[ Team LiB ] Previous Section Next Section

1.13 Using a StringBuffer

One of the things you may have noticed about the String class that is used to represent strings in Java is that it is immutable. In other words, there are no methods that allow you to change the contents of a string. Methods that operate on a string return a new string, not a modified copy of the old one. When you want to operate on a string in place, you must use a StringBuffer object instead.

Example 1-13 demonstrates the use of a StringBuffer. It interactively reads a line of user input, as Example 1-12 did, and creates a StringBuffer to contain the line. The program then encodes each character of the line using the rot13 substitution cipher, which simply "rotates" each letter 13 places through the alphabet, wrapping around from Z back to A when necessary. Because a StringBuffer object is being used, you can replace each character in the line one-by-one. A session with this Rot13Input program might look like this:

% java je3.basics.Rot13Input
> Hello there.  Testing, testing!
Uryyb gurer.  Grfgvat, grfgvat!
> quit

The main( ) method of Example 1-13 calls another method, rot13( ), to perform the actual encoding of a character. This method demonstrates the use of the primitive Java char type and character literals (i.e., characters that are used literally in a program within single quotes).

Example 1-13. Rot13Input.java
package je3.basics;
import java.io.*;  // We're doing input, so import I/O classes

 * This program reads lines of text from the user, encodes them using the 
 * trivial "Rot13" substitution cipher, and then prints out the encoded lines.
public class Rot13Input {
    public static void main(String[  ] args) throws IOException {
        // Get set up to read lines of text from the user
        BufferedReader in = new BufferedReader(new InputStreamReader(System.in));
        for(;;) {                                    // Loop forever
            System.out.print("> ");                    // Print a prompt
            String line = in.readLine( );               // Read a line
            if ((line == null) || line.equals("quit")) // If EOF or "quit"...
                break;                                 // ...break out of loop
            StringBuffer buf = new StringBuffer(line); // Use a StringBuffer
            for(int i = 0; i < buf.length( ); i++)      // For each character...
                buf.setCharAt(i, rot13(buf.charAt(i)));// ..read, encode, store
            System.out.println(buf);                   // Print encoded line
     * This method performs the Rot13 substitution cipher.  It "rotates"
     * each letter 13 places through the alphabet.  Since the Latin alphabet
     * has 26 letters, this method both encodes and decodes.
    public static char rot13(char c) {
        if ((c >= 'A') && (c <= 'Z')) {  // For uppercase letters
            c += 13;                       // Rotate forward 13
            if (c > 'Z') c -= 26;          // And subtract 26 if necessary
        if ((c >= 'a') && (c <= 'z')) {  // Do the same for lowercase letters
            c += 13;
            if (c > 'z') c -= 26;
        return c;                        // Return the modified letter
    [ Team LiB ] Previous Section Next Section