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Gson: How to exclude specific fields from Serialization without annotations

Posted by: admin November 2, 2017 Leave a comment

Questions:

I’m trying to learn Gson and I’m struggling with field exclusion. Here are my classes

public class Student {    
  private Long                id;
  private String              firstName        = "Philip";
  private String              middleName       = "J.";
  private String              initials         = "P.F";
  private String              lastName         = "Fry";
  private Country             country;
  private Country             countryOfBirth;
}

public class Country {    
  private Long                id;
  private String              name;
  private Object              other;
}

I can use the GsonBuilder and add an ExclusionStrategy for a field name like firstName or country but I can’t seem to manage to exclude properties of certain fields like country.name.

Using the method public boolean shouldSkipField(FieldAttributes fa), FieldAttributes doesn’t contain enough information to match the field with a filter like country.name.

I would appreciate any help with a solution for this problem.

P.S: I want to avoid annotations since I want to improve on this and use RegEx to filter fields out.

Thank you

Edit: I’m trying to see if it’s possible to emulate the behavior of Struts2 JSON plugin

using Gson

<interceptor-ref name="json">
  <param name="enableSMD">true</param>
  <param name="excludeProperties">
    login.password,
    studentList.*\.sin
  </param>
</interceptor-ref>

Edit:
I reopened the question with the following addition:

I added a second field with the same type to futher clarify this problem. Basically I want to exclude country.name but not countrOfBirth.name. I also don’t want to exclude Country as a type.
So the types are the same it’s the actual place in the object graph that I want to pinpoint and exclude.

Answers:

Any fields you don’t want serialized in general you should use the “transient” modifier, and this also applies to json serializers (at least it does to a few that I have used, including gson).

If you don’t want name to show up in the serialized json give it a transient keyword, eg:

private transient String name;

More details in the Gson documentation

Questions:
Answers:

Nishant provided a good solution, but there’s an easier way. Simply mark the desired fields with the @Expose annotation, such as:

@Expose private Long id;

Leave out any fields that you do not want to serialize. Then just create your Gson object this way:

Gson gson = new GsonBuilder().excludeFieldsWithoutExposeAnnotation().create();

Questions:
Answers:

So, you want to exclude firstName and country.name. Here is what your ExclusionStrategy should look like

    public class TestExclStrat implements ExclusionStrategy {

        public boolean shouldSkipClass(Class<?> arg0) {
            return false;
        }

        public boolean shouldSkipField(FieldAttributes f) {

            return (f.getDeclaringClass() == Student.class && f.getName().equals("firstName"))||
            (f.getDeclaringClass() == Country.class && f.getName().equals("name"));
        }

    }

If you see closely it returns true for Student.firstName and Country.name, which is what you want to exclude.

You need to apply this ExclusionStrategy like this,

    Gson gson = new GsonBuilder()
        .setExclusionStrategies(new TestExclStrat())
        //.serializeNulls() <-- uncomment to serialize NULL fields as well
        .create();
    Student src = new Student();
    String json = gson.toJson(src);
    System.out.println(json);

This returns:

{“middleName”:”J.”,”initials”:”P.F”,”lastName”:”Fry”,”country”:{“id”:91}}

I assume the country object is initialized with id = 91L in student class.


You may get fancy. For example, you do not want to serialize any field that contains “name” string in it’s name. Do this

public boolean shouldSkipField(FieldAttributes f) {
    return f.getName().toLowerCase().contains("name"); 
}

this will return

{“initials”:”P.F”,”country”:{“id”:91}}


EDIT: Added more info as requested.

This ExclusionStrategy will do the thing, but you need to pass “Fully Qualified Field Name”. See below:

    public class TestExclStrat implements ExclusionStrategy {

        private Class<?> c;
        private String fieldName;
        public TestExclStrat(String fqfn) throws SecurityException, NoSuchFieldException, ClassNotFoundException
        {
            this.c = Class.forName(fqfn.substring(0, fqfn.lastIndexOf(".")));
            this.fieldName = fqfn.substring(fqfn.lastIndexOf(".")+1);
        }
        public boolean shouldSkipClass(Class<?> arg0) {
            return false;
        }

        public boolean shouldSkipField(FieldAttributes f) {

            return (f.getDeclaringClass() == c && f.getName().equals(fieldName));
        }

    }

Here is how we can use it generically.

