Class ObjectGraphIterator<E>

  • All Implemented Interfaces:

    public class ObjectGraphIterator<E>
    extends Object
    implements Iterator<E>
    An Iterator that can traverse multiple iterators down an object graph.

    This iterator can extract multiple objects from a complex tree-like object graph. The iteration starts from a single root object. It uses a Transformer to extract the iterators and elements. Its main benefit is that no intermediate List is created.

    For example, consider an object graph:

                     |- Branch -- Leaf
                     |         \- Leaf
             |- Tree |         /- Leaf
             |       |- Branch -- Leaf
      Forest |                 \- Leaf
             |       |- Branch -- Leaf
             |       |         \- Leaf
             |- Tree |         /- Leaf
                     |- Branch -- Leaf
                     |- Branch -- Leaf
    The following Transformer, used in this class, will extract all the Leaf objects without creating a combined intermediate list:
     public Object transform(Object input) {
       if (input instanceof Forest) {
         return ((Forest) input).treeIterator();
       if (input instanceof Tree) {
         return ((Tree) input).branchIterator();
       if (input instanceof Branch) {
         return ((Branch) input).leafIterator();
       if (input instanceof Leaf) {
         return input;
       throw new ClassCastException();

    Internally, iteration starts from the root object. When next is called, the transformer is called to examine the object. The transformer will return either an iterator or an object. If the object is an Iterator, the next element from that iterator is obtained and the process repeats. If the element is an object it is returned.

    Under many circumstances, linking Iterators together in this manner is more efficient (and convenient) than using nested for loops to extract a list.

    • Constructor Detail

      • ObjectGraphIterator

        public ObjectGraphIterator​(E root,
                                   Transformer<? super E,​? extends E> transformer)
        Constructs an ObjectGraphIterator using a root object and transformer.

        The root object can be an iterator, in which case it will be immediately looped around.

        root - the root object, null will result in an empty iterator
        transformer - the transformer to use, null will use a no effect transformer
      • ObjectGraphIterator

        public ObjectGraphIterator​(Iterator<? extends E> rootIterator)
        Constructs a ObjectGraphIterator that will handle an iterator of iterators.

        This constructor exists for convenience to emphasise that this class can be used to iterate over nested iterators. That is to say that the iterator passed in here contains other iterators, which may in turn contain further iterators.

        rootIterator - the root iterator, null will result in an empty iterator
    • Method Detail

      • hasNext

        public boolean hasNext()
        Checks whether there are any more elements in the iteration to obtain.
        Specified by:
        hasNext in interface Iterator<E>
        true if elements remain in the iteration
      • next

        public E next()
        Gets the next element of the iteration.
        Specified by:
        next in interface Iterator<E>
        the next element from the iteration
        NoSuchElementException - if all the Iterators are exhausted
      • remove

        public void remove()
        Removes from the underlying collection the last element returned.

        This method calls remove() on the underlying Iterator and it may throw an UnsupportedOperationException if the underlying Iterator does not support this method.

        Specified by:
        remove in interface Iterator<E>
        UnsupportedOperationException - if the remove operator is not supported by the underlying Iterator
        IllegalStateException - if the next method has not yet been called, or the remove method has already been called after the last call to the next method.