Adam.J Adam.J - 22 days ago 8
Java Question

In Java streams is peek really only for debugging?

I'm reading up about Java streams and discovering new things as I go along. One of the new things I found was the

peek()
function. Almost everything I've read on peek says it should be used to debug your Streams.

What if I had a Stream where each Account has a username, password field and a login() and loggedIn() method.

I also have

Consumer<Account> login = account -> account.login();


and

Predicate<Account> loggedIn = account -> account.loggedIn();


Why would this be so bad?

List<Account> accounts; //assume it's been setup
List<Account> loggedInAccount =
accounts.stream()
.peek(login)
.filter(loggedIn)
.collect(Collectors.toList());


Now as far as I can tell this does exactly what it's intended to do. It;


  • Takes a list of accounts

  • Tries to log in to each account

  • Filters out any account which aren't logged in

  • Collects the logged in accounts into a new list



What is the downside of doing something like this? Any reason I shouldn't proceed? Lastly, if not this solution then what?

The original version of this used the .filter() method as follows;

.filter(account -> {
account.login();
return account.loggedIn();
})

Answer

The key takeaway from this:

Don't use the API in an unintended way, even if it accomplishes your immediate goal. That approach may break in the future, and it is also unclear to future maintainers.


There is no harm in breaking this out to multiple operations, as they are distinct operations. There is harm in using the API in an unclear and unintended way, which may have ramifications if this particular behavior is modified in future versions of Java.

Using forEach on this operation would make it clear to the maintainer that there is an intended side effect on each element of accounts, and that you are performing some operation that can mutate it.

It's also more conventional in the sense that peek is an intermediate operation which doesn't operate on the entire collection until the terminal operation runs, but forEach is indeed a terminal operation. This way, you can make strong arguments around the behavior and the flow of your code as opposed to asking questions about if peek would behave the same as forEach does in this context.

accounts.forEach(a -> a.login());
List<Account> loggedInAccounts = accounts.stream()
                                         .filter(Account::loggedIn)
                                         .collect(Collectors.toList());
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