Optional.stream()

This week, I learned about a nifty "new" feature of Optional that I want to share in this post. It's available since Java 9, so its novelty is relative.

Let's start with the following sequence to compute the total price of an order:

public BigDecimal getOrderPrice(Long orderId) {
    List<OrderLine> lines = orderRepository.findByOrderId(orderId);
    BigDecimal price = BigDecimal.ZERO;       // 1
    for (OrderLine line : lines) {
        price = price.add(line.getPrice());   // 2
    }
    return price;
}
  1. Provide an accumulator variable for the price
  2. Add each line's price to the total price

Nowadays, it's probably more adequate to use streams instead of iterations. The following snippet is the equivalent to the previous one:

public BigDecimal getOrderPrice(Long orderId) {
    List<OrderLine> lines = orderRepository.findByOrderId(orderId);
    return lines.stream()
                .map(OrderLine::getPrice)
                .reduce(BigDecimal.ZERO, BigDecimal::add);
}

Let's focus on the orderId variable: it may be null.

The imperative way to handle null values is to check it at the beginning of the method - and eventually throw:

public BigDecimal getOrderPrice(Long orderId) {
    if (orderId == null) {
        throw new IllegalArgumentException("Order ID cannot be null");
    }
    List<OrderLine> lines = orderRepository.findByOrderId(orderId);
    return lines.stream()
                .map(OrderLine::getPrice)
                .reduce(BigDecimal.ZERO, BigDecimal::add);
}

The functional way is to wrap the orderId in an Optional. This is what the code looks like using Optional:

public BigDecimal getOrderPrice(Long orderId) {
    return Optional.ofNullable(orderId)                            // 1
            .map(orderRepository::findByOrderId)                   // 2
            .flatMap(lines -> {                                    // 3
                BigDecimal sum = lines.stream()
                        .map(OrderLine::getPrice)
                        .reduce(BigDecimal.ZERO, BigDecimal::add);
                return Optional.of(sum);                           // 4
            }).orElse(BigDecimal.ZERO);                            // 5
}
  1. Wrap the orderId in an Optional
  2. Find relevant order lines
  3. Use flatMap() to get an Optional; map() would get an Optional<Optional>
  4. We need to wrap the result into an Optional to conform to the method signature
  5. If the Optional doesn't contain a value, the sum is 0

Optional makes the code less readable! I believe that readability should trump code style every single time.

Fortunately, Optional offers a stream() method (since Java 9). It allows to simplify the functional pipeline:

public BigDecimal getOrderPrice(Long orderId) {
    return Optional.ofNullable(orderId)
            .stream()
            .map(orderRepository::findByOrderId)
            .flatMap(Collection::stream)
            .map(OrderLine::getPrice)
            .reduce(BigDecimal.ZERO, BigDecimal::add);
}

Here's the summary of the type at each line:

Snippet Type
Optional.ofNullable(orderId) Optional
stream() Stream
map(orderRepository::findByOrderId) Stream
flatMap(Collection::stream) Stream
map(OrderLine::getPrice) Stream
reduce(BigDecimal.ZERO, BigDecimal::add) BigDecimal

Functional code doesn't necessarily mean readable code. With the last changes, I believe it's both.

To go further:

Originally published at A Java Geek on February 19th 2021

Topics:

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