How to customise the Jackson JSON mapper in Spring Web MVC

Customise the Jackson JSON mapper in Spring Web MVC

Published: Saturday, 21 May 2011
java spring webmvc jackson

Spring MVC with annotations is great for AJAX + JSON until you need to customise the JSON mapping.

If you are using Spring 3.1 take a look at configuring a message converter as part of the mvc namespace config for a more elegant solution.

There is an option to add annotations directly to your model classes, but if you want to keep them separate you can do the following:

Create a custom mapper class

In this example we are using joda-time‘s LocalDate, and want to serialize this to as a "yyyy-MM-dd" formatted String, instead of the provided 3 field mapping.

public class LocalDateSerializer extends SerializerBase<LocalDate> {

    public LocalDateSerializer() {

    public void serialize(LocalDate value, JsonGenerator jgen, SerializerProvider provider) throws IOException {
        jgen.writeString(value.toString()); // this returns the date as "yyyy-MM-dd"

    public JsonNode getSchema(SerializerProvider provider, Type typeHint) throws JsonMappingException {
        throw new UnsupportedOperationException();

Create a custom ObjectMapper

Create a custom ObjectMapper by extending the default Jackson ObjectMapper.

public class CustomObjectMapper extends ObjectMapper {
    public CustomObjectMapper() {
        CustomSerializerFactory sf = new CustomSerializerFactory();
        sf.addSpecificMapping(LocalDate.class, new LocalDateSerializer());

Register classes in the Spring context

Register the new mapper at start up, by getting at the beans that were created by <mvc:annotation-driven />

public class JacksonFix {
    private AnnotationMethodHandlerAdapter annotationMethodHandlerAdapter;
    private CustomObjectMapper objectMapper;

    public void init() {
        HttpMessageConverter<?>[] messageConverters = annotationMethodHandlerAdapter.getMessageConverters();
        for (HttpMessageConverter<?> messageConverter : messageConverters) {
            if (messageConverter instanceof MappingJacksonHttpMessageConverter) {
                MappingJacksonHttpMessageConverter m = (MappingJacksonHttpMessageConverter) messageConverter;

    // this will exist due to the <mvc:annotation-driven/> bean
    public void setAnnotationMethodHandlerAdapter(AnnotationMethodHandlerAdapter annotationMethodHandlerAdapter) {
        this.annotationMethodHandlerAdapter  = annotationMethodHandlerAdapter;

    public void setObjectMapper(CustomObjectMapper objectMapper) {
        this.objectMapper = objectMapper;

If you are using IntelliJ, you can add a suppress warning annotation at the top of the file:


Spring will set the 2 fields first, then run the init() method. It will ‘dig’ at the existing beans and find the Jackson converter, then replace the default object mapper with the custom object mapper.


Jackson Project Home.