Monday, 5 November 2007

FlatPack 3.1.1. is released.

FlatPack 3.1.1. is released.

It is a simple bug fix release:

  • [1818818] ClassCastException when accessing header or trailer records.

  • Fixed bug in delimited parse when using Reader for data and map. Parameters were being reversed in the code.

  • [1811210] When parsing multi-line delimited files, blank lines inside the elements were being removed from the result of the parse. Blank lines inside a delimited element were also causing a StringIndexOutOfBoundsException.

Released on maven Repositories:


Paul & Benoit.

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

J2EE and Swing Jobs @ ObjectLab London.

Hi All,

Does this qualify as "ObjectLab Open Source News"? may be not exactly... it is simply ObjectLab News, so sorry in advance:

ObjectLab Financial recently launched its global portfolio financing product; we’re in the final phases of rolling out Release 1.0 to our first client and already have several additional leads.

As such, we are recruiting and have 2 positions in London:
• A proficient J2EE Developer: JDK 5, EJB/POJOs, Spring, Hibernate, JBoss, Mule, JMS, ActiveMQ, XML, JAXB etc

• A proficient Swing Developer: JDK 5, Swing, Spring 2 (Spring Rich Client a plus), Jasper Reports, etc

Both roles should attract dedicated, hardworking developers looking for a challenging and rewarding job opportunity. Working in a small, delivery-focused team, you’ll have the chance to use your skills and knowledge, to find the best solutions to the challenges presented, as well as shaping the future of a new company with a great product!

We will offer a competitive package that will be complemented with performance related bonuses (including stock options).

Feel free pass onto experienced Java Developers that would fit the requirements.

Please use the links to contact us more privately.

Many thanks


Sunday, 30 September 2007

FlatPack 3.1.0 released with Mule Contribution

Second post in 3 days... wow! Things are happening!

We are pleased to announce release 3.1.0 of FlatPack for Java 1.4+.

FlatPack is the new name for PZFileReader as the project has outgrown the initial scope of reading files...

Open Source flat file parser (CSV, Fixed Length, Custom) using XML to configure formats.

This is an important release with a new name and package structure. Users of previous version should find it easy to migrate as most classes have kept their original name.

A major development is the experimental release of writers for exporting DataSets. We would like to thank Dirk and Holger from the Mule Project for their kind contribution to FlatPack. We're looking forward to the result of using FlatPack in Mule, a great Open Source ESB.

This release also adds a few convenience methods on a DataSet and the Parser classes, fixes a couple of bugs.
More on changes at:

FlatPack is released under the business friendly Apache License v2.0.

The library is small, lightweight and does not force you to adopt a framework.

The implementation is useful to any business that deal with flat files. Not only can it parse very quickly some CSV or any-user defined delimiter, this library can parse FIXED LENGTH files.

The library allow you to define an XML mapping (or in a database) of the format of your file. Once this is done, the parsed data can be accessed via a simple name lookup mechanism.

It is our aim to publish at some point some well know file formats for your immediate use. Please contribute if you have some standard files...

It is available for download via SourceForge or the Maven Central Repository (both Maven 1 and Maven 2). The homepage has some very quick examples.

Maven Repositories:

ObjectLab is not new to the open-source community having used numerous OS projects, It has recently launched the ObjectLab Kit family, including:
- QALab (, a tool that keeps track over-time of the static analysis results from FindBugs, Checkstyle, PMD, Cobertura etc.
- DateCalculators (, a set of generic lightweight and thread-safe Date calculators for Business and Finance.
- JTreeMap, (, probably the only Java Open Source implementation of treemap/heatmaps, available as a Swing or SWT component.
- StatSVN, (, statistics for your Subversion repo.

We would like to thanks our friends and colleagues for their help, reviews and suggestions.

Sorry for the long post...

Feel free to pass on to people who may be interested.


