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Class java.text.Collator

java.lang.Object
   |
   +----java.text.Collator

public abstract class Collator
extends Object
implements Cloneable, Serializable
The Collator class performs locale-sensitive String comparison. You use this class to build searching and sorting routines for natural language text.

Collator is an abstract base class. Subclasses implement specific collation strategies. One subclass, RuleBasedCollator, is currently provided with the JDK and is applicable to a wide set of languages. Other subclasses may be created to handle more specialized needs.

Like other locale-sensitive classes, you can use the static factory method, getInstance, to obtain the appropriate Collator object for a given locale. You will only need to look at the subclasses of Collator if you need to understand the details of a particular collation strategy or if you need to modify that strategy.

The following example shows how to compare two strings using the Collator for the default locale.

 // Compare two strings in the default locale
 Collator myCollator = Collator.getInstance();
 if( myCollator.compare("abc", "ABC") < 0 )
     System.out.println("abc is less than ABC");
 else
     System.out.println("abc is greater than or equal to ABC");
 

You can set a Collator's strength property to determine the level of difference considered significant in comparisons. Four strengths are provided: PRIMARY, SECONDARY, TERTIARY, and IDENTICAL. The exact assignment of strengths to language features is locale dependant. For example, in Czech, "e" and "f" are considered primary differences, while "e" and "" are secondary differences, "e" and "E" are tertiary differences and "e" and "e" are identical. The following shows how both case and accents could be ignored for US English.

 //Get the Collator for US English and set its strength to PRIMARY
 Collator usCollator = Collator.getInstance(Locale.US);
 usCollator.setStrength(Collator.PRIMARY);
 if( usCollator.compare("abc", "ABC") == 0 ) {
     System.out.println("Strings are equivalent");
 }
 

For comparing Strings exactly once, the compare method provides the best performance. When sorting a list of Strings however, it is generally necessary to compare each String multiple times. In this case, CollationKeys provide better performance. The CollationKey class converts a String to a series of bits that can be compared bitwise against other CollationKeys. A CollationKey is created by a Collator object for a given String.
Note: CollationKeys from different Collators can not be compared. See the class description for CollationKey for an example using CollationKeys.

See Also:
RuleBasedCollator, CollationKey, CollationElementIterator, Locale

Variable Index

 o CANONICAL_DECOMPOSITION
Decomposition mode value.
 o FULL_DECOMPOSITION
Decomposition mode value.
 o IDENTICAL
Collator strength value.
 o NO_DECOMPOSITION
Decomposition mode value.
 o PRIMARY
Collator strength value.
 o SECONDARY
Collator strength value.
 o TERTIARY
Collator strength value.

Constructor Index

 o Collator()
Default constructor.

Method Index

 o clone()
Overrides Cloneable
 o compare(String, String)
Compares the source string to the target string according to the collation rules for this Collator.
 o equals(Object)
Compares the equality of two Collators.
 o equals(String, String)
Convenience method for comparing the equality of two strings based on this Collator's collation rules.
 o getAvailableLocales()
Get the set of Locales for which Collators are installed.
 o getCollationKey(String)
Transforms the String into a series of bits that can be compared bitwise to other CollationKeys.
 o getDecomposition()
Get the decomposition mode of this Collator.
 o getInstance()
Gets the Collator for the current default locale.
 o getInstance(Locale)
Gets the Collator for the desired locale.
 o getStrength()
Returns this Collator's strength property.
 o hashCode()
Generates the hash code for this Collator.
 o setDecomposition(int)
Set the decomposition mode of this Collator.
 o setStrength(int)
Sets this Collator's strength property.

Variables

 o PRIMARY
 public static final int PRIMARY
Collator strength value. When set, only PRIMARY differences are considered significant during comparison. The assignment of strengths to language features is locale dependant. A common example is for different base letters ("a" vs "b") to be considered a PRIMARY difference.

See Also:
setStrength, getStrength
 o SECONDARY
 public static final int SECONDARY
Collator strength value. When set, only SECONDARY and above differences are considered significant during comparison. The assignment of strengths to language features is locale dependant. A common example is for different accented forms of the same base letter ("a" vs "") to be considered a SECONDARY difference.

See Also:
setStrength, getStrength
 o TERTIARY
 public static final int TERTIARY
Collator strength value. When set, only TERTIARY and above differences are considered significant during comparison. The assignment of strengths to language features is locale dependant. A common example is for case differences ("a" vs "A") to be considered a TERTIARY difference.

See Also:
setStrength, getStrength
 o IDENTICAL
 public static final int IDENTICAL
Collator strength value. When set, all differences are considered significant during comparison. The assignment of strengths to language features is locale dependant. A common example is for control characters ("\u0001" vs "\u0002") to be considered equal at the PRIMARY, SECONDARY, and TERTIARY levels but different at the IDENTICAL level. Additionally, differences between pre-composed accents such as "\u00C0" (A-grave) and combining accents such as "A\u0300" (A, combining-grave) will be considered significant at the tertiary level if decomposition is set to NO_DECOMPOSITION.

 o NO_DECOMPOSITION
 public static final int NO_DECOMPOSITION
Decomposition mode value. With NO_DECOMPOSITION set, accented characters will not be decomposed for collation. This provides the fastest collation but will only produce correct results for languages that do not use accents.

See Also:
getDecomposition, setDecomposition
 o CANONICAL_DECOMPOSITION
 public static final int CANONICAL_DECOMPOSITION
Decomposition mode value. With CANONICAL_DECOMPOSITION set, characters that are canonical variants according to Unicode 2.0 will be decomposed for collation. This is the default setting and should be used to get correct collation of accented characters.

See Also:
getDecomposition, setDecomposition
 o FULL_DECOMPOSITION
 public static final int FULL_DECOMPOSITION
Decomposition mode value. With FULL_DECOMPOSITION set, both Unicode canonical variants and Unicode compatibility variants will be decomposed for collation. This causes not only accented characters to be collated, but also characters that have special formats to be collated with their norminal form. For example, the half-width and full-width ASCII and Katakana characters are then collated together. FULL_DECOMPOSITION is the most complete and therefore the slowest decomposition mode.

See Also:
getDecomposition, setDecomposition

Constructors

 o Collator
 protected Collator()
Default constructor. This constructor is protected so subclasses can get access to it. Users typically create a Collator sub-class by calling the factory method getInstance.

See Also:
getInstance

Methods

 o getInstance
 public static synchronized Collator getInstance()
Gets the Collator for the current default locale. The default locale is determined by java.util.Locale.getDefault.

Returns:
the Collator for the default locale.(for example, en_US)
See Also:
getDefault
 o getInstance
 public static synchronized Collator getInstance(Locale desiredLocale)
Gets the Collator for the desired locale.

Parameters:
desiredLocale - the desired locale.
Returns:
the Collator for the desired locale.
See Also:
Locale, ResourceBundle
 o compare
 public abstract int compare(String source,
                             String target)
Compares the source string to the target string according to the collation rules for this Collator. Returns an integer less than, equal to or greater than zero depending on whether the source String is less than, equal to or greater than the target string. See the Collator class description for an example of use.

For a one time comparison, this method has the best performance. If a given String will be involved in multiple comparisons, CollationKey.compareTo has the best performance. See the Collator class description for an example using CollationKeys.

Parameters:
source - the source string.
target - the target string.
Returns:
Returns an integer value. Value is less than zero if source is less than target, value is zero if source and target are equal, value is greater than zero if source is greater than target.
See Also:
CollationKey, getCollationKey
 o getCollationKey
 public abstract CollationKey getCollationKey(String source)
Transforms the String into a series of bits that can be compared bitwise to other CollationKeys. CollationKeys provide better performance than Collator.compare when Strings are involved in multiple comparisons. See the Collator class description for an example using CollationKeys.

Parameters:
source - the string to be transformed into a collation key.
Returns:
the CollationKey for the given String based on this Collator's collation rules. If the source String is null, a null CollationKey is returned.
See Also:
CollationKey, compare
 o equals
 public boolean equals(String source,
                       String target)
Convenience method for comparing the equality of two strings based on this Collator's collation rules.

Parameters:
source - the source string to be compared with.
target - the target string to be compared with.
Returns:
true if the strings are equal according to the collation rules. false, otherwise.
See Also:
compare
 o getStrength
 public synchronized int getStrength()
Returns this Collator's strength property. The strength property determines the minimum level of difference considered significant during comparison. See the Collator class description for an example of use.

Returns:
this Collator's current strength property.
See Also:
setStrength, PRIMARY, SECONDARY, TERTIARY, IDENTICAL
 o setStrength
 public synchronized void setStrength(int newStrength)
Sets this Collator's strength property. The strength property determines the minimum level of difference considered significant during comparison. See the Collator class description for an example of use.

Parameters:
the - new strength value.
Throws: IllegalArgumentException
If the new strength value is not one of PRIMARY, SECONDARY, TERTIARY or IDENTICAL.
See Also:
getStrength, PRIMARY, SECONDARY, TERTIARY, IDENTICAL
 o getDecomposition
 public synchronized int getDecomposition()
Get the decomposition mode of this Collator. Decomposition mode determines how Unicode composed characters are handled. Adjusting decomposition mode allows the user to select between faster and more complete collation behavior.

The three values for decomposition mode are:

See the documentation for these three constants for a description of their meaning.

Returns:
the decomposition mode
See Also:
setDecomposition, NO_DECOMPOSITION, CANONICAL_DECOMPOSITION, FULL_DECOMPOSITION
 o setDecomposition
 public synchronized void setDecomposition(int decompositionMode)
Set the decomposition mode of this Collator. See getDecomposition for a description of decomposition mode.

Parameters:
the - new decomposition mode
Throws: IllegalArgumentException
If the given value is not a valid decomposition mode.
See Also:
getDecomposition, NO_DECOMPOSITION, CANONICAL_DECOMPOSITION, FULL_DECOMPOSITION
 o getAvailableLocales
 public static synchronized Locale[] getAvailableLocales()
Get the set of Locales for which Collators are installed.

Returns:
the list of available locales which collators are installed.
 o clone
 public Object clone()
Overrides Cloneable

Overrides:
clone in class Object
 o equals
 public boolean equals(Object that)
Compares the equality of two Collators.

Parameters:
that - the Collator to be compared with this.
Returns:
true if this Collator is the same as that Collator; false otherwise.
Overrides:
equals in class Object
 o hashCode
 public abstract int hashCode()
Generates the hash code for this Collator.

Overrides:
hashCode in class Object

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