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Deserialize missing value of `EXTERNAL_PROPERTY` type using custom `NullValueProvider`

See original GitHub issue

Is your feature request related to a problem? Please describe. I am currently trying to deserialize a structure with a generic field that has an external type property, where the type property is always present, but the actual property may be absent, in which case it should just use a custom NullValueProvider.

The json can either look like this:

  "type": "inner-implementation",
  "value": {
    "foo": "bar"

Or like this, in which case value should use the NullValueProvider:

  "type": "inner-implementation"

The outer type looks like this:

public class Wrapper<I extends Inner> {
    @JsonTypeInfo(use = Id.NAME, include = As.EXTERNAL_PROPERTY)
    private I value;

    public Wrapper(@JsonProperty(value = "value", required = true) I value) {
        this.value = value;

And the inner types all implement this interface:

public interface Inner {}

With an implementation of the inner type looking like this:

@JsonDeserialize(using = InnerImplementationDeserializer.class)
public class InnerImplementation implements Inner {
    private String foo;

    public InnerImplementation(@Nullable String foo) { = foo;

Each implementation of Inner also has a deserializer which implements the getNullValue method:

class InnerImplementationDeserializer extends StdNodeBasedDeserializer<InnerImplementation> {
    protected InnerImplementationDeserializer() {

    public InnerImplementation convert(JsonNode root, DeserializationContext ctxt) throws IOException {
        JsonNode foo = root.get("foo");

        return new InnerImplementation(foo != null ? foo.textValue() : null);

    public InnerImplementation getNullValue(DeserializationContext ctxt) throws JsonMappingException {
        return new InnerImplementation(null);


The first snippet deserializes without problems, and when I remove required = true from the value property, the second snippet deserializes with Wrapper#value being null. With required = true however, a com.fasterxml.jackson.databind.exc.MismatchedInputException is thrown.

The exception originates from this part of the jackson databind codebase.

Describe the solution you’d like In the linked snippet of jackson code, it would in my opinion be appropriate to use the custom NullValueProviders if FAIL_ON_MISSING_EXTERNAL_TYPE_ID_PROPERTY is disabled.

Usage example The feature would work like shown above, however depending on how reasonable this approach generally is, the option FAIL_ON_MISSING_EXTERNAL_TYPE_ID_PROPERTY could be disabled by default.

Additional context The underlying WRAPPER_ARRAY property used in the background by EXTERNAL_PROPERTY was already changed to support this behaviour:

Issue Analytics

  • State:closed
  • Created a year ago
  • Comments:6 (6 by maintainers)

github_iconTop GitHub Comments

fxshleincommented, Jul 5, 2022

Fix could be simple, or very difficult, it unfortunately depends on how current handling is implemented.

Given that the ExternalTypeHandler just “fakes” an array structure, and the deserializer for EXTERNAL_PROPERTY then just extends the one for WRAPPER_ARRAY and inherits all its behavior, including (which is basically the same issue as this one, just for arrays), this is already supported by the deserializer. In the absent case, the ExternalTypeHandler just needs to not write the second field of the array, like I already tested here:

cowtowncodercommented, Aug 3, 2022

Merged, will be in 2.14.0.

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