Paul Zepernick and Benoit Xhenseval

Friday, 28 September 2007

ObjectLabKit selected for Open Financial Market Platform


I meant to send this a long long time ago... So here is the not-so-new news.

My friend Neil Barlett (Mr OSGi and Eclipse) spotted this mention of the ObjectLabKit (DateCalculator) as part of the proposal for the Open Financial Market Platform.

I can only say this: Wow!

I hope it succeeds as the main reason for creating this little library was our frustration at re-inventing the wheel so many times... I know a couple of big investment banks using it now, so it was worth it!

Back to work now...


Sunday, 15 July 2007

Accessing JavaBeans Nested Properties: testing Spring, BeanUtils and OGNL

One our application needs to access properties from a javabean using reflection
e.g. get(“property1”, object)…

Rather than re-inventing the wheel, I thought that we should use a library. There are quite a few that do this kind of get/set properties… So the question was: Which One???

I know of:

  1. Spring beans (2.0.5)

  2. Apache Commons BeanUtils (1.7.0)

  3. my colleague Gerald mentioned OGNL from (pronounced ‘like a drunken orthogonal’ to quote their documentation).

So with 3 candidates… which one is the best performing?

OGNL seems to be, by far, the most flexible and rich library, but does that means it runs like a dead dog?

I limited the problem to accessing a property value: being simple, nested or as part of an array.
The Test: I shall access 100,000 a series of 8 properties. The classes are:

public class A {
private int intProperty;
private Long longProperty;
private String stringProperty;
private Date dateProperty;
private B b = new B();
public class B {
private int intProperty = 5;
private C c = new C();
private D[] d = new D[10];
public class C {
private String stringProperty;
public class D {
private int intProperty = 1;

The Test creates one instance of A, that contains 1 instance of B which contains 1 instance of C and an array of 10 Ds. I hope this is clear…
The set of properties to get are: "intProperty", "longProperty", "dateProperty", "stringProperty", "b.intProperty", "b.c.stringProperty", "b.d[1].intProperty", "b.d[7].intProperty".

So… the results?

LibraryTotal time (ms)average per set (micro sec)
Spring1,783 ms17.8 micro sec
Bean Utils2,242 ms22.4 micro sec
OGNL50,293 ms503 micro sec
OGNL Expression1,595 ms16 micro sec

What does this tell us?

OGNL is at the same time the slowest and the fastest library on my laptop (Lenovo, dual-core) under java 1.5.0_10. OGNL has 2 mechanisms, one is simply to call Ognl.getValue(“pathToProperty”, object) and the other one is to evaluate the expression upfront by Object expression = Ognl.parseExpression(“pathToProperty”) and then Ognl.getValue(expression, object);

The second one is the fastest mechanism so, if you have the ability to ‘pre-compile’ your expressions, OGNL is for you… otherwise Spring Beans is doing a good job!

The entire source code and Eclipse project is available here, feel free to comment and tell us about your experience.


Friday, 8 June 2007

Spring prototypes and auto-wire byType are expensive

In designing a new, very performance-sensitive part of our systems we investigated the runtime performance of retrieving beans (singleton and prototype) from a Spring bean factory versus creating them via a hand-coded factory. For the Spring code we also measured any additional overhead of auto-wiring beans and doing dependency checks on beans.

The test repeatedly retrieves 5 beans which are the roots of a highly interconnected object graph (comprising 4 other beans) from a Spring bean factory. In the prototype tests each bean in that graph is a Spring prototype bean, i.e. a new instance is create whenever a bean is needed from the bean factory. In the singleton tests each bean in that graph is a Spring singleton and so the same instance is returned every time a bean is retrieved. By comparison, the hand-coded factory always creates each object in that graph and hence behaves identical to the Spring prototype test.

