Java Jackson @JsonFormat

1. Overview

Jackson, a notable Java library, specializes in converting Java objects into JSON and vice versa. Sometimes, there's a need to customize the format of certain fields, especially date and time fields, during this conversion. Jackson's @JsonFormat annotation comes to the rescue in these scenarios.

@JsonFormat Annotation Overview

The @JsonFormat annotation is instrumental in specifying the format in which date, time, and number fields should be serialized and deserialized. This annotation provides fine-grained control over these formats, ensuring consistency in the representation of such fields in JSON outputs.

2. Development Steps

1. Launch a new Maven project.

2. Incorporate the essential Jackson dependencies.

3. Design the User class and apply the @JsonFormat annotation for date formatting.

4. Develop a separate class for the serialization mechanism.

5. Construct a main class to exhibit the serialization.

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

Pivoting on the User Management System as our example, let's proceed:
import com.fasterxml.jackson.annotation.JsonFormat;
import java.util.Date;
public class User {
    private String username;
    @JsonFormat(shape = JsonFormat.Shape.STRING, pattern = "dd-MM-yyyy")
    private Date birthdate;
    // Standard constructors, getters, and setters...
import com.fasterxml.jackson.core.JsonProcessingException;
import com.fasterxml.jackson.databind.ObjectMapper;
public class JsonSerializer {
    public static String serializeToJson(Object object) throws JsonProcessingException {
        ObjectMapper mapper = new ObjectMapper();
        return mapper.writeValueAsString(object);
import java.util.Calendar;
public class MainClass {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        User user = new User();
        Calendar calendar = Calendar.getInstance();
        calendar.set(1990, Calendar.JANUARY, 1);
        try {
            String json = JsonSerializer.serializeToJson(user);
        } catch (JsonProcessingException e) {



Code Explanation:

In the User class, the birthdate field, which is of type Date, is annotated with @JsonFormat to dictate its desired format during serialization. This ensures that the date is represented in the "dd-MM-yyyy" format in the resultant JSON. 

The JsonSerializer class facilitates serialization using Jackson's ObjectMapper

MainClass serves as the driver class, creating an instance of the User, setting its attributes, and invoking the serialization logic to produce the formatted JSON output.

6. Conclusion

The @JsonFormat annotation in Jackson affords developers the versatility to precisely format date, time, and number fields during the JSON conversion process. It ensures uniformity and clarity in JSON outputs, even when dealing with complex data types.