9. Reading a Text File

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Let's read some data from an external source to combine all we learned before...

With a free online tool we create a test CSV file with random data. This file is stored in a subdirectory resources as testdata.csv.

The file in the source code contains comma-separated values for counter, firstname, lastname, age, Street, City, State, ZIP:

1,Ada,Gomez,40,Mabvob Pike,Radafso,LA,60500
2,Bernard,Jordan,28,Dotcu Court,Cewbufbim,MS,17422
3,Mittie,Vaughn,64,Nandac Mill,Patunif,RI,81182
4,Miguel,Clarke,39,Liac Boulevard,Deguci,NH,32207

Let's write a program to read this CSV-file line by line and convert each line to an object which is added to a list of persons:

import java.io.BufferedReader;
import java.io.File;
import java.io.FileReader;
import java.util.ArrayList;
import java.util.List;
public class ReadTextFile {
    public static void main (String[] args) {
        List persons = loadPersons();
        System.out.println("Number of persons loaded from CSV file: "
            + persons.size());
        for (Person person : persons) {
            System.out.println(person.getFullName() + ", age: " + person.getAge());
    public static List loadPersons() {
        List list = new ArrayList<>();
        File file = new File("resources/testdata.csv");
        try (Scanner scanner = new Scanner(file)) {
            while (scanner.hasNextLine()) {
                list.add(new Person(scanner.nextLine()));
        } catch (FileNotFoundException ex) {
            System.err.println("Could not find the file to be loaded");
        return list;
    public static class Person {
        private int id;
        private String firstName;
        private String lastName;
        private int age;
        private String street;
        private String city;
        private String state;
        private int zip;
        public Person(String csvLine) {
            String[] data = csvLine.split(",");
            this.id = Integer.valueOf(data[0]);
            this.firstName = data[1];
            this.lastName = data[2];
            this.age = Integer.valueOf(data[3]);
            this.street = data[4];
            this.city = data[5];
            this.state = data[6];
            this.zip = Integer.valueOf(data[7]);
        public String getFirstName() {
            return firstName;
        public String getFullName() {
            return firstName + " " + lastName;
        public int getAge() {
            return age;

Just like in the UsingObjects-example, we use an object to store the data of each line in the CSV file, in this case, the object Person.

Within the loadPersons-method:

  • the file is opened
  • read line by line
  • the text of each line is used to create a Person-object
  • this object is added to the list
  • the list is returned.

Within the main-method, the resulting list is used:

  • to count the number of persons on the list
  • to print each person's full name and age
$ java ReadTextFile.java
Number of persons loaded from CSV file: 100
Ada Gomez, age: 40
Bernard Jordan, age: 28
Mittie Vaughn, age: 64
Miguel Clarke, age: 39

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