[Solved]: javax.xml.bind.JAXBException: class java.util.ArrayList nor any of its super class is known to this context

This exception occur when you are using JAXB to marshal a java object (collection type) to xml format. The stack trace looks like this:

Exception in thread "main" javax.xml.bind.JAXBException: class java.util.ArrayList nor any of its super class is known to this context.
	at com.sun.xml.internal.bind.v2.runtime.JAXBContextImpl.getBeanInfo(Unknown Source)
	at com.sun.xml.internal.bind.v2.runtime.XMLSerializer.childAsRoot(Unknown Source)
	at com.sun.xml.internal.bind.v2.runtime.MarshallerImpl.write(Unknown Source)
	at com.sun.xml.internal.bind.v2.runtime.MarshallerImpl.marshal(Unknown Source)
	at javax.xml.bind.helpers.AbstractMarshallerImpl.marshal(Unknown Source)
	at com.howtodoinjava.jaxb.examples.list.TestEmployeeMarshing.main(TestEmployeeMarshing.java:58)
Random exceptions
Random exceptions

Reason

The above exception occurs because JAXB always expects a @XmlRootElement annotation on the entity, it gets to marshal. This is mandatory and can not be skipped. This @XmlRootElement annotation is required to get meta data from root element of XML marshalled from java object.

ArrayList class OR any java collection class does not have any JAXB annotations on it. Due to this JAXB is unable to parse any such java objects and raises this error.

Solution : Create wrapper class

This is recommended approach because it gives you flexibility to add/remove fields in future e.g. size attribute.

@XmlRootElement(name = "employees")
@XmlAccessorType (XmlAccessType.FIELD)
public class Employees 
{
	@XmlElement(name = "employee")
	private List<Employee> employees = null;

	public List<Employee> getEmployees() {
		return employees;
	}

	public void setEmployees(List<Employee> employees) {
		this.employees = employees;
	}
}

Now you can use this class as below:

static Employees employees = new Employees();

static 
{
	employees.setEmployees(new ArrayList<Employee>());
	
	Employee emp1 = new Employee();
	emp1.setId(1);
	emp1.setFirstName("Lokesh");
	emp1.setLastName("Gupta");
	emp1.setIncome(100.0);
	
	Employee emp2 = new Employee();
	emp2.setId(2);
	emp2.setFirstName("John");
	emp2.setLastName("Mclane");
	emp2.setIncome(200.0);
	
	employees.getEmployees().add(emp1);
	employees.getEmployees().add(emp2);
}

private static void marshalingExample() throws JAXBException
{
	JAXBContext jaxbContext = JAXBContext.newInstance(Employees.class);
	Marshaller jaxbMarshaller = jaxbContext.createMarshaller();

	jaxbMarshaller.setProperty(Marshaller.JAXB_FORMATTED_OUTPUT, true);

	jaxbMarshaller.marshal(employees, System.out);
}

Output:
	
<employees>
    <employee>
        <id>1</id>
        <firstName>Lokesh</firstName>
        <lastName>Gupta</lastName>
        <income>100.0</income>
    </employee>
    <employee>
        <id>2</id>
        <firstName>John</firstName>
        <lastName>Mclane</lastName>
        <income>200.0</income>
    </employee>
</employees>

See the complete example in this post: Marshalling example java ArrayList or Set

Happy Learning !!

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