public class Properties
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The Properties class represents a persistent set of properties. The Properties can be saved to a stream or loaded from a stream. Each key and its corresponding value in the property list is a string.

A property list can contain another property list as its "defaults"; this second property list is searched if the property key is not found in the original property list.

Because Properties inherits from Hashtable, the put and putAll methods can be applied to a Properties object. Their use is strongly discouraged as they allow the caller to insert entries whose keys or values are not Strings. The setProperty method should be used instead. If the store or save method is called on a "compromised" Properties object that contains a non- String key or value, the call will fail. Similarly, the call to the propertyNames or list method will fail if it is called on a "compromised" Properties object that contains a non- String key.

The load(Reader) / store(Writer, String) methods load and store properties from and to a character based stream in a simple line-oriented format specified below. The load(InputStream) / store(OutputStream, String) methods work the same way as the load(Reader)/store(Writer, String) pair, except the input/output stream is encoded in ISO 8859-1 character encoding. Characters that cannot be directly represented in this encoding can be written using Unicode escapes as defined in section 3.3 of The Java™ Language Specification; only a single 'u' character is allowed in an escape sequence. The native2ascii tool can be used to convert property files to and from other character encodings.

The loadFromXML(InputStream) and storeToXML(OutputStream, String, String) methods load and store properties in a simple XML format. By default the UTF-8 character encoding is used, however a specific encoding may be specified if required. Implementations are required to support UTF-8 and UTF-16 and may support other encodings. An XML properties document has the following DOCTYPE declaration:

 <!DOCTYPE properties SYSTEM "">
Note that the system URI ( is not accessed when exporting or importing properties; it merely serves as a string to uniquely identify the DTD, which is:
    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>

    <!-- DTD for properties -->

    <!ELEMENT properties ( comment?, entry* ) >

    <!ATTLIST properties version CDATA #FIXED "1.0">

    <!ELEMENT comment (#PCDATA) >

    <!ELEMENT entry (#PCDATA) >

    <!ATTLIST entry key CDATA #REQUIRED>

This class is thread-safe: multiple threads can share a single Properties object without the need for external synchronization.

extends Hashtable<Object, Object>

See also:
native2ascii tool for Solaris, native2ascii tool for Windows

Since:  JDK1.0