Hilla Documentation

Type Conversion Between Java and TypeScript

Understanding conversion of data types from Java to TypeScript and vice versa.

TypeScript to Java

When calling a Java endpoint method from TypeScript, ConnectClient serializes TypeScript call parameters to JSON and sends them to the Java backend. There they are deserialized into Java types using the Jackson JSON processing library. The return value of the Java endpoint method is sent back to TypeScript through the same pipeline in the opposite direction.

The default Hilla JSON ObjectMapper closely follows the Spring Boot auto-configuration defaults. One notable difference is that, in Hilla, the default object mapper is configured to discover private properties. Hence, all the fields, getters, setters and constructors are discoverable, even if they are declared as private. This is done in order to make serializing / deserializing custom objects easier.

The visibility level of the default ObjectMapper can be configured by setting the spring.jackson.visibility property (in common application properties). Other properties of the default ObjectMapper can be customized by following the Spring Boot documentation on the subject. Alternatively, the entire ObjectMapper can be replaced with a custom one by providing an ObjectMapper bean with the qualifier defined in com.vaadin.connect.HillaConnectController#VAADIN_ENDPOINT_MAPPER_BEAN_QUALIFIER.

The default ObjectMapper always converts TypeScript values to a JSON object before sending them to the backend, so that the values need to be compliant with the JSON specification. This only accepts values from the following types: string, number, array, boolean, JSON object or null. This implies that NaN and Infinity are non-compliant. If these values are sent, the server will return an error response: 400 Bad Request. Sending a parameter of undefined from TypeScript results in default values for primitive types, null for a Java object, and Optional.empty() for Optional.

The default conversion rules are summarized as follows (TypeScript-compliant values are converted to the corresponding values, otherwise the backend returns an error message):

To Receive Primitive Types in Java

Type boolean:

  • TypeScript-compliant values:

    • A boolean value: true β‡’ true and false β‡’ false

  • Non-compliant values:

    • Any value that is not a valid boolean type in TypeScript

Type char:

  • TypeScript-compliant values:

    • A single character string: 'a' β‡’ 'a'

  • Non-compliant values:

    • Any string value that has more than one character

    • Any value that is not a valid string type in TypeScript

  • UTF-16 and Unicode: Both Java and TypeScript internally use UTF-16 for string encoding. This makes string conversion between backend and frontend trivial. However, using UTF-16 has its limitations and corner cases. Most notably, a string like "πŸ₯‘" might seem like a single-character that can be passed to Java as a char. However, both in TypeScript and Java, it is actually a two-character string, because the U+1F951 symbol takes two characters in UTF-16: \uD83E\uDD51. Thus, it is not a valid value for the Java char type.

Type byte:

  • TypeScript-compliant values:

    • An integer or decimal number in the range -129 < X < 256. 100, 100.0 and 100.9 β‡’ 100

  • Non-compliant values:

    • Any value which is not a number in TypeScript

    • Any number value which is outside the compliant range

  • Overflow number: if TypeScript sends a value which is greater than Java’s Byte.MAX_VALUE (28 - 1), the bits get rolled over. For example, if you send a value of 128 (Byte.MAX_VALUE + 1), the Java side receives -128(Byte.MIN_VALUE).

  • Underflow number: if the Java side expects a byte value but TypeScript sends an underflow number, for example -129 (Byte.MIN_VALUE - 1), the backend returns an error.

Type short:

  • TypeScript-compliant values:

    • An integer or decimal number in the range -216 < X < 216 - 1. 100, 100.0 and 100.9 β‡’ 100

  • Non-compliant values:

    • Any value which is not a number in TypeScript

    • Any number value which is outside the compliant range

  • Overflow and underflow numbers are not accepted for short.

Type int:

  • TypeScript-compliant values:

    • An integer or decimal number: 100, 100.0 and 100.9 β‡’ 100

  • Non-compliant values:

    • Any value which is not a number in TypeScript

  • Overflow number: if TypeScript sends a value which is greater than Java’s Integer.MAX_VALUE (231 - 1), the bits get rolled over. For example, if you send a value of 231 (Integer.MAX_VALUE + 1), the Java side receives -231 (Integer.MIN_VALUE).