The results give the time in nanoseconds for retrieving a bean (which is the root of the object graph) from the factory:

Bean retrieval / nanosecondsSpring 2.0.5Spring 2.0.4Spring 2.0.3Spring 2.0.2
Spring, prototype, autowire=byType, depend check442365500050945551958805
Spring, prototype, autowire=byName,
depend check
Spring, prototype, no autowire, depend check172412173539624171639640
Spring, prototype, no autowire,no depend check162300162950586144600320
Spring, singleton, autowire=byType, depend check60884110751134
Spring, singleton, autowire=byName,depend check71084010691132
Spring, singleton, no autowire,depend check60984210971161
Spring, singleton, no autowire, no depend check61483711021135
No Spring (hand-coded factory),always create (prototype)284284288292
The numbers speak for themselves, but the shown figures visualise them.

The code we used to perform these measurements and all results are available here.

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Goodbye PZFileReader! Hello FlatPack!

Paul and I have been muling (pun intended... more on that later!) about the name of our parser project. PZFileReader is very useful and originated in the world of "reading files", its capabilities have outgrown the name for quite some time.

We then thought about the basics, what does this project do?

Well, it parses files, string or messages that are in a delimited format (e.g. csv) or fixed length format (when a field is delimited by an offset and a length). It would even support parsing records that are across multiple lines. Furthermore, the project allowed an XML definition of a given format... Some work is also ongoing to create 'Writers' that would allow you to create such delimited, we hope to reveal more shortly.

And so.. enter FlatPack!

The common denominator of those files/messages is that they are "flat" and not hierarchical a la xml.

We were lucky enough to get the url:

The packaging and website will be updated soon!


Benoit & Paul

Sunday, 29 April 2007

JTreeMap 1.1.0 released!

Hi *,

ObjectLab is very pleased to announce the immediate release of JTreeMap 1.1.0, a heatmap/treemap visual library for JDK 5.0. We believe this is the only open source library of this kind under a business friendly license.

Towards the end of 2006, ObjectLab got involved with JTreeMap as part of a financial application. Laurent Dutheil had been developing it but found it more time consuming that anticipated. It is where ObjectLab offered some expertise and the result is the new release 1.1.0. We acknowledge and thank Laurent for his great contribution.

Home page:

The release is available on SF and on 2 Maven repositories (whilst we’re going through the process of adding it in the official repository). The ObjectLab Open Source repositories are:


The question of how to represent and visualize a lot of information at a glance is a hot topic in IT. A Treemap, also known as Heatmap, is an important tool for this. A TreeMap graphically represents a hierarchical structure.

Typically, the hierarchy will involve a tree of nodes of different sizes and different colours. The size and colours are determined by parameters such as the relative importance of a node in comparison to the full size. A well known examples is the Map of the Market on but their library is not open source (and very pricey!).

JTreeMap comes in 2 flavours: JTreeMap for Swing and KTreeMap for SWT.


Benoit & the rest of the ObjectLab Team.

Thursday, 19 April 2007

Coming QALab: Emma, XML FindBugs, new XML, new Chart & more!

I thought that it may be interesting to do something that Microsoft has been doing for years, like announcing a coming release of something... The difference is that, this is not vapo(u)rware, it will turn up!

So, what are the items we're working on?

  • Emma support is coming, thanks to the contribution of Robert Crawford.

  • Support for the XML output from Findbugs (rather than the xdoc one), some people had to run findbugs twice due to this limitation.

  • A new Spider Chart will show 3 snapshots of multi-dimensional data at 0, 30 and 90 days. You'll be able to see what is happening at a glance!

  • Automatic migration of the QALab XML to a new format that will also add the notion of "project" and "module" making it more hierarchical... one step closer to aggregation!

  • a bit of code re-org to keep the house tidy!

  • Some experimental work with storing QALab stats in a DB

So... when will it be available? Like cooking, it will be ready when it's ready... but for the impatient type, all these features are in Subversion!

Finally, we're willing to add more tools and are welcoming contributions, especially for Clover! Should not be difficult... Our main problem is that there are only 24 hours in a day!

