Maintaining Portability Using Properties Files

Though our focus is on MySQL, it is good Java programming practice to make your applications completely portable. To most people, portability means that you do not write code that will run on only one platform. In the Java world, however, the word “portable” is a much stronger term. It means no hardware resource dependencies, and that means no database dependencies.

We discussed how the JDBC URL and Driver name are implementation dependent, but we did not discuss the details of how to avoid hardcoding them. Because both are simple strings, you can pass them on the command line as runtime arguments or as parameters to applets. While that solution works, it is hardly elegant since it requires command-line users to remember long command lines. A similar solution might be to prompt the user for this information; but again, you are requiring that the user remember a JDBC URL and a Java class name each time he runs an application.

Properties files

A more elegant solution than either of those mentioned would be to use a properties file. Properties files are supported by the java.util.ResourceBundle and its subclasses to enable an application to extract runtime-specific information from a text file. For a JDBC application, you can stick the URL and Driver name in the properties file, leaving the details of the connectivity up to an application administrator. Example 13-2 shows a properties file that provides connection information.

Example 13-2. The ...

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