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The JSP Files (part 2): Attack Of The Killer Fortune Cookies
Conditional expressions, logical and comparsion operators, and a basket full of fortune cookies. What more could you ask for?

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And just as you can compare numbers, JSP also allows you to compare strings, with a couple of very useful String object methods.

First, the equals() method allows you to check whether the value of a particular string variable matches another. The following example should demonstrate this.

// define variables
String myFavourite = "chocolate";
String yourFavourite = "strawberry";

// compare strings
if (myFavourite.equals(yourFavourite))
out.println("A match made in heaven!");
out.println("Naw - try again!");

Try changing the values of the variables to match each other, and gasp in awe as the output changes.

In case the equals() method doesn't appeal to you, JSP offers you a choice in the form of the compareTo() method, which returns a value indicating which of the two strings is greater. Take a look:

// define variables
String alpha = "abcdef";
String beta = "zyxwvu";

// compare strings

In this case, if the value of the variable "beta" is greater than that of the variable "alpha", the compareTo() method will return a negative integer; if it's the other way around, the comparison will return a positive integer. And if the two strings are identical, the comparison will return 0.

Incidentally, the comparison is based on both the first character of the string, and the number of characters in the string. One string is considered "greater" than another if the numeric value of its first character is greater, or if its length is greater. In the example above, "z" has a greater numeric code than "a", and so the comparison will return a negative integer. But don't take our word for it - try it yourself and see!

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