This is well known behaviour. The key thing to remember is that parameters, be they init parameters or from any other source, are stored internally as a Hashtable. [don't be surprised if seems they are actually stored in a Dictionary or a Properties, they're the same thing ] Now the key thing about a Hashtable is that it is optimised for fast and simple retrieval of single entries, and part of the cost of that is that the order of the entries is lost. In cases which really need a Hashtable which preserves ordering, there is a new data structure as part of the Java 2 collections API. In this case though, yes it is normal for them to come out in a different order, but this is OK, because the order shouldn't be important to your code. Please let me know if the order is important, and we can sort out a solution for you here.