Supporting Different Media Types (JSON, XML, etc.) in a REST with Spring Boot Application

When designing a RESTful API, it is crucial to support different media types to allow clients to communicate with the API using formats they prefer. This flexibility ensures that your API can be easily integrated into various client applications, ranging from single-page web applications to mobile apps.

Spring Boot, with its powerful REST support, makes it easy to handle different media types effortlessly. By configuring the necessary dependencies and applying a few annotations, developers can ensure their APIs support media types such as JSON, XML, and more. In this article, we will explore how to achieve this in a Spring Boot application.

Configuring Media Type Support

To start supporting different media types in a Spring Boot application, we must define the required dependencies in our project's build configuration.

JSON Support

JSON is widely used due to its simplicity and compatibility with JavaScript, making it a popular choice for APIs. Luckily, Spring Boot provides built-in support for JSON media type using the Jackson library. To enable JSON support, ensure you have the following dependency in your pom.xml file:


With this dependency in place, Spring Boot automatically serializes and deserializes JSON objects when handling API requests and responses.

XML Support

In some cases, XML might be the preferred media type for clients. Thankfully, Spring Boot offers support for XML as well. To enable XML support, add the following dependency to your pom.xml file:


With this dependency configured, Spring Boot can effortlessly handle XML-based requests and responses.

Custom Media Types

Apart from JSON and XML, you might encounter scenarios where clients expect other media types like YAML or CSV. Spring Boot's flexible architecture allows us to handle these formats effortlessly as well.

To enable support for custom media types, we need to configure a few additional dependencies in our project. Here's an example of enabling support for YAML within a Spring Boot application:

  1. Add the following dependency to your pom.xml file:
  1. Configure the media type in your application's configuration class:
public class WebConfig extends WebMvcConfigurerAdapter {

    public void configureContentNegotiation(ContentNegotiationConfigurer configurer) {
                .mediaType("xml", MediaType.APPLICATION_XML)
                .mediaType("json", MediaType.APPLICATION_JSON)
                .mediaType("yaml", MediaType.parseMediaType("application/x-yaml"));

With this configuration, Spring Boot can handle YAML-based requests and responses alongside JSON and XML.

Generating Different Media Type Responses

Spring Boot, by default, can handle requests and responses in various media types based on the client's preferences. However, there might be cases where you want to manually generate response in a specific media type regardless of the client's preference.

To achieve this, we can utilize the produces attribute provided by the @RequestMapping annotation. By specifying the desired media type, Spring Boot automatically converts the response before returning it to the client. Here's an example:

public class ExampleController {

    @GetMapping(value = "/resource", produces = MediaType.APPLICATION_XML_VALUE)
    public Resource fetchResource() {
        // Process and return the resource

In this example, the fetchResource endpoint always produces an XML response, regardless of the client's preference. You can replace MediaType.APPLICATION_XML_VALUE with any other appropriate media type to generate the desired response.


Supporting different media types in a Spring Boot application is crucial to ensure flexibility and compatibility with various client applications. By configuring the necessary dependencies and annotations, Spring Boot effortlessly handles JSON, XML, and even custom media types like YAML. This allows developers to design APIs that can be seamlessly integrated into a wide array of client applications, making the API more versatile and user-friendly.

noob to master © copyleft