Integrating Morphia and Dropwizard

Recently i had the pleasure of using mongodb's document object mapper framework morphia and the REST webservice framework dropwizard (well it is more than simply for REST but that is the primary purpose of it).

Dropwizard comes with the following essential thirdparty libraries:

  1. Jackson - for JSON parsing
  2. Jetty - as embedded light weight Java EE web container
  3. Jersey - JAX-RS 2.0 implementation
  4. and some more... 
Morphia has annotations for POJO model classes that can be persisted in mongodb and is a nice framework that simplifies the development of a mongodb client application. At the same time we can use the same POJO model classes for REST endpoint implementations as well. So there is no need to have separate DTO and entity classes. The same POJO model classes are annotated as entities (using morphia's annotations) and as DTO (using Jackson's annotations).

A simple example for such a model class is given below:

@Entity(value = "students" , noClassnameStored = true, concern = "SAFE")
public class Student extends BaseModel {
    @Id    private String id = new ObjectId().toHexString();

    @Reference    private User user;

    @Reference    private List courseRefs;

    Date lastUpdated = new Date();

    @PrePersist    void prePersist() {
        lastUpdated = new Date();

    public Student(User user) {
        this.user = user;
        this.courseRefs = new ArrayList<>();

    public Student() {

    @JsonProperty    public Date getLastUpdated() {
        return lastUpdated;

    public void setLastUpdated(Date lastUpdated) {
        this.lastUpdated = lastUpdated;

    @JsonProperty    public List getCourseRefs() {
        return courseRefs;

    public void setCourseRefs(List courseRefs) {
        this.courseRefs = courseRefs;

    @JsonProperty    public User getUser() {
        return user;

    public void setUser(User user) {
        this.user = user;

    @JsonProperty    public String getId() {
        return id;

    public void setId(String id) { = id != null ? new ObjectId(id).toHexString() : new ObjectId().toHexString();

    @Override    public String toString() {
        return "Student{" +
                "id=" + id +
                ", user=" + user +
                ", courseRefs=" + courseRefs +
                ", lastUpdated=" + lastUpdated +

Morphia annotations are:

Jackson annotations used are:

Additionally with Dropwizard we also get the bean validations through Hibernate Validator framework which can be used in the POJO above to annotate the fields in the model with @NotNull or @MinLength... etc.

One important learning in this integration was to map the mongodb _id (ObjectID BSON type) to a string id in the model but set it to the hex string value from the _id field. Getting this to work without the use of frameworks like MongoJack or Katharsis keeps the code simple to comprehend and yet meets the requirements.


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