  • Underflow number: the situation is reversed with overflow numbers. If you send -231 - 1 (Integer.MIN_VALUE - 1), the Java side receives 231 - 1 (Integer.MAX_VALUE).

Type long:

  • TypeScript-compliant values:

    • An integer or decimal number: 100, 100.0 and 100.9 β‡’ 100

  • Non-compliant values:

    • Any value which is not a number in TypeScript

  • Overflow and underflow numbers: bits get rolled over when receiving overflow/underflow numbers; that is, 263 β‡’ -263, -263 - 1 β‡’ 263 - 1

Type float and double:

  • TypeScript-compliant values:

    • An integer or decimal number: 100 and 100.0 β‡’ 100.0, 100.9 β‡’ 100.9

  • Non-compliant values:

    • Any value which is not a number in TypeScript

  • Overflow and underflow numbers are converted to Infinity and -Infinity respectively.

To Receive Boxed Primitive Types in Java

The conversion works in the same way as primitive types.

To Receive a String in Java

String values are kept the same when sent from TypeScript to the Java backend.

To Receive Date Time Types in Java

java.util.Date

  • TypeScript-compliant values:

    • A string that represents an epoch timestamp in milliseconds: '1546300800000' is converted to a java.util.Date instance that contains the value of the date 2019-01-01T00:00:00.000+0000.

  • Non-compliant values:

    • A non-number string, for example 'foo'

java.time.Instant

  • TypeScript-compliant values:

    • A string that represents an epoch timestamp in seconds: '1546300800' is converted to a java.time.Instant instance that contains the value of 2019-01-01T00:00:00Z.

  • Non-compliant values:

    • A non-number string, for example 'foo'

java.time.LocalDate

  • TypeScript-compliant values:

    • A string that follows the java.time.format.DateTimeFormatter#ISO_LOCAL_DATE format yyyy-MM-dd: '2018-12-16', '2019-01-01'.

  • Non-compliant values:

    • An incorrect-format string, for example 'foo'

java.time.LocalDateTime

  • TypeScript-compliant values:

    • A string that follows the java.time.format.DateTimeFormatter#ISO_LOCAL_DATE_TIME format:

      • With full time: '2019-01-01T12:34:56'

      • Without seconds: '2019-01-01T12:34'

      • With full time and milliseconds: '2019-01-01T12:34:56.78'

  • Non-compliant values:

    • An incorrect-format string, for example 'foo'

To Receive an Enum in Java

  • TypeScript-compliant value:

    • A string with the same name as an enum. Assume that we have an [enum-declaration]; then sending "FIRST" from TypeScript would result in an instance of FIRST with value=1 in Java.

public enum TestEnum {

  FIRST(1), SECOND(2), THIRD(3);

  private final int value;

  TestEnum(int value) {
    this.value = value;
  }

  public int getValue() {
    return this.value;
  }
}
  • Non-compliant values:

    • A non-matched string with name of the expected Enum type

    • Any other types: boolean, object or array

To Receive an Array in Java

  • TypeScript-compliant values:

    • An array of items with expected type in Java, for example:

      • Expected in Java int[]: [1, 2, 3] β‡’ [1,2,3], [1.9, 2, 3] β‡’ [1,2,3]

      • Expected in Java String[]: ["foo","bar"] β‡’ ["foo","bar"]

      • Expected in Java Object[]: ["foo", 1, null, "bar"] β‡’ ["foo", 1, null, "bar"]

  • Non-compliant values:

    • A non-array input: "foo", "[1,2,3]", 1

To Receive a Collection in Java

  • TypeScript-compliant values:

    • An array of items with expected type in Java (or types that can be converted to expected types). For example, if you expected in Java:

      • Collection<Integer>: [1, 2, 3] β‡’ [1,2,3]