Until next time,


Monday, 9 April 2007

StatSVN Demos are updated

StatSVN is pleased to announce an update of the demo site.

StatSVN demo is designed to show StatSVN capabilities for some well-known open source projects. Some of those are rather large and required some serious initial computing power (first run is rather big if the project has a lot of history).

At the moment, we have selected:

  1. Subversion itself!

  2. Spring Rich Client (java rich client library from Spring)

  3. Hibernate 3 (java persistence)

  4. Joda Time (cool java time library)

  5. Log4J (Apache logging library for Java)

  6. Ruby (yes, the language, in C!)

  7. Groovy

  8. Grails

  9. Felix (Apache OSGi implementation)

  10. Ant (Apache Ant, had more than 500,000 revisions)

  11. Mule (The World's most widely used open source ESB)

  12. Synapse (Apache Synapse, Synapse is a mediation framework for Web Services. Synapse allows messages flowing through, into, or out of an organization to be mediated.)

  13. QPid (Apache QPid, implementation of AMQP, Advanced Messaged Queuing Protocol)

  14. QALab A great tool for keeping track of QA statistics over time.

  15. PZFileReader Parsing of delimited strings or fixed-length strings.

  16. ObjectLab Kit Date Calculators for Business and Finance.

  17. JTreeMap Heat Map library.

  18. AntLibs DotNet.

  19. AntLibs HTTP.

  20. AntLibs Manual for Eclipse.

  21. AntLibs Subversion.

  22. AntLibs Ant Unit.

  23. XStream XStream is a simple library to serialize objects to XML and back again.

  24. JBoss AS No less! Do not try this at home, the first batch of statistics required 102,000 calls to the server... now it is fast!

  25. JRuby JRuby is an 100% pure-Java implementation of the Ruby programming language!

  26. ServiceMix The Apache ServiceMix project is an ESB and component suite based on the Java Business Interface (JBI) standard - JSR 208

  27. Commons-Lang The Apache Commons Lang.

  28. JDK7 The java JDK version 7! Checkout the very latest changes!

  29. TestNG TestNG, the new testing framework!

  30. Maven 1 The Apache Maven 1!

  31. Maven 2 The Apache Maven 2!

  32. Maven 2 Plugins The Apache Maven 2 Plugins!

  33. Continuum The Apache Continuum project!

  34. Pebble a Blog software!

If you would like us to add an open source project, please raise an issue on SF and provide us with the following information:

  1. Project Name

  2. Project Home page

  3. A one paragraph of html describing the project

  4. URL to anonymous Subversion server for the trunk

  5. List of tags, versions that should be identified.

  6. A list of developers, loginId-RealName, URL to homepage, URL to photo and email (all optional)

We cannot guarantee inclusion but you never know...

StatSVN Team.

PS: Support us by checking the Ads on the demo site. Thanks.

Friday, 6 April 2007

First post... why a combined blog?

Welcome to the ObjectLab Open Source News.

Our company, ObjectLab Financial Ltd is quite involved in some open source projects. We believe that, as a whole, this family of open source projects can help you.

So what are they?

  • QALab, our first project. It keeps track of QA statistics over time based on Checkstyle, PMD, FindBugs, Cobertura, Simian and more to come!

  • ObjectLab Kit, a series of Date calculators for business and finance. It is Apache 2.0 so feel free!

  • JTreeMap, the only open source Apache 2.0 HeatMap solution for java!

  • StatSVN, a cool way to discover who has done what and when in your Subversion repository (sorry we cannot help on the 'why' they did it!)

  • PZFileReader, a parser for delimited or fixed-length text. It is not as easy as it sounds... very flexible.

  • StatCVS, same as StatSVN but for CVS (we just contributed a bit...)

So, why a combined blog? So you can keep track of the news for all our projects in one place!

All news releases will announced here!


Benoit & the rest of the team.