This article is about a Java class to read and write Windows INI files. One good feature of this class is its support for environment variables, i.e., this class allows us to include
a reference to an environment variable while defining values in INI files. The following code snippet depicts this feature:
;Sample INI file
UserId = DBuser
Sid = DBSid
DBHost = 126.96.36.199
DBPort = 1521
DBLib = %ORACLE_HOME%\lib\classes12.jar
DBLib variable is read, the class will try to retrieve the value for
%ORACLE_HOME% variable. Let's say on your system
%ORACLE_HOME% points to
DBLib will get expanded to C:\Oracle\lib\classes12.jar.
Using the Code
The following code snippet shows the usage of this class. The same code can also be found in
the main method of the
public static void main(String pstrArgs)
INIFile objINI = null;
String strFile = null;
if (pstrArgs.length == 0) return;
strFile = pstrArgs;
objINI = new INIFile(strFile);
objINI.setStringProperty("Database", "SID", "ORCL");
objINI.setStringProperty("Database", "UserId", "System");
objINI.setStringProperty("Database", "Password", "Manager");
objINI.setStringProperty("Database", "HostName", "DBServer");
objINI.setIntegerProperty("Database", "Port", 1521);
objINI = null;
Date and Timestamps Usage
Since all data in INI files is stored as
strings, the class provides the following methods to interpret the date and timestamp values in the correct manner.
setDateFormat - This method allows to set the date format to be used while converting date strings to date data type and vice versa.
setTimeFormat - This method allows to set the timestamp format to be used while converting timestamp strings to timestamp data type and vice versa.
For the supported date time formats, please refer to java.text.SimpleDateFormat.
The class exposes the following
public methods to access INI property values. All these methods require that the INI section name and property name be passed as input parameters.
getBooleanProperty - Returns
getStringProperty - Returns
getIntegerProperty - Returns
getLongProperty - Returns
getDoubleProperty - Returns
getDateProperty - Returns
getTimestampProperty - Returns
Additionally, the class also provides the following additional methods to retrieve
the names of all the sections present in an INI file, names of all the properties present under a particular section, remove the property, remove a section, and save changes back to
the disk. The load method is automatically called from the constructor.
getAllSectionNames - Returns a
string array of section names
getAllPropertyNames - Returns a
string array of section names. This method requires a section name as an input parameter.
removeProperty - Removes specified property from the specified section
removeSection - Removes the specified section
save - Persist changes back to INI file
I hope this will be useful to anyone who needs this functionality in Java.
The class does not support property values which span across multiple lines.
Points of Interest
JDK 1.3 and 1.4 do not have built-in classes and/or methods to access environment variable values. Thanks to Mr. Réal Gagnon for generously making the code available to read environment variables.
- 01/07/2004 - Initial release.
- 07/07/2004 - Added support for environment variables and data type specific getters and setters.
- 08/07/2004 - Code correction, mostly typing mistakes and a condition in the
- 26/08/2004 - Lots of useful modifications:
- Added support for section and property level comments.
- Introduced a separate class to represent a property.
- Added method to create a named section.
LinkedHashMap, Sections/Properties now retain their order.
- Some of the method implementations/signatures are changed.