Friday, July 9, 2010

How to handle object-like strings?

Several wsadmin commands return 'object-like' strings as responses. That is, they return strings which look like objects, but are just strings. Very annoying.

We wrote several helper methods in to convert these object-like strings into real python lists and dictionaries. The helpers may seem silly at first, but having real objects makes searching and extracting values from responses much easier. Here are two examples...

Example 1

Consider this string:

'[ [key0 value0] [key1 value1] [key2 value2] ]'

This is the format of the response string which you get from several wsadmin commands. To a human, it is visually recognizable as a set of keys and values. But to python, it is nothing. It is a string which is tedious to parse and search, and the code is confusing to duplicate inline in various functional methods. What to do?