kayahr kayahr - 4 months ago 25
Java Question

Simple string as JSON return value in spring rest controller

Let's take a look at the following simple test controller (Used with Spring 4.0.3):

public class TestController
public List<String> getList()
final List<String> list = new ArrayList<>();
return list;

public String getString()
return "Hello World";

In theory both controller methods should return valid JSON. Calling the first controller method indeed does return the following JSON array:

$ curl -i -H "Accept: application/json" http://localhost:8080/getList
HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Content-Type: application/json;charset=UTF-8


But the second controller method returns the string without quotes which is not a valid JSON string:

$ curl -i -H "Accept: application/json" http://localhost:8080/getString
HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Content-Type: application/json;charset=UTF-8

Hello World

Why is that so? Can it be configured? Is it a bug? Or a feature I don't understand?


When you return a String object, Spring MVC interprets that as the content to put in the response body and doesn't modify it further. If you're wanting an actual string to be the JSON response, you'll need to either quote it yourself or run it through Jackson explicitly.