Bad Horse Bad Horse - 7 months ago 33
Java Question

Java: Good way to encapsulate Integer.parseInt()

I have a project in which we often use

to convert a String to an int. When something goes wrong (for example, the
is not a number but the letter
, or whatever) this method will throw an exception. However, if I have to handle exceptions in my code everywhere, this starts to look very ugly very quickly. I would like to put this in a method, however, I have no clue how to return a clean value in order to show that the conversion went wrong.

In C++ I could have created a method that accepted a pointer to an int and let the method itself return true or false. However, as far as I know, this is not possible in Java. I could also create an object that contains a true/false variable and the converted value, but this does not seem ideal either. The same thing goes for a global value, and this might give me some trouble with multithreading.

So is there a clean way to do this?


You could return an Integer instead of an int, returning null on parse failure.

It's a shame Java doesn't provide a way of doing this without there being an exception thrown internally though - you can hide the exception (by catching it and returning null), but it could still be a performance issue if you're parsing hundreds of thousands of bits of user-provided data.

EDIT: Code for such a method:

public static Integer tryParse(String text) {
  try {
    return Integer.parseInt(text);
  } catch (NumberFormatException e) {
    return null;

Note that I'm not sure off the top of my head what this will do if text is null. You should consider that - if it represents a bug (i.e. your code may well pass an invalid value, but should never pass null) then throwing an exception is appropriate; if it doesn't represent a bug then you should probably just return null as you would for any other invalid value.

Originally this answer used the new Integer(String) constructor; it now uses Integer.parseInt and a boxing operation; in this way small values will end up being boxed to cached Integer objects, making it more efficient in those situations.