Jackson JSON – Introduction

Jackson is a widely used and powerful Java library for processing JSON data. It provides a comprehensive set of features for parsing, generating, and manipulating JSON.

Jackson JSON Overview

Here’s an overview of the Jackson JSON library:

1. Data Binding: Jackson’s data binding feature allows you to convert between Java objects and JSON data seamlessly. It provides two main classes for this purpose:

  • ObjectMapper: The core class that handles data binding. It can serialize Java objects into JSON and deserialize JSON into Java objects.
  • JsonNode: Represents a JSON tree model that can be used to navigate and manipulate JSON data.

2. Streaming API: Jackson offers a low-level streaming API for processing JSON data in a streaming manner. This is memory-efficient and suitable for handling large JSON files or streams.

  • JsonParser: Reads JSON data sequentially and allows you to navigate through the JSON structure.
  • JsonGenerator: Writes JSON data incrementally, allowing you to create JSON documents step by step.

3. Tree Model: The tree model represents JSON data as a hierarchical structure of JsonNode objects. This model is useful when you need to perform random access and manipulation of JSON data.

4. Annotations: Jackson provides annotations that allow you to control how Java objects are serialized and deserialized:

  • @JsonProperty: Specifies the name of a property when serialized to or deserialized from JSON.
  • @JsonIgnore: Excludes a property from being serialized or deserialized.
  • @JsonFormat: Specifies formatting details for date and numeric properties.
  • @JsonInclude: Controls which properties are included in serialization based on their values.

5. Polymorphic Type Handling: Jackson supports polymorphic type handling, allowing you to work with objects of different subtypes when serializing and deserializing. This is useful for handling inheritance and interfaces.

6. Custom Serialization and Deserialization: You can create custom serializers and deserializers to handle complex or non-standard JSON structures, as well as to control the serialization/deserialization process.

7. Date and Time Handling: Jackson provides support for handling various date and time formats, including ISO-8601, custom formats, and time zones.

8. Pretty Printing: Jackson allows you to generate formatted and indented JSON output, making it more human-readable.

9. Module System: Jackson has an extensible module system that allows you to add additional functionality, such as support for third-party data formats or custom serialization/deserialization logic.

10. High Performance: Jackson is known for its speed and efficiency. It employs various optimization techniques to ensure efficient JSON processing.

11. Integration with Other Libraries: Jackson can be integrated with other Java libraries and frameworks, making it suitable for use in web applications, RESTful services, and more.

Overall, Jackson is a versatile and powerful JSON library that provides multiple ways to work with JSON data in Java applications. Its rich feature set, customization options, and performance make it a popular choice for developers dealing with JSON.

Advantages of Jackson JSON

  • Feature-Rich: Jackson provides a wide array of features for processing JSON data, including data binding, streaming, tree models, annotations, and more. This allows developers to choose the most suitable approach for their specific use case.
  • Flexible Serialization and Deserialization: Jackson’s data binding feature offers flexibility in how Java objects are serialized to JSON and vice versa.
  • Performance: Jackson is known for its high performance and efficiency, making it suitable for applications that require fast JSON processing.
  • Polymorphic Type Handling: Jackson’s support for polymorphic type handling makes it easier to work with object hierarchies and interfaces.
  • Memory Efficiency: The streaming API and tree model allow for memory-efficient handling of JSON data, which is beneficial when dealing with large JSON files or streams.
  • Wide Adoption: Jackson is widely adopted in the Java community, which means you can find plenty of resources, tutorials, and community support.
  • Integration: Jackson can be easily integrated with other Java libraries, frameworks, and tools, such as Spring Framework, JAX-RS, and more.

Jackson JSON Dependency

To use the Jackson JSON library in your Java project, you need to add its dependencies to your project’s build path. There are different modules within the Jackson Library, and you can choose the ones you need based on your project’s requirements. Here are the commonly used Jackson modules and their Maven dependencies:

Jackson modules

  • jackson-core: This module contains the low-level streaming API for reading and writing JSON data.
  • jackson-databind: This module provides the core data binding functionality for mapping JSON to Java objects and vice versa.
  • jackson-annotations: This module provides annotations used for customizing the serialization and deserialization process.

Maven dependencies

You can include these dependencies in your project’s pom.xml file if you’re using Maven.


Keep in mind that the specific modules you need will depend on the features you want to use from the Jackson Library. In most cases, you’ll likely need the jackson-databind module, which provides the core data binding functionality.

Compatibility with JDK

The Jackson JSON library is compatible with various versions of Java. The exact compatibility depends on the version of Jackson you are using.

  • Versions 2.0 – 2.7 require JDK 6
  • Versions 2.8 – 2.12 require JDK 7
  • Versions 2.13 and above require JDK 8 or above

How to use Jackson JSON?

Here are some basic steps to get you started:

Step 1: Set Up Your Project

  1. Create a new Java project in your preferred IDE.
  2. Add the Jackson libraries to your project. You can do this by either downloading the JAR files and adding them to your project’s build path, or by using a build tool like Maven or Gradle to manage dependencies.

For Maven, add the following dependency to your pom.xml:


Step 2: Basic JSON Parsing

Import the necessary Jackson classes:

import com.fasterxml.jackson.databind.ObjectMapper;
import java.io.IOException;

Create an instance of the ObjectMapper class, which is the main entry point for Jackson’s JSON handling:

ObjectMapper objectMapper = new ObjectMapper();

Parse JSON from a String:

String json = "{\"name\":\"John\",\"age\":30}";
try {
    // Deserialize JSON into a Map
    Map<String, Object> jsonMap = objectMapper.readValue(json, new TypeReference<Map<String, Object>>() {});
    // Access values from the Map
    String name = (String) jsonMap.get("name");
    int age = (int) jsonMap.get("age");
    System.out.println("Name: " + name);
    System.out.println("Age: " + age);
} catch (IOException e) {

Step 3: Generating JSON

Create a Java object:

public class Person {
    private String name;
    private int age;
    // Getters and setters

Serialize the Java object to JSON:

Person person = new Person();

try {
    // Serialize Java object to JSON
    String jsonString = objectMapper.writeValueAsString(person);
} catch (IOException e) {

This is just a basic introduction to using the Jackson library for JSON parsing and generation in Java. Jackson library provides many more features for handling complex JSON structures.

Jackson Documentation

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