We all know that truth is a flexible thing, that strict binaries of true and false are not enough.

Dana’s co-worker knew this, and so that co-worker didn’t use any pidling boolean values, no enums. They could do one better.

Now, we’re missing a lot of the code, but the pieces Dana shared with us are enough to get the picture…

    public CustomerRecord fetchNextCustomer()
    {
            //…
            String   yesNoString = String.valueOf(BusinessDAO.custFlagIsSet());

            if(yesNoString.equalsIgnoreCase("true")) yesNoString="Y";

            //… and later in this same method …
            if (yesNoString.equalsIgnoreCase("Y")) {
                //set a flag on the customer
            }
            //…
    }

True, false, “Y”, “N”, it’s all the same thing, yes? But how does this code actually get used?

    public Vector<Records> getCustomers()
    {
            //…

            String a = String.valueOf(BusinessDAO.custFlagIsSet());
            if (a.equalsIgnoreCase("TRUE"))
            {
                while(true) {
                    CustomerRecord aCustomer = fetchNextCustomer();

                    if (null != aCustomer) {
                        records.add(aCustomer);
                    }
                    else {
                        break;
                    }
                }
            } else {
                while(true) {
                    CustomerRecord aCustomer = fetchNextCustomer();

                    if (null != aCustomer) {
                        records.add(aCustomer);
                    }
                    else {
                        break;
                    }
                }
            }
            return records;
         }

That’s an excellent use of if statements. They’re future proofed- if they ever do need to branch on that flag, they’re already done with that.

But what about that custFlagIsSet code? What on Earth is that doing?

    public String custFlagIsSet()
    {
        BusinessConfig domainObject;
        try
        {
            domainObject = getDomainObject;
        }
        catch (Exception e)
        {
            logger.error("",e);
        }

        boolean isFlag = domainObject.custFlagIsSet();

        String isFlagString = String.valueOf(isFlag) ;

        return isFlagString;
    }

Obviously, what we’re seeing here is a low-level API- that domainObject- being adapted into a more abstract API. Where that low-level API only uses little booleans, our custFlagIsSet object makes sure it only ever exposes strings- a much more flexible and robust datatype. Now, we can see some of the history in this code- before that custFlagIsSet modernized the underlying API, the other methods still needed to use String.valueOf, just in case a boolean accidentially came back.

If you say it carefully, it almost sounds like it makes sense. Almost.

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