DOM
      3. Generating XML with DOM
      4. JDOM
    6. XPath
      1. Nodes
      2. Predicates
      3. Functions
      4. The XPath API
      5. XMLGrep
    7. XInclude
      1. Enabling XInclude
    8. Validating Documents
      1. Using Document Validation
      2. DTDs
      3. XML Schema
      4. The Validation API
    9. JAXB Code Binding and Generation
      1. Annotating Our Model
      2. Generating a Java Model from an XML Schema
      3. Generating an XML Schema from a Java Model
    10. Transforming Documents with XSL/XSLT
      1. XSL Basics
      2. Transforming the Zoo Inventory
      3. XSLTransform
      4. XSL in the Browser
    11. Web Services
    12. The End of the Book
  27. A. The Eclipse IDE
    1. The IDE Wars
    2. Getting Started with Eclipse
      1. Importing the Learning Java Examples
    3. Using Eclipse
      1. Getting at the Source
      2. The Lay of the Land
      3. Running the Examples
      4. Building the Ant-Based Examples
      5. Loner Examples
    4. Eclipse Features
      1. Coding Shortcuts
      2. Autocorrection
      3. Refactoring
      4. Diffing Files
      5. Organizing Imports
      6. Formatting Source Code
    5. Conclusion
  28. B. BeanShell: Java Scripting
    1. Running BeanShell
    2. Java Statements and Expressions
      1. Imports
    3. BeanShell Commands
    4. Scripted Methods and Objects
      1. Scripting Interfaces and Adapters
    5. Changing the Classpath
    6. Learning More . . .
  29. Glossary
  30. Index
  31. About the Authors
  32. Colophon
  33. Copyright
O'Reilly logo

The Logging API

The java.util.logging package provides a highly flexible and easy-to-use logging framework for system information, error messages, and fine-grained tracing (debugging) output. With the logging package, you can apply filters to select log messages, direct their output to one or more destinations (including files and network services), and format the messages appropriately for their consumers.

Most importantly, much of this basic logging configuration can be set up externally at runtime through the use of a logging setup properties file or an external program. For example, by setting the right properties at runtime, you can specify that log messages are to be sent both to a designated file in XML format and also logged to the system console in a digested, human-readable form. Furthermore, for each of those destinations, you can specify the level or priority of messages to be logged, discarding those below a certain threshold of significance. By following the correct source conventions in your code, you can even make it possible to adjust the logging levels for specific parts of your application, allowing you to target individual packages and classes for detailed logging without being overwhelmed by too much output. The Logging API can even be controlled remotely via Java Management Extensions MBean APIs.


Any good logging API must have at least two guiding principles. First, performance should not inhibit the developer from using log messages freely. As with Java language assertions (discussed in Chapter 4), when log messages are turned off, they should not consume any significant amount of processing time. This means that there’s no performance penalty for including logging statements as long as they’re turned off. Second, although some users may want advanced features and configuration, a logging API must have some simple mode of usage that is convenient enough for time-starved developers to use in lieu of the old standby System.out.println(). Java’s Logging API provides a simple model and many convenience methods that make it very tempting.


The heart of the logging framework is the logger, an instance of java.util.logging.Logger. In most cases, this is the only class your code will ever have to deal with. A logger is constructed from the static Logger.getLogger() method, with a logger name as its argument. Logger names place loggers into a hierarchy with a global, root logger at the top and a tree and children below. This hierarchy allows the configuration to be inherited by parts of the tree so that logging can be automatically configured for different parts of your application. The convention is to use a separate logger instance in each major class or package and to use the dot-separated package and/or class name as the logger name. For example:

    package com.oreilly.learnjava;
    public class Book {
        static Logger log = Logger.getLogger("com.oreilly.learnjava.Book");

The logger provides a wide range of methods to log messages; some take very detailed information, and some convenience methods take only a string for ease of use. For example:

    log.warning("Disk 90% full.");"New user joined chat room.");

We cover methods of the logger class in detail a bit later. The names warning and info are two examples of logging levels; there are seven levels ranging from SEVERE at the top to FINEST at the bottom. Distinguishing log messages in this way allows us to select the level of information that we want to see at runtime. Rather than simply logging everything and sorting through it later (with negative performance impact) we can tweak which messages are generated. We’ll talk more about logging levels in the next section.

We should also mention that for convenience in very simple applications or experiments, a logger for the name “global” is provided in the static field You can use it as an alternative to the old standby System.out.println() for those cases where that is still a temptation:"Doing foo...")


Loggers represent the client interface to the logging system, but the actual work of publishing messages to destinations (such as files or the console) is done by handler objects. Each logger may have one or more Handler objects associated with it, which includes several predefined handlers supplied with the Logging API: ConsoleHandler, FileHandler, StreamHandler, and SocketHandler. Each handler knows how to deliver messages to its respective destination. ConsoleHandler is used by the default configuration to print messages on the command line or system console. FileHandler can direct output to files using a supplied naming convention and automatically rotate the files as they become full. The others send messages to streams and sockets, respectively. There is one additional handler, MemoryHandler, that can hold a number of log messages in memory. MemoryHandler has a circular buffer, which maintains a certain number of messages until it is triggered to publish them to another designated handler.

