Custom Conversions

The following example of a Spring Converter implementation converts from a String to a custom Email value object:

public class EmailReadConverter implements Converter<String, Email> {

  public Email convert(String source) {
    return Email.valueOf(source);

If you write a Converter whose source and target type are native types, we cannot determine whether we should consider it as a reading or a writing converter. Registering the converter instance as both might lead to unwanted results. For example, a Converter<String, Long> is ambiguous, although it probably does not make sense to try to convert all String instances into Long instances when writing. To let you force the infrastructure to register a converter for only one way, we provide @ReadingConverter and @WritingConverter annotations to be used in the converter implementation.

Converters are subject to explicit registration as instances are not picked up from a classpath or container scan to avoid unwanted registration with a conversion service and the side effects resulting from such a registration. Converters are registered with CustomConversions as the central facility that allows registration and querying for registered converters based on source- and target type.

CustomConversions ships with a pre-defined set of converter registrations:

  • JSR-310 Converters for conversion between java.time, java.util.Date and String types.

Default converters for local temporal types (e.g. LocalDateTime to java.util.Date) rely on system-default timezone settings to convert between those types. You can override the default converter, by registering your own converter.

Converter Disambiguation

Generally, we inspect the Converter implementations for the source and target types they convert from and to. Depending on whether one of those is a type the underlying data access API can handle natively, we register the converter instance as a reading or a writing converter. The following examples show a writing- and a read converter (note the difference is in the order of the qualifiers on Converter):

// Write converter as only the target type is one that can be handled natively
class MyConverter implements Converter<Person, String> { … }

// Read converter as only the source type is one that can be handled natively
class MyConverter implements Converter<String, Person> { … }

Type based Converter

The most trivial way of influencing the mapping result is by specifying the desired native MongoDB target type via the @Field annotation. This allows to work with non MongoDB types like BigDecimal in the domain model while persisting values in native org.bson.types.Decimal128 format.

Example 1. Explicit target type mapping
public class Payment {

  @Id String id; (1)

  @Field(targetType = FieldType.DECIMAL128) (2)
  BigDecimal value;

  Date date; (3)

  "_id"   : ObjectId("5ca4a34fa264a01503b36af8"), (1)
  "value" : NumberDecimal(2.099), (2)
  "date"   : ISODate("2019-04-03T12:11:01.870Z") (3)
1 String id values that represent a valid ObjectId are converted automatically. See How the _id Field is Handled in the Mapping Layer for details.
2 The desired target type is explicitly defined as Decimal128 which translates to NumberDecimal. Otherwise the BigDecimal value would have been truned into a String.
3 Date values are handled by the MongoDB driver itself an are stored as ISODate.

The snippet above is handy for providing simple type hints. To gain more fine-grained control over the mapping process, you can register Spring converters with the MongoConverter implementations, such as the MappingMongoConverter.

The MappingMongoConverter checks to see if any Spring converters can handle a specific class before attempting to map the object itself. To 'hijack' the normal mapping strategies of the MappingMongoConverter, perhaps for increased performance or other custom mapping needs, you first need to create an implementation of the Spring Converter interface and then register it with the MappingConverter.

For more information on the Spring type conversion service, see the reference docs here.

Writing Converter

The following example shows an implementation of the Converter that converts from a Person object to a org.bson.Document:

import org.springframework.core.convert.converter.Converter;

import org.bson.Document;

public class PersonWriteConverter implements Converter<Person, Document> {

  public Document convert(Person source) {
    Document document = new Document();
    document.put("_id", source.getId());
    document.put("name", source.getFirstName());
    document.put("age", source.getAge());
    return document;

Reading Converter

The following example shows an implementation of a Converter that converts from a Document to a Person object:

public class PersonReadConverter implements Converter<Document, Person> {

  public Person convert(Document source) {
    Person p = new Person((ObjectId) source.get("_id"), (String) source.get("name"));
    p.setAge((Integer) source.get("age"));
    return p;

Registering Converters

class MyMongoConfiguration extends AbstractMongoClientConfiguration {

	public String getDatabaseName() {
		return "database";

	protected void configureConverters(MongoConverterConfigurationAdapter adapter) {
		adapter.registerConverter(new com.example.PersonReadConverter());
		adapter.registerConverter(new com.example.PersonWriteConverter());