Enterprise Java

Get to Know JSON Pointer: JSON-P 1.1 Overview Series

Java EE 8 includes an update to the JSON Processing API and brings it up to date with the latest IEFT standards for JSON. They are:

  • JSON Pointer (RFC 6901)
  • JSON Patch (RFC 6902)
  • JSON Merge Patch (RFC 7396)

I will cover these topics in this mini-series.

Getting Started

To get started with JSON-P you will need the following dependencies from the Maven central repository.




A JSON Pointer defines a string expression that references an element within the hierarchical structure of a JSON document. With a JSON pointer expression, you can access and manipulate a JSON document by retrieving, adding, removing and replacing an element or value referenced by the expression.

The entry API is the javax.json.JsonPointer interface. An instance is created by calling the static factory method createPointer(String expression) on the javax.json.Json class and passing it the pointer expression.

Retrieve a Value

If given the JSON document below and you want to retrieve the value of the title element you create the JSON Pointer expression /title.

"title": "Java EE: Only What's New",
"author": "Alex Theedom",
"chapters": [
  "Chapter 1: Java EE 8 What’s New Overview",
  "Chapter 2: Java API for JSON Binding 1.0 (JSR 367)",
  "Chapter 3: Java EE Security API 1.0 (JSR 375)"
"released": true,
"pages": 300,
"sourceCode": {
  "repositoryName": "Java-EE-8-Only-Whats-New",
  "url": "github.com/readlearncode/"
"otherBooks": [
    "title": "Professional Java EE Design Patterns",
    "length": 350

JsonObject jsonObject = ... create JSONObject from JSON document ...;

The code snippet below creates a JsonPointer and references the title element. It then calls the getValue() method which is passed the JsonObject to query.

JsonValue jsonValue = Json.createPointer("/title").getValue(jsonObject);

Add a Value

To add (or insert) a value to a JSON document follow the same logic as retrieval by using a JSON pointer expression to identify the insertion point within the document. The following code snippet adds a new “category”: “Programming” JSON object to the root of the document.

JsonObject jsonObject = Json
      .add(jsonObject, Json.createValue("Programming"));

The JsonObject returned is the entire new modified object.

Remove a Value

The removal process requires the location of the value to remove expressed as a JSON Pointer expression. The code snippet below removes the title element and returns the modified JSON document as a JsonStructure instance

JsonStructure jsonStructure = Json.createPointer("/title").remove(jsonObject);

Replace a Value

To replace a value the JSON pointer expression of the element to replace and the replacement element is passed to the replace() method. The code snippet below replaces the title element’s value and returns the modified JSON document.

JsonStructure jsonStructure = Json
     .replace(jsonObject, Json.createValue("Java EE 8"));

Test a Value

The exists of a value at a location can be tested with the containsValue() method. The code snippet below tests to see it there is a value at the location expressed by the JSON Pointer expression /doesNotExist.

Boolean containsValue = Json


Well, that’s it for the first article in this mini-series about JSON Processing’s new features. That’s all for now.

Published on Java Code Geeks with permission by Alex Theedom, partner at our JCG program. See the original article here: Get to Know JSON Pointer: JSON-P 1.1 Overview Series

Opinions expressed by Java Code Geeks contributors are their own.

Alex Theedom

Alex Theedom is a Senior Java Developer and has recently played a pivotal role in the architectural design and development of a microservice based, custom built lottery and instant win game platform. Alex has experience of Java web application development in a diverse range of fields including finance, e-learning, lottery and software development. He is the co-author of Professional Java EE Design Patterns and many articles.
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