    Gson gson = new GsonBuilder()
        .setExclusionStrategies(new TestExclStrat("in.naishe.test.Country.name"))
        //.serializeNulls()
        .create();
    Student src = new Student();
    String json = gson.toJson(src);
    System.out.println(json); 

It returns

{“firstName”:”Philip”,”middleName”:”J.”,”initials”:”P.F”,”lastName”:”Fry”,”country”:{“id”:91}}

Questions:
Answers:

After reading all available answers I found out, that most flexible, in my case, was to use custom @Exclude annotation. So, I implemented simple strategy for this (I didn’t want to mark all fields using @Expose nor I wanted to use transient which conflicted with in app Serializable serialization) :

Annotation:

@Retention(RetentionPolicy.RUNTIME)
@Target(ElementType.FIELD)
public @interface Exclude {
}

Strategy:

public class AnnotationExclusionStrategy implements ExclusionStrategy {

    @Override
    public boolean shouldSkipField(FieldAttributes f) {
        return f.getAnnotation(Exclude.class) != null;
    }

    @Override
    public boolean shouldSkipClass(Class<?> clazz) {
        return false;
    }
}

Usage:

new GsonBuilder().setExclusionStrategies(new AnnotationExclusionStrategy()).create();

Questions:
Answers:

I ran into this issue, in which I had a small number of fields I wanted to exclude only from serialization, so I developed a fairly simple solution that uses Gson’s @Expose annotation with custom exclusion strategies.

The only built-in way to use @Expose is by setting GsonBuilder.excludeFieldsWithoutExposeAnnotation(), but as the name indicates, fields without an explicit @Expose are ignored. As I only had a few fields I wanted to exclude, I found the prospect of adding the annotation to every field very cumbersome.

I effectively wanted the inverse, in which everything was included unless I explicitly used @Expose to exclude it. I used the following exclusion strategies to accomplish this:

new GsonBuilder()
        .addSerializationExclusionStrategy(new ExclusionStrategy() {
            @Override
            public boolean shouldSkipField(FieldAttributes fieldAttributes) {
                final Expose expose = fieldAttributes.getAnnotation(Expose.class);
                return expose != null && !expose.serialize();
            }

            @Override
            public boolean shouldSkipClass(Class<?> aClass) {
                return false;
            }
        })
        .addDeserializationExclusionStrategy(new ExclusionStrategy() {
            @Override
            public boolean shouldSkipField(FieldAttributes fieldAttributes) {
                final Expose expose = fieldAttributes.getAnnotation(Expose.class);
                return expose != null && !expose.deserialize();
            }

            @Override
            public boolean shouldSkipClass(Class<?> aClass) {
                return false;
            }
        })
        .create();

Now I can easily exclude a few fields with @Expose(serialize = false) or @Expose(deserialize = false) annotations (note that the default value for both @Expose attributes is true). You can of course use @Expose(serialize = false, deserialize = false), but that is more concisely accomplished by declaring the field transient instead (which does still take effect with these custom exclusion strategies).

Questions:
Answers:

You can explore the json tree with gson.

Try something like this :

gson.toJsonTree(student).getAsJsonObject()
.get("country").getAsJsonObject().remove("name");

You can add some properties also :

gson.toJsonTree(student).getAsJsonObject().addProperty("isGoodStudent", false);

Tested with gson 2.2.4.

Questions:
Answers:

I came up with a class factory to support this functionality. Pass in any combination of either fields or classes you want to exclude.

public class GsonFactory {

    public static Gson build(final List<String> fieldExclusions, final List<Class<?>> classExclusions) {
        GsonBuilder b = new GsonBuilder();
        b.addSerializationExclusionStrategy(new ExclusionStrategy() {
            @Override
            public boolean shouldSkipField(FieldAttributes f) {
                return fieldExclusions == null ? false : fieldExclusions.contains(f.getName());
            }

            @Override
            public boolean shouldSkipClass(Class<?> clazz) {
                return classExclusions == null ? false : classExclusions.contains(clazz);
            }
        });
        return b.create();