      • Collection<String>: ["foo","bar"] β‡’ ["foo","bar"]

      • Set<Integer>: [1, 2, 2, 3, 3, 3] β‡’ [1, 2, 3]

  • Non-compliant values:

    • A non-array input: "foo", "[1,2,3]", 1

To Receive a Map in Java

  • TypeScript-compliant value:

    • A TypeScript object with string key and value of the expected type in Java. For example, if the expected type in Java is Map<String, Integer>, the compliant object in TypeScript should have a type of { [key: string]: number; }, for example {one: 1, two: 2}.

  • Non-compliant values:

    • A value of another type

Note
Due to the fact that the TypeScript code is generated from the OpenAPI TypeScript Endpoints Generator and the OpenAPI specification has a limitation for the map type, the map key is always a string in TypeScript.

To Receive a Bean in Java

A bean is parsed from the input JSON object, which maps the keys of the JSON object to the property name of the bean object. You can also use Jackson’s annotation to customize your bean object. For more information about the annotations, see Jackson Annotations.

  • Example: assuming that we have [bean-example], a valid input for the bean looks like:

{
  "name": "MyBean",
  "address": "MyAddress",
  "age": 10,
  "isAdmin": true,
  "customProperty": "customValue"
}
public class MyBean {
  public String name;
  public String address;
  public int age;
  public boolean isAdmin;
  private String customProperty;

  @JsonGetter("customProperty")
  public String getCustomProperty() {
    return customProperty;
  }

  @JsonSetter("customProperty")
  public void setCustomProperty(String customProperty) {
    this.customProperty = customProperty;
  }
}

Java to TypeScript

The same object mapper used when converting from TypeScript to Java deserializes the return values in Java to the corresponding JSON object before sending them to the client side.

Type Conversion can be customized by using annotations on the object to serialize, as described in Customizing Type Conversion.

Type "number"

All the Java types that extend java.lang.Number are deserialized to number in TypeScript. There are a few exceptional cases with extremely large or small numbers. The safe integer range is from -(253 - 1) to 253 - 1. This means that only numbers in this range can be represented exactly and correctly compared. See (more information about safe integers).

In fact, not all long numbers in Java can be converted correctly to TypeScript, since its range is -263 to 263 - 1. Unsafe numbers are rounded using the rules defined in the IEEE-754 standard.

Special values such as NaN, POSITIVE_INFINITY and NEGATIVE_INFINITY are converted into string when sent to TypeScript.

Type "string"

The primitive type char, its boxed type Character and String in Java are converted to string type in TypeScript.

Type "boolean"

boolean and Boolean in Java are converted to boolean type when received in TypeScript.

Array of Items

Normal array types such as int[], MyBean[] and all the types that implement or extend java.lang.Collection become array when they are sent to TypeScript.

Object

Any kind of object in Java is converted to the corresponding defined type in TypeScript. For example, if your endpoint method returns a MyBean type, when you call the method, you will receive an object of type MyBean. If the generator cannot get information about your bean, it returns an object of type any.

Map

All types that inherit from java.lang.Map become objects in TypeScript with string keys and values of the corresponding type. For instance: Map<String, Integer> β‡’ { [key: string]: number; }.

Date Time

By default, the ObjectMapper converts Java’s date time to a string in TypeScript, with the following formats:

  • java.util.Date of 00:00:00 January 1st, 2019 β‡’ '2019-01-01T00:00:00.000+0000'

  • java.time.Instant of 00:00:00 January 1st, 2019 β‡’ '2019-01-01T00:00:00Z'

  • java.time.LocalDate of 00:00:00 January 1st, 2019 β‡’ '2019-01-01'

  • java.time.LocalDateTime of 00:00:00 January 1st, 2019 β‡’ '2019-01-01T00:00:00'

null

Returning null from Java throws a validation exception in TypeScript, unless the return type is Optional or the endpoint method is annotated with @Nullable (javax.annotation.Nullable).