As we said, loggers can be set to use one or more handlers. Loggers also send messages up the tree to each of their parent logger’s handlers. In the simplest configuration, this means that all messages end up distributed by the root logger’s handlers. We’ll soon see how to set up output using the standard handlers for the console, files, etc.


Before a logger hands off a message to its handlers or its parent’s handlers, it first checks whether the logging level is sufficient to proceed. If the message doesn’t meet the required level, it is discarded at the source. In addition to level, you can implement arbitrary filtering of messages by creating Filter classes that examine the log message before it is processed. A Filter class can be applied to a logger externally at runtime in the same way that the logging level, handlers, and formatters, which are discussed next, can be. A Filter may also be attached to an individual Handler to filter records at the output stage (as opposed to the source).


Internally, messages are carried in a neutral format, including all the source information provided. It is not until they are processed by a handler that they are formatted for output by an instance of a Formatter object. The logging package comes with two basic formatters: SimpleFormatter and XMLFormatter. The SimpleFormatter is the default used for console output. It produces short, human-readable summaries of log messages. XMLFormatter encodes all the log message details into an XML record format. The DTD for the format can be found at

Logging Levels

Table 11-9 lists the logging levels from most to least significant.

Table 11-9. Logging API logging levels




Application failure


Notification of potential problem


Messages of general interest to end users


Detailed system configuration information for administrators




Successively more detailed application tracing information for developers

These levels fall into three camps: end user, administrator, and developer. Applications often default to logging only messages of the INFO level and above (INFO, WARNING, and SEVERE). These levels are generally seen by end users and messages logged to them should be suitable for general consumption. In other words, they should be written clearly so they make sense to an average user of the application. Often these kinds of messages are presented to the end user on a system console or in a pop-up message dialog.

The CONFIG level should be used for relatively static but detailed system information that could assist an administrator or installer. This might include information about the installed software modules, host system characteristics, and configuration parameters. These details are important, but probably not as meaningful to an end user.

The FINE, FINER, and FINEST levels are for developers or others with knowledge of the internals of the application. These should be used for tracing the application at successive levels of detail. You can define your own meanings for these. We’ll suggest a rough outline in our example, coming up next.

A Simple Example

In the following (admittedly very contrived) example, we use all the logging levels so that we can experiment with logging configuration. Although the sequence of messages is nonsensical, the text is representative of messages of that type.

    import java.util.logging.*;

    public class LogTest {
        public static void main(String argv[])
            Logger logger = Logger.getLogger("com.oreilly.LogTest");

            logger.severe("Power lost - running on backup!");
            logger.warning("Database connection lost, retrying...");
  "Startup complete.");
            logger.config("Server configuration: standalone, JVM version 1.5");
            logger.fine("Loading graphing package.");
            logger.finer("Doing pie chart");
            logger.finest("Starting bubble sort: value ="+42);

There’s not much to this example. We ask for a logger instance for our class using the static Logger.getLogger() method, specifying a class name. The convention is to use the fully qualified class name, so we’ll pretend that our class is in a com.oreilly package.

Now, run LogTest. You should see output like the following on the system console:

    Jan 6, 2002 3:24:36 PM LogTest main
    SEVERE: Power lost - running on backup!
    Jan 6, 2002 3:24:37 PM LogTest main
    WARNING: Database connection lost, retrying...
    Jan 6, 2002 3:24:37 PM LogTest main
    INFO: Startup complete.

We see the INFO, WARNING, and SEVERE messages, each identified with a date and timestamp and the name of the class and method (LogTest main) from which they came. Notice that the lower-level messages did not appear. This is because the default logging level is normally set to INFO, meaning that only messages of severity INFO and above are logged. Also note that the output went to the system console and not to a logfile somewhere; that’s also the default. Now we’ll describe where these defaults are set and how to override them at runtime.

Logging Setup Properties

As we said in the introduction, probably the most important feature of the Logging API is the ability to configure so much of it at runtime through the use of external properties or applications. The default logging configuration is stored in the file jre/lib/ in the directory where Java is installed. It’s a standard Java properties file (of the kind we described earlier in this chapter).

The format of this file is simple. You can make changes to it, but you don’t have to. Instead, you can specify your own logging setup properties file on a case-by-case basis using a system property at runtime, as follows:

    % java

In this command line, myfile is your properties file that contains the directive, which we’ll describe next. If you want to make this file designation more permanent, you can do so by setting the filename in the corresponding entry using the Java Preferences API described earlier in this chapter. You can go even further and instead of specifying a setup file, supply a class that is responsible for setting up all logging configuration, but we won’t get into that here.

A very simple logging properties file might look like this:

    # Set the default logging level
    .level = FINEST
    # Direct output to the console
    handlers = java.util.logging.ConsoleHandler

Here, we have set the default logging level for the entire application using the .level (that’s dot-level) property. We have also used the handlers property to specify that an instance of the ConsoleHandler should be used (just like the default setup) to show messages on the console. If you run our application again, specifying this properties file as the logging setup, you will now see all our log messages.

But we’re just getting warmed up. Next, let’s look at a more complex configuration:

    # Set the default logging level
    .level = INFO

    # Ouput to file and console
    handlers = java.util.logging.FileHandler, java.util.logging.ConsoleHandler

    # Configure the file output
    java.util.logging.FileHandler.level = FINEST
    java.util.logging.FileHandler.pattern = %h/Test.log
    java.util.logging.FileHandler.limit = 25000
    java.util.logging.FileHandler.count = 4
    java.util.logging.FileHandler.formatter = java.util.logging.XMLFormatter

    # Configure the console output
    java.util.logging.ConsoleHandler.level = WARNING

    # Levels for specific classes
    com.oreilly.LogTest.level = FINEST

In this example, we have configured two log handlers: a ConsoleHandler with the logging level set to WARNING and also an instance of FileHandler that sends the output to an XML file. The file handler is configured to log messages at the FINEST level (all messages) and to rotate logfiles every 25,000 lines, keeping a maximum of four files.

The filename is controlled by the pattern property. Forward slashes in the filename are automatically localized to backslash (\) if necessary. The special symbol %h refers to the user home. You can use %t to refer to the system temporary directory. If filenames conflict, a number is appended automatically after a dot (starting at zero). Alternatively, you can use %u to indicate where a unique number should be inserted into the name. Similarly, when files rotate, a number is appended after a dot at the end. You can take control of where the rotation number is placed with the %g identifier.

In our example, we specified the XMLFormatter class. We could also have used the SimpleFormatter class to send the same kind of simple output to the console. The ConsoleHandler also allows us to specify any formatter we wish, using the formatter property.

Finally, we promised earlier that you could control logging levels for parts of your applications. To do this, set properties on your application loggers using their hierarchical names:

    # Levels for specific logger (class) names
    com.oreilly.LogTest.level = FINEST

Here, we’ve set the logging level for just our test logger, by name. The log properties follow the hierarchy, so we could set the logging level for all classes in the oreilly package with:

    com.oreilly.level = FINEST

Logging levels are set in the order in which they are read in the properties file, so set the general ones first. Also note that the levels set on the handlers allow the file handler to filter only the messages being supplied by the loggers. So setting the file handler to FINEST won’t revive messages squelched by a logger set to SEVERE (only the SEVERE messages will make it to the handler from that logger).

The Logger

In our example, we used the seven convenience methods named for the various logging levels. There are also three groups of general methods that can be used to provide more detailed information. The most general are:

    log(Level level, String msg)
    log(Level level, String msg, Object param1)
    log(Level level, String msg, Object params[])
    log(Level level, String msg, Throwable thrown)

These methods accept as their first argument a static logging level identifier from the Level class, followed by a parameter, array, or exception type. The level identifier is one of Level.SEVERE, Level.WARNING, Level.INFO, and so on.

In addition to these four methods, there are four corresponding methods named logp() that also take a source class and method name as the second and third arguments. In our example, we saw Java automatically determine that information, so why would we want to supply it? The answer is that Java may not always be able to determine the exact method name because of runtime dynamic optimization. The p in logp stands for “precise” and allows you to control this yourself.

There is yet another set of methods named logrb()—which probably should have been named logprb()—that take both the class and method names and a resource bundle name. The resource bundle localizes the messages (see the section Resource Bundles in Chapter 10). More generally, a logger may have a resource bundle associated with it when it is created, using another form of the getLogger method:

    Logger.getLogger("com.oreilly.LogTest", "logMessages");

In either case, the resource bundle name is passed along with the log message and can be used by the formatter. If a resource bundle is specified, the standard formatters treat the message text as a key and try to look up a localized message. Localized messages may include parameters using the standard message format notation and the form of log(), which accepts an argument array.

Finally, there are convenience methods called entering(), exiting(), and throwing() that developers can use to log detailed trace information.


In the introduction, we said that performance is a priority of the Logging API. To that end we’ve described that log messages are filtered at the source, using logging levels to cut off processing of messages early. This saves much of the expense of handling them. However, it cannot prevent certain kinds of setup work that you might do before the logging call. Specifically, because we’re passing things into the log methods, it’s common to construct detailed messages or render objects to strings as arguments. Often this kind of operation is costly. To avoid unnecessary string construction, you should wrap expensive log operations in a conditional test using the Logger isLoggable() method to test whether you should carry out the operation:

    if ( log.isLoggable( Level.CONFIG ) ) {
        log.config("Configuration: "+ loadExpensiveConfigInfo() );

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