Java Jackson JSON Ignore Unknown Fields

1. Overview

Handling JSON data in a Java application can sometimes present challenges, especially when the incoming JSON contains fields that aren't mapped to the corresponding Java class. Instead of throwing exceptions and causing issues, Jackson provides an elegant way to deal with this common scenario: ignoring unknown fields. This guide illustrates how to achieve this with a User Management System example.

Check out all the Java Jackson JSON tutorials and examples: 50+ Java Jackson JSON Tutorials with Examples

Annotation Overview

@JsonIgnoreProperties: This annotation is used on the target class level and allows you to specify which properties (fields) to ignore during serialization and deserialization. The special value "ignoreUnknown" can be set to true to indicate that all unknown fields should be ignored.

2. Development Steps

1. Set up a new Maven project.

2. Add the necessary Jackson core dependencies.

3. Define the User Java class and annotate it to ignore unknown fields.

4. Demonstrate deserialization with extra JSON fields.

3. Create a Maven Project

There are different ways to create a simple Maven project:

Create a Simple Maven Project using the Command Line Interface

Create a Simple Maven Project using  Eclipse IDE

Create a Simple Maven Project using  IntelliJ IDEA

4. Maven Dependencies

Open the pom.xml file, and add the following Jackson data binding dependency:


5. Code Program

import com.fasterxml.jackson.annotation.JsonIgnoreProperties;
import com.fasterxml.jackson.databind.ObjectMapper;
// Model class
@JsonIgnoreProperties(ignoreUnknown = true)
class User {
    private String id;
    private String name;
    // Standard getters, setters, and constructor omitted for brevity
    public String toString() {
        return "User [id=" + id + ", name=" + name + "]";
public class MainApp {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        String jsonData = "{\"id\":\"1\", \"name\":\"John Doe\", \"age\":30}";
        ObjectMapper objectMapper = new ObjectMapper();
        try {
            User user = objectMapper.readValue(jsonData, User.class);
        } catch (Exception e) {


User [id=1, name=John Doe]

Code Explanation:

1. The User class represents a user entity. Here, it contains fields for ID and name.

2. We use the @JsonIgnoreProperties(ignoreUnknown = true) annotation on the User class. This ensures that while deserializing, any fields in the JSON that do not map to fields in the User class are simply ignored instead of causing an error.

3. Within the MainApp class, the JSON string has an extra field age that doesn't exist in the User class.

4. We use the ObjectMapper class to perform the conversion of the JSON string into a User object.

5. Despite the extra age field in the JSON string, the program runs without issues, and the output displays the deserialized data minus the age field.

6. Conclusion

Ignoring unknown JSON fields is crucial in scenarios where the application's data model might differ from incoming JSON or when dealing with evolving data sources. Jackson's @JsonIgnoreProperties provides a neat solution, ensuring the robustness and flexibility of the application.

Check out all the Java Jackson JSON tutorials and examples: 50+ Java Jackson JSON Tutorials with Examples