March 26, 2015

Groovy Goodness: New Methods to Sort and Remove Duplicates From Collection

In Groovy we can use the sort and unique methods to sort a collection or remove duplicates from a collection. These methods alter the collection on which they are invoked. This is a side effect we might want to avoid. Therefore the sort and unique methods where changed and we could pass a boolean argument to indicate if the original collection should be changed or that we must have a new collection as the result of the methods, leaving the original collection untouched. Since Groovy 2.4 we have two new methods which by default return a new collection: toSorted and toUnique.

In the following sample we see the new methods in action:

class User {
    String username, email

def mrhaki1 = new User(username: 'mrhaki', email: 'mrhaki@localhost')
def mrhaki2 = new User(username: 'mrhaki', email: 'user@localhost')
def hubert1 = new User(username: 'hubert', email: 'user@localhost')
def hubert2 = new User(username: 'hubert', email: 'hubert@localhost')

// We make the list immutable,
// so we check the toSorted and toUnique methods
// do not alter it.
def users = [mrhaki1, mrhaki2, hubert1, hubert2].asImmutable()

// toSorted 
def sortedUsers = users.toSorted()

// @Sortable adds a compareTo method 
// to User class to sort first by username
// and then email.
assert sortedUsers == [hubert2, hubert1, mrhaki1, mrhaki2]

// Original list is unchanged.
assert users == [mrhaki1, mrhaki2, hubert1, hubert2]

// Use toSorted with closure.
def sortedByEmail = users.toSorted { a, b -> <=> }
assert sortedByEmail == [hubert2, mrhaki1, mrhaki2, hubert1]

// Or use toSorted with Comparator.
// @Sortable added static comparatorByProperty
// methods.
def sortedByEmailComparator = users.toSorted(User.comparatorByEmail())
assert sortedByEmailComparator == [hubert2, mrhaki1, mrhaki2, hubert1]

// toUnique with Comparator.
def uniqueUsers = users.toUnique(User.comparatorByUsername())
assert uniqueUsers == [mrhaki1, hubert1]
assert users == [mrhaki1, mrhaki2, hubert1, hubert2]

// toUnique with Closure.
def uniqueByEmail = users.toUnique { a, b -> <=> }
assert uniqueByEmail == [mrhaki1, mrhaki2, hubert2]

Written with Groovy 2.4.3.