Commons-Flatfile is a Java library for working with flat data structures.
The object of the project is to provide power and flexibility via multiple complementary mechanisms for working with "flat file" structures in Java. Where legacy conventions (e.g. structural representation) offer convenience, expressiveness, or ease-of-adoption, it will be considered in scope to adopt or adapt them.
Java being a relative newcomer to the scene has always been considered on the new and exciting end of things and has enjoyed large success in e.g. web-based applications. No end of libraries exist for implementing web applications and for doing ancillary tasks such as working with XML, rendering PDF and other formats, etc. In stark contrast to this stands the lack of libraries that have distinguished themselves as successful in terms of facilitating the use of flat data structures in Java. In the real world, it is all too often necessary to interface with legacy systems using such structures. Historically a given company uses one or more approaches for dealing with flat data structures, typically reinventing the proverbial wheel several times. Commonly seen "solutions" run the gamut from setting hard-coded character ranges in a StringBuffer/Builder or character array to complex XML-based mappings that are difficult to understand and maintain and still lack the expressiveness of "legacy" languages whose natural mode was dealing with flat data representations.