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COM.objectspace.jgl.*) is Java's timely and hard-hitting answer to C++'s Standard Template Library (STL).
Unlike other commercial offerings, like Thought Inc.'s Nutmeg library (reviewed by Doug Garrett in the October 1996 issue of Dr.Dobb's Journal), the JGL is free to anyone and is meant to be used for any purpose -- in the same spirit as Sun's Java programming language and Java development kit (JDK). Java developers accustomed to the JDK way of developing (that is, in a non-visual way) will be right at home with the Java Generic Library's distribution approach: the archive contains an excellent and comprehensive HTML-based user guide and API reference manual, pre-compiled .class files (the library itself), 170+ examples on how to use the classes, and, as rich icing on the cake, the complete source code to the entire library!
On the data structures side, JGL makes available a set of Abstract Data Types (ADTs) that are derived from an abstract class
Container -- actually defined as a Java interface. Containers are further sub-categorized into the following (as shown also in Figure
All sequences (containers in which element ordering plays a role) and sets (containers in which element ordering is unimportant)
"descend" from their respective interfaces -- that is,
Set -- which inherit from interface
Container. (Do not confuse the AWT
Container class with JGL's
Container: The two classes are unrelated.)
On the algorithms side, object-oriented inheritance is much less useful, so JGL's algorithms are simply grouped loosely into unrelated classes with names generally ending in -ing. Here are some of the main algorithm classes:
Both groups of classes, data structures, and algorithms, can be coupled together with the help of a host of helper classes: iterator and function classes.
Iterator classes will be familiar to most experienced object-oriented programmers: They are abstract pointers to elements
of abstract data structures. The JGL provides iterator classes not only for each of its
Container classes but also for every native Java array variety and for java.util's
Vector class. JGL lets you use native Java arrays and class
Vector as first-class JGL citizens, via mediating classes called array adapters.