1.4.2 (Dec 15, 2016)
Feb 22, 2015
Nov 15, 2018 (Retired)
Vladislav Bauer (vbauer)
Vladislav Bauer (vbauer)
Source code


No performer should attempt to bite off red-hot iron unless he has a good set of teeth.

Houdini is a simple and humane type conversion system, which allows you to prevent a lot of unnecessary code.

For example, when you work with Spring Type Conversion API, you have to implement each converter as a separate class. It produces a lot of excessive code. Houdini allows you to aggregate different converters in a single place and re-use common logic without additional classes.

The project was named in honor of Harry Houdini (born Erik Weisz, later Ehrich Weiss or Harry Weiss) who was a Hungarian-American illusionist and stunt performer, noted for his sensational escape acts.

See an Example section for a quick start.

Online documentation:

Main features

Comparison with other conversion systems

Usually, each big project with some conversion system (ex. Spring's Converters) has the following problems:

A huge number of converter classes
Houdini allows to join several converters into a single bean (unlike Spring converters), so it will minimize the number of classes and prevent unnecessary code. For example, you can join converters by functionality or by modules. It also simplifies source code navigation for developer. An additional feature is that the smaller class number of classes also decreases compilation time a little bit.

Duplicated code in converters
Some converters could be very similar to other (except filling of some fields). Using Spring it is most likely to see basic classes or shared components to resolve this situation. Using Houdini it is unnecessary to create additional classes, you can just put this logic in a new method.

Conditional converters
It is a typical situation for REST services:

  • sometimes it is necessary to send full information,
  • sometimes short information,
  • or need to combine it somehow using conditionals.

Using Spring converters you need to create new POJO and new converters to resolve it. Houdini allows to use additional conditional parameters. (See an Example section).

Out of IOC context
This is a rare case for JEE developers (and typical case for others), but sometimes it's necessary to use some converters without something like ConversionService. It could be needed when our code is out of Spring context (ex: shared code for Spring and GWT apps). Using Houdini we could put all needed converters into a single bean and use it like a simple Java class.



repositories {
    maven {
        url "https://jitpack.io"
dependencies {
    compile 'com.github.vbauer:houdini:1.4.2'





To work with Houdini's magic, you have 2 basic interfaces and corresponding implementations:

  • ObjectConverterRegistry (ObjectConverterRegistryImpl) is needed to store and search converters.
  • ObjectConverterService (ObjectConverterServiceImpl) allows to convert some data to another data.


Houdini isn't dependent on third-party dependencies, but it has extra integration with Spring and Guice frameworks. Of course, it can be used with pure Java or Android projects.

Java / Android configuration

How to configure Houdini with pure Java:

// Create registry service to store converters:
final ObjectConverterRegistry registry = new ObjectConverterRegistryImpl();

// After that you can specify all needed converters:
// registry.registerConverters(new UserConverter());
// registry.registerConverters(new RoleConverter());
// registry.registerConverters(new CompanyConverter());

// Create service which makes conversions (it could be a simple singleton object):
final ObjectConverterService converterService = new ObjectConverterServiceImpl(registry);

You can also use default registry object with ObjectConverterService, 1LOC:

final ObjectConverterService converterService = new ObjectConverterServiceImpl();

Guice / RoboGuice configuration

Houdini contains the specific Guice module to support converters (com.github.vbauer.houdini.ext.guice.ObjectConverterModule):

final Injector injector = Guice.createInjector(new ObjectConverterModule());

Now, all your beans will be checked for converters and all found converters will be registered. ObjectConverterModule module also defines 2 beans: ObjectConverterRegistry and ObjectConverterService.

Spring configuration

Houdini has a good integration with Spring framework. Just choose the most appropriate way how to configure it:

  • Configure application context using Java code
  • Use XML file to configure context

Java based configuration

You need to configure 2 beans:

  • ObjectConverterService which you will use to convert objects
  • and ObjectConverterBeanPostProcessor which is necessary to detect converters in the Spring context
public class AppContext {
    public ObjectConverterService objectConverterService() {
        return new ObjectConverterServiceImpl();
    public ObjectConverterBeanPostProcessor objectConverterBeanPostProcessor() {
        return new ObjectConverterBeanPostProcessor(objectConverterService());

You also need to define converter beans in the AppContext or using @ComponentScan annotation.

XML Schema-based configuration

You still need to configure the same 2 beans:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<beans xmlns="http://www.springframework.org/schema/beans"

    <!-- Converter service bean -->
    <bean class="com.github.vbauer.houdini.service.ObjectConverterServiceImpl" />

    <!-- Bean post processor to register converters  -->
    <bean class="com.github.vbauer.houdini.ext.spring.ObjectConverterBeanPostProcessor" />

Spring Boot support

Houdini has out of the box integration with Spring Boot. You do not need to define ObjectConverterService and ObjectConverterBeanPostProcessor in your application context. Spring Boot auto-configuration attempts to automatically configure your Spring application based on the jar dependencies that you have added.

See ObjectConverterConfiguration for more details.

Conversion API

To make new converter, you need to create a new class (or use an existing one) and mark this bean as converter using @ObjectConverter annotation.

It is possible to add this annotation on:

  • Bean class - all public methods from this class will be registered as converters.
  • Bean's public method - only this method will be registered as converter.

All necessary converters will be registered in bean ObjectConverterService. This service also provides all necessary methods for data conversion:

  • Register converter methods.
  • Convert some data object (with parameters) to another data object.
  • Convert Set or List of data to Set/List of data.
  • Convert Set/List of data to one element or Set/List (it could be useful for some REST API services).

That's all!


This tiny example shows the power of Houdini: one class, two converters, re-usable logic, no one line of excessive code.

// Use also @Component annotation in case of Spring framework.
public class UserConverter {

    public UserDTO shortInfo(final User user) {
        return fullInfo(user, false);

    public UserDTO fullInfo(final User user, Boolean full) {
        final UserDTO userDTO = new UserDTO()

        if (Boolean.TRUE.equals(full)) {

        return userDTO;


Converting User domain object to DTO:

final User user = new User()

final UserDTO shortUserDTO1 = converterService.convert(UserDTO.class, user);
final UserDTO shortUserDTO2 = converterService.convert(UserDTO.class, user, false);
final UserDTO fullUserDTO = converterService.convert(UserDTO.class, user, true);


To build project in strict mode with tests, you can run:

mvn -P strict clean package

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Copyright 2015 Vladislav Bauer

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License"); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at


Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.