Java program uses the following construction: (provided mainly for context)

public class Utils {
  public static final byte PROVIDER_FOO = 0;
  public static final byte PROVIDER_MOO = 1;
  public static final byte PROVIDER_BAR = 2;
  public static final byte PROVIDER_FUR = 3;
  public static final byte PROVIDER_BOO = 4;
  public static final byte PROVIDER_ANOTHER_FOO = 5;
  public static final byte PROVIDER_YET_ANOTHER = 6;

  public static String [] PROVIDERS = {"FOO", "MOO", "BAR", "FUR", "BOO",



So, each element of array has a number. And each array index in range 0..6 has text representation. Text representation is using in outer world: reading configs, printing results. Number representation is using in internal tasks. So, there a problem to transform text representation to number and vice versa. Number is transferring to string as following:

// someObject.getProviderNumeric() returns numeric value for someObj's provider
String strProvider = Utils.PROVIDERS[someObj.getProviderNumeric()] 

String is transferring to number like this:

int getNumericByText(String strProvider) {
  for (int i = 0; i < Utils.PROVIDER_YET_ANOTHER; ++i) {
    if (strProvider.equals(Utils.PROVIDERS[i])) {
      return i;
  return -1;

It looks pretty bulky. What is the best way to rewrite?

  • \$\begingroup\$ I am on the fence with this question. It looks very much like example code, which I think/hope you have heard before that we don't like here. Unlike Stack Overflow, we prefer to look at real code instead of example code. That said, I feel that most of your example code is only provided as context for your problem, which is why I currently have not voted to close. \$\endgroup\$ Jul 8, 2015 at 16:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SimonAndréForsberg - Thank you for your answer (+1). Actually the code in my questions is pretty coincide to the code in production. It was just renaming and some reduction. \$\endgroup\$
    – Loom
    Jul 9, 2015 at 14:34

2 Answers 2


In my opinion, what you need is an enum.

Use an enum and I believe what you are looking for will be provided for you.

public enum Utils {

String to int:


int to String:


Or if you want to be a bit more advanced, I suggest reading this answer of mine

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you! Utils.values[intValue].name(); doesn't work for me. Did you mean Utils.values()[intValue].name();? \$\endgroup\$
    – Loom
    Jul 9, 2015 at 14:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Loom yes, exactly! \$\endgroup\$ Jul 9, 2015 at 14:56

The obvious solution is to use an enum with custom fields for the numeric value and the custom string representation, and a static map to cache the mapping of string values to the enumerated values. Something like this:

enum Provider {
    FOO(0, "Foo"),
    MOO(1, " Moo"),
    BAR(2, "Bar");

    private final byte value;
    private final String label;

    private static final Map<String, Provider> map;
    static {
        map = new HashMap<>();
        for (Provider provider : Provider.values()) {
            map.put(provider.label, provider);

    private Provider(byte value, String label) {
        this.value = value;
        this.label = label;

    public static Provider fromString(String label) {
        return map.get(label);

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