Core Java

ModelMapper vs. MapStruct in Java

ModelMapper vs MapStruct in Java is a common topic of discussion in the Java community when it comes to mapping data between objects. Both ModelMapper and MapStruct are popular libraries that simplify the often tedious process of converting one object type to another. ModelMapper offers flexibility and a wide range of customization options, making it suitable for complex mapping scenarios. In contrast, MapStruct focuses on generating efficient, compile-time mapping code, which can lead to better performance. This introduction sets the stage for a deeper exploration of the differences, use cases, and advantages of these two widely used mapping solutions in Java development.

1. Introduction

In modern software development, the need for automatic mappers has become increasingly evident. These mappers are essential tools for efficiently and accurately converting data between different data structures, typically between objects in object-oriented programming languages like Java. Several key reasons highlight the significance of automatic mappers:

  • Productivity: Automatic mappers reduce the manual effort required to write repetitive and error-prone mapping code. Developers can focus on more critical aspects of their application, leading to increased productivity.
  • Maintainability: Manually written mapping code can be challenging to maintain as the codebase evolves. Automatic mappers generate code that is easier to manage and update, reducing the risk of introducing bugs during maintenance.
  • Consistency: Automatic mappers ensure consistent mapping behavior throughout the application, reducing the chances of data inconsistencies and improving code quality.
  • Complex Mapping: In cases where object structures are complex or involve nested relationships, automatic mappers simplify the mapping process, making it more manageable and less error-prone.
  • Performance: While some manual mapping code may be optimized, automatic mappers can generate highly efficient mapping code, often at compile time, resulting in improved application performance.
  • Reduced Boilerplate: Writing mapping code by hand often involves a significant amount of boilerplate code. Automatic mappers eliminate much of this boilerplate, resulting in cleaner, more concise code.
  • Code Generation: Some automatic mapping libraries, like MapStruct, generate mapping code during the compilation process, which eliminates runtime reflection and improves performance and type safety.

2. ModelMapper vs. MapStruct: A Comparison

When it comes to object-to-object mapping in Java, developers often face the choice between two popular libraries: ModelMapper and MapStruct. Each of these tools has its strengths and weaknesses, making them suitable for different scenarios and preferences. In this article, we’ll dive into the details of ModelMapper and MapStruct, comparing their features, performance, ease of use, and use cases to help you make an informed decision on which one to use in your Java projects.

2.1 ModelMapper

  • Ease of Use: ModelMapper is known for its simplicity and ease of use. It provides a straightforward way to define mapping rules using a fluent API.
  • Flexibility: ModelMapper offers a high degree of flexibility. You can customize mappings with expressions and converters, making them suitable for complex mapping scenarios.
  • Configuration: Configuration options in ModelMapper are extensive, allowing you to control various aspects of the mapping process.
  • Learning Curve: ModelMapper’s intuitive API makes it relatively easy for developers to get started with a minimal learning curve.
  • Performance: While ModelMapper is powerful and flexible, it may not be as performant as MapStruct in certain scenarios, especially for large-scale applications with extensive mapping needs.

2.1.1 Use Cases

ModelMapper is an excellent choice when:

  • You prioritize ease of use and flexibility.
  • Your project has moderate mapping requirements.
  • You need extensive configuration options.
  • You are comfortable with runtime mapping.

2.2 MapStruct

  • Code Generation: MapStruct takes a different approach by generating mapping code during compilation. This results in highly efficient, type-safe, and reflection-free mappings.
  • Performance: MapStruct is known for its excellent performance, making it a preferred choice for projects where speed is crucial, such as high-throughput applications.
  • Type Safety: Since MapStruct generates code at compile time, it offers strong type safety, reducing the risk of runtime errors.
  • Learning Curve: MapStruct might have a steeper learning curve for beginners due to its annotation-based approach and code generation process.
  • Limited Flexibility: While MapStruct excels in generating efficient mapping code, it may not be as flexible as ModelMapper for highly customized mapping scenarios.

2.2.1 Use Cases

MapStruct is the preferred option when:

  • Performance is critical, and you need efficient mapping.
  • Type safety is a top priority.
  • You have a high volume of mapping tasks.
  • You are willing to embrace code generation.

The choice between ModelMapper and MapStruct depends on your project’s specific requirements. ModelMapper is user-friendly and flexible, while MapStruct excels in performance and type safety. Consider your project’s needs, performance demands, and your team’s familiarity with each tool when making your decision. Both libraries can significantly simplify object mapping tasks, making your Java development experience more efficient and productive.

3. Various Use Cases of Automatic Mappers

Automatic mappers, also known as object-to-object mappers, are essential tools in modern software development. They simplify the process of converting data between different data structures, streamlining development and enhancing code quality. In this article, we explore various use cases where automatic mappers prove invaluable:

  • 1. Data Transfer Objects (DTOs): When working with RESTful APIs or other forms of data exchange, automatic mappers can seamlessly convert complex domain objects to lightweight Data Transfer Objects (DTOs). This reduces data transfer overhead and ensures that only the necessary data is transmitted over the network.
  • 2. Entity to DTO Conversion: In many applications, database entities have a different structure than what should be exposed to clients. Automatic mappers can bridge this gap by efficiently converting database entities to DTOs, allowing for clean and controlