The ItemCollection

The Imixs ItemCollection is a generic value object used by the Imixs-Workflow API. You can see an ItemCollection as a kind of document which contains a set of properties (called Items). Each Item of an ItemCollection consists of a name and a value. The value of an Item can be any serializeable data object. So an ItemCollection is a very flexible data structure.

Each Workitem processed by the Imixs-Workflow engine is represented by an instance of an ItemCollection. But also other Entities used by the Imixs-Workflow - like the Model Entities - are represented in the same object structure. The ItemCollection provides methods which makes it very easy to create, access or modify the properties of an ItemCollection.

Setter Methods

The ItemCollection provides different methods to set or update items values. Any seralizable object can be set as a value. Internally a value is always represented as a List. See the following example:

import org.imixs.workflow.ItemCollection;
ItemCollection myItemCollection=new ItemCollection();
myItemCollection.setItemValue("CostCenter",new Integer(4010));

The method setItemValue adds a new Item or replaces the value of an existing item. This code example creates a new empty ItemCollection and adds three new items. The first Item with the name “FirstName” contains a String value and the second item “CostCenter” contains an Integer value. For the third item ‘team’ the method appendItemValue is used, which allows to add multiple values into one item.

The following table gives an overview about the setter methods:

Method Return Type
setItemValue(String, Object) sets an object as a new item value
appendItemValueString(name, Object) adds an object to an existing item value

The method setItemValue and appendItemValue also support the fluent api:

ItemCollection myItemCollection=new ItemCollection();

Getter Methods

The ItemCollection provides different methods to access items values. The methods are type-save and allow to access a value of a specific type. See the following example:

String name=myItemCollection.getItemValue("FirstName",String.class);
int costcenter=myItemCollection.getItemValue("CostCenter",Integer.class);
// equals to 
String name=myItemCollection.getItemValueString("FirstName");
int costcenter=myItemCollection.getItemValue("CostCenter");

The following table gives an overview about the getter methods:

Method Return Type
getItemValue(name,Class<T>) Object of a specific type
getItemValueString(name) String
getItemValueInteger(name) Integer
getItemValueDouble(name) Double
getItemValueFloat(name) Float
getItemValueLong(name) Long
getItemValueBoolean(name) Boolean (true/false)
getItemValueDate(name) Date Object

Remove Attributes

With the method removeItem an existing Item can be removed from a ItemCollection:


Test Attributes

The ItemCollection provides also methods to test the existence of an Item. See the following table:

Method Return
hasItem(name) returns true if an Item with the name exists
isItemValueInteger(name) returns true if the item contains an Integer value
isItemValueDouble(name) returns true if the item contains a Double value
isItemValueFloat(name) returns true if the item contains a Float value
isItemValueLong(name) returns true if the item contains an Long value

Multivalue Attributes

An Item can also store a list of values (multi-value). Multi-values can be added to an ItemCollection with the method appendItemValue :

myItemCollection.appendItemValue("team", "Anna");
myItemCollection.appendItemValue("team", "John");

This code example adds a teamlist with two String values as an item with the Name “team” to an ItemCollection.

Alternatively you can also set a List of object values:

List<String> multiValue=new ArrayList<String>();
myItemCollection.setItemValue("team", multiValue);

To access a value list, use the method getItemValueList() which always returns a List of values of the specified type:

List<String> team = myItemCollection.getItemValueList("team", String.class);

Mixed Value Types

An item can hold different types of values:

myItemCollection.appendItemValue("mydata", "Anna");
myItemCollection.appendItemValue("mydata", 42);
myItemCollection.appendItemValue("mydata", new Date());

Use the method getItemValue() to get the raw type list of values:

List<?> multiValue=myItemCollection.getItemValue("mydata");
String name=(String)multiValue.firstElement();

Serialized Data Values

Using the ItemCollection it is possible to store not only basic data types but also any serializable Java Object:

// create a Java HashMap
HashMap hashMap = new HashMap();
hashMap.put( "One", new Integer(1) ); // adding value into HashMap
hashMap.put( "Two", new Integer(2) );
hashMap.put( "Three", new Integer(3) );
// put data object into ItemCollection
myItemCollection.setItemValue("MyData", hashMap);

// read hashMap form itemCollection
hashMap = (HashMap) myItemCollection.getItemValue("MyData").firstElement();

As an ItemCollection is not serializable it is not recommended to store a ItemCollection as a value into another ItemCollection. Instead use the method getAllItems() which returns a serializable Map interface:

ItemCollection teamMember=new ItemCollection();
teamMember.setItemValue("name", "Ralph");
teamMember.setItemValue("city", "munich");

ItemCollection project=new ItemCollection();
project.setItemValue("projectname", "my first workflow project");
// get value map....
project.setItemValue("projectManager", teamMember.getAllItems());

In this code example the values of the ItemCollection “teamMemer” are stored as a HashMap into the ItemCollection “project” with is mapped to the item “projectManager”.

Working with FileData

The class org.imixs.workflow.FileData can be used to transfer files into a ItemCollection. A FileData object contains the following attributes:

  • name - the file name
  • content - a byte array of the file data
  • contentType - the file content type.

To attach a file into a ItemColleciton the method addFileData can be used:

FileData fileData=new FileData("test.jpg",  content, "image/jpg");

To get an attached file form a ItemCollection the method getFileData can be used:


To remove an existing fileData object the method removeFileDat can be called:


In addition the following $file meta data items are computed:

  • $file.count - count of files
  • $file.filenames - list of all file names

Get and Set all Items

The methods setAllItems() and getAllItems() can be used to set and get the raw data from the internal Map ValueObject. See the following example:

// create a Java HashMap
HashMap hashMap = new HashMap();
hashMap.put( "FirstName", "Anna" ); 
hashMap.put( "CostCenter", new Integer(2222) );
// put data object into ItemCollection
myItemCollection = new ItemCollection();
// read value
String firstname=myItemCollection.getItemValueString("firstname");

Accessing Workflow Data

The ItemCollection provides convenience methods to access typical attributes of a process iInstance. See the following table:

Method Return
getType() returns the type attribute of a workitem
getTaskID() returns the $taskID attribute of a workitem
getEventID() returns the $eventID attribute of an workitem
setEventID(id) set the $eventID attribute of a workitem
getModelVersion() returns the $modelversion attribute of a workitem
getUniqueID() returns the $uniqueId attribute of a workitem

Create an ItemCollection by Reference

The ItemCollection provides constructor methods to create or clone an existing ItemCollection:

// create a ItemCollection from an existing instance
ItemCollection myItemCollection=new ItemCollection(origin);

This method call is equal to clone an instance:

// clone ItemCollection from an existing instance
ItemCollection myItemCollection = (ItemCollection)origin.clone();

In both cases a deep copy of the given value map is created. A deep copy avoids write conflicts with value references. Particular in cases of embedded value arrays a deep copy is recommended.

In cases where the values of a map are readonly, a given value map can alternatively be copied by reference. The method call createByReference() has a better performance but copies the values by reference.

// create a ItemCollection by reference
ItemCollection myItemCollection = ItemCollection.createByReference(origin);

It is recommended to use the constructor methods if the origin of the reference is not clear. For more information see the javaDoc.