retailmenotsandbox / play-jsonapi

Provides (de)serialization and advanced validation for models based on the JSON API standard

Version Matrix

Play JsonAPI

Play JsonAPI is a helper library for representing the super flexible JsonAPI entities with the precise types for your use case. For example, instead of using Option[Either[ResourceIdentifier, Seq[ResourceIdentifier]]] to represent all the legal possibilities for resource linkages, you can refine it down to Seq[ResourceIdentifier].

Play JsonAPI comes in at compile time, validates that your types are still valid JsonAPI models, and then automatically generates Play JSON Formatters for your model.

Top Level Models

Play JsonAPI works by having highly generic case classes and pre-defined type classes/context bounds to represent the JsonAPI model. For example, the TopLevelData class (used to represent the root object of a JsonAPI response) is simply defined as

case class TopLevelData[JApi: JsonApiTypes, Data: PrimaryDataTypes, Meta : MetaTypes, Links: FullLinkTypes, Included: IncludedTypes](
  jsonapi: JApi,
  data: Data,
  meta: Meta,
  links: Links,
  included: Included

Every field is a generic type, but the context bounds on the generic type ensures that it is a valid JsonAPI type.

You don't have to generate types for each field; oftentimes there are parts of the spec or model that you just don't care about. In these cases, Play JsonAPI provides the Undefined type and value that will ignore that field when doing JSON (de)serialization.

Let's walk through changing around the meta object type. It should give a feel for how to use the library.

import com.rmn.jsonapi.models._
import com.rmn.jsonapi.models.TypeAliases._
import play.api.libs.json._

case class SeqMeta(seqNum: Long)
object SeqMeta {
  implicit val fmt = Json.format[SeqMeta]

type SeqTopLevel  = TopLevelData[GenericJsonApiType, GenericDataType, SeqMeta, GenericFullLinkType, GenericIncludedType]

Here we declare a top level document type that accepts almost any valid JsonAPI document, with the exception that the meta field must be present and must be a json object with a numeric seqNum sequence field.

If instead we wanted to let the meta object maybe be present, we would change the type alias to

type SeqTopLevel  = TopLevelData[GenericJsonApiType, GenericDataType, Option[SeqMeta], GenericFullLinkType, GenericIncludedType]

and now the type system and json serialization will respect the Option type.

Play JsonAPI comes with a full definition of "Generic" types that match the full JsonAPI spec. These can be found in the com.rmn.jsonapi.models.TypeAliases object.

While convenient, they still can be a hassle to remember. For parts of the model that you don't care about, you can use the Undefined type. Undefined will ignore JSON while deserializing, and generate no JSON while serializing.

import com.rmn.jsonapi.Undefined

type SeqTopLevel  = TopLevelData[Undefined, GenericDataType, Option[SeqMeta], Undefined, Undefined]

val topLevel = new SeqTopLevel(Undefined, Some(JsObject()), Some(SeqMeta(123)), Undefined, Undefined)

Let's say we wanted to change the primary payload of SeqTopLevel to a list of a local class:

import com.rmn.jsonapi.ReadRefine

case class ValidationAttributes(mobile: Boolean, droid: Boolean, ios: Boolean, desktop: Boolean)

object ValidationAttributes {
  implicit val format = Json.format[ValidationAttributes]

class ValidationResource(id: String, validations: ValidationAttributes)
  extends Resource[ValidationAttributes, Undefined, Undefined, Undefined]("validation", id, validations, Undefined, Undefined, Undefined)
object ValidationResource {
  implicit val format: Format[ValidationResource] = ReadRefine { in: Resource[ValidationAttributes, Undefined, Undefined, Undefined] =>
    if (in.`type` == "validation") {
      JsSuccess(new ValidationResource(, in.attributes))
    } else {
      JsError(s"Expected type 'validation', found '${in.`type`}'.")

type SeqTopLevel  = TopLevelData[Undefined, Seq[ValidationResource], Option[SeqMeta], Undefined, Undefined]

Now our JSON Formatter will require a list of ValidationResource. One piece of interest here is the ReadRefine helper, which helps uplift from the more generic Resource[...] to our new ValidationResource.


For scala 2.11.X and Play Json 2.5:

libraryDependencies +=   "com.rmn" %% "play-jsonapi" % "0.1"


For testing locally

sbt publish-local

For publishing to Maven, your credentials should be available at ~/.ivy2/.credentials

realm=Sonatype Nexus Repository Manager

Make a new non-SNAPSHOT commit, and tag it in git. With the above credentials stored:

sbt publishSigned
<verify the artifacts in Nexus>
sbt sonatypeRelease

Update build.sbt's version to the next -SNAPSHOT, and fix the above installation instructions.