Groovy : tokenize() vs split()

14 / Mar / 2013 by Vivek Garg 3 comments

In the Wild West of text manipulation, Groovy offers two gunslingers for splitting strings: tokenize() and split(). They might seem like two sides of the same coin, but choosing the right one can make your code smoother than a well-oiled six-shooter.

Below are some of the significant differences between both tokenize() and split()

  1. Both methods split a string into tokens, but with subtle nuances. The split() method returns a string [] instance, while the tokenize() method returns a list instance
  2.  tokenize(), which returns a list, will ignore empty string (when a delimiter appears twice in succession), whereas split() keeps such string.
    String testString = 'hello brother'
    assert testString.split() instanceof String[]
    assert ['hello','brother']==testString.split() //split with no arguments
    assert['he','','o brother']==testString.split('l')
    // split keeps empty string
    assert testString.tokenize() instanceof List
    assert ['hello','brother']==testString.tokenize() //tokenize with no arguments
    assert ['he','o brother']==testString.tokenize('l')
    //tokenize ignore empty string
  3. The tokenize() method uses each character of a String as a delimiter whereas split()  takes the entire string as a delimiter
    String testString='hello world'
    assert ['hel',' world']==testString.split('lo')
    assert ['he',' w','r','d']==testString.tokenize('lo')
  4. The split() can take regex as a delimiter whereas tokenize does not.
    String testString='hello world 123 herload'
    assert['hello world ',' herload']==testString.split(/\d{3}/)

    So, next time you need to split strings in Groovy, remember these gunslingers. Choose the one that fits your task and shoot down those stringy dilemmas with ease!

    Feel free to ask our grails developers, if you have any queries


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