Jackson, JAXB, OpenAPI and Spring

Imagine that you have a service that enriches some data. The model for the data that needs to be enriched is generated from an XSD. The model for the enriching data (the wrapper) is generated from OpenAPI specs. Those two separate models need to be combined and sent out via Spring’s RestTemplate. The problem is that the generated models interfere with each other, and the combination of models doesn’t serialize correctly.

To solve the problem of interference, we’re going to transform the XSD-generated model to a generic JSON model (using the org.json library). That way we eliminate the XML annotations, and we can just send the OpenAPI model.

XML model to JSONObject

Our wrapper model accepts any Object as payload. We can set our XmlModel there, but we can also set a JSONObject. However, we need to transform our XML model to JSONObject. We can use Jackson for this, when we use the right AnnotationInspector. We’re not going to transform the model directly to JSONObject, but we use a String representation as an intermediate step. Once we have converted our XmlModel to JSONObject, we can set that as our payload.

private JSONObject toJSONObject(XmlModel xmlModel) {
  try {
    ObjectMapper objectMapper = new ObjectMapper();
    new JaxbAnnotationIntrospector(TypeFactory.defaultInstance()));
    String content = objectMapper.writeValueAsString(xmlModel);
    return new JSONObject(content);
  } catch (JsonProcessingException e) {
    // Shouldn't happen.
    log.severe("Error translating to JSONObject");
    throw new IllegalStateException(
      "Error translating to JSONObject");

Configure RestTemplate

Now we have a model that can serialize, but our RestTemplate can’t handle it yet. Specifically, The ObjectMapper that the RestTemplate uses can’t handle the JSONObject. But we can configure our custom ObjectMapper and tell the RestTemplate to use that one. To serialize the JSONObject, we need to add the JsonOrgModule. And while we’re at it, we’re going to add the JavaTimeModule so we can serialize dates and times. We can’t set the ObjectMapper directly, we need to set it on a MessageConverter. Then we need to explicitly set our MessageConverter as the first to be sure that it’s going to be used.

public RestTemplate myRestTemplate() {
  // Create and configurae
  ObjectMapper objectMapper = new ObjectMapper();
  objectMapper.registerModule(new JsonOrgModule());
  objectMapper.registerModule(new JavaTimeModule());

  // Configure MessageConverter
  MappingJackson2HttpMessageConverter converter = new MappingJackson2HttpMessageConverter();

  // Configure RestTemplate
  RestTemplate restTemplate =
     // create the RestTemplate;
       .add(0, outputgeneratiebeheerMessageConverter);

  return restTemplate;

Maven dependencies

The artifact jackson-module-jaxb-annotations contains the JaxbAnnotationIntrospector that we used to serialize the XML model. The jackson-datatype-json-org contains the JsonOrgModule that we used to serialize the JsonObjects. These dependencies need to be added, in addition to jackson



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