    }
}

To use, create two lists (each is optional), and create your GSON object:

static {
 List<String> fieldExclusions = new ArrayList<String>();
 fieldExclusions.add("id");
 fieldExclusions.add("provider");
 fieldExclusions.add("products");

 List<Class<?>> classExclusions = new ArrayList<Class<?>>();
 classExclusions.add(Product.class);
 GSON = GsonFactory.build(null, classExclusions);
}

private static final Gson GSON;

public String getSomeJson(){
    List<Provider> list = getEntitiesFromDatabase();
    return GSON.toJson(list);
}

Questions:
Answers:

Or can say whats fields not will expose with:

Gson gson = gsonBuilder.excludeFieldsWithModifiers(Modifier.TRANSIENT).create();

on your class on attribute:

private **transient** boolean nameAttribute;

Questions:
Answers:

I solved this problem with custom annotations.
This is my “SkipSerialisation” Annotation class:

@Target (ElementType.FIELD)
public @interface SkipSerialisation {

}

and this is my GsonBuilder:

gsonBuilder.addSerializationExclusionStrategy(new ExclusionStrategy() {

  @Override public boolean shouldSkipField (FieldAttributes f) {

    return f.getAnnotation(SkipSerialisation.class) != null;

  }

  @Override public boolean shouldSkipClass (Class<?> clazz) {

    return false;
  }
});

Example :

public class User implements Serializable {

  public String firstName;

  public String lastName;

  @SkipSerialisation
  public String email;
}

Questions:
Answers:

Another approach (especially useful if you need to make a decision to exclude a field at runtime) is to register a TypeAdapter with your gson instance. Example below:

Gson gson = new GsonBuilder()
.registerTypeAdapter(BloodPressurePost.class, new BloodPressurePostSerializer())

In the case below, the server would expect one of two values but since they were both ints then gson would serialize them both. My goal was to omit any value that is zero (or less) from the json that is posted to the server.

public class BloodPressurePostSerializer implements JsonSerializer<BloodPressurePost> {

    @Override
    public JsonElement serialize(BloodPressurePost src, Type typeOfSrc, JsonSerializationContext context) {
        final JsonObject jsonObject = new JsonObject();

        if (src.systolic > 0) {
            jsonObject.addProperty("systolic", src.systolic);
        }

        if (src.diastolic > 0) {
            jsonObject.addProperty("diastolic", src.diastolic);
        }

        jsonObject.addProperty("units", src.units);

        return jsonObject;
    }
}

Questions:
Answers:

I used this strategy:
i excluded every field which is not marked with @SerializedName annotation, i.e.:

public class Dummy {

    @SerializedName("VisibleValue")
    final String visibleValue;
    final String hiddenValue;

    public Dummy(String visibleValue, String hiddenValue) {
        this.visibleValue = visibleValue;
        this.hiddenValue = hiddenValue;
    }
}


public class SerializedNameOnlyStrategy implements ExclusionStrategy {

    @Override
    public boolean shouldSkipField(FieldAttributes f) {
        return f.getAnnotation(SerializedName.class) == null;
    }

    @Override
    public boolean shouldSkipClass(Class<?> clazz) {
        return false;
    }
}


Gson gson = new GsonBuilder()
                .setExclusionStrategies(new SerializedNameOnlyStrategy())
                .create();

Dummy dummy = new Dummy("I will see this","I will not see this");
String json = gson.toJson(dummy);

It returns

{“VisibleValue”:”I will see this”}

Questions:
Answers:

I’m working just by putting the @Expose annotation, here my version that I use

compile 'com.squareup.retrofit2:retrofit:2.0.2'
compile 'com.squareup.retrofit2:converter-gson:2.0.2'

In Model class:

@Expose
int number;

public class AdapterRestApi {

In the Adapter class:

public EndPointsApi connectRestApi() {
    OkHttpClient client = new OkHttpClient.Builder()
            .connectTimeout(90000, TimeUnit.SECONDS)
            .readTimeout(90000,TimeUnit.SECONDS).build();

    Retrofit retrofit = new Retrofit.Builder()
            .baseUrl(ConstantRestApi.ROOT_URL)
            .addConverterFactory(GsonConverterFactory.create())
            .client(client)
            .build();

    return retrofit.create  (EndPointsApi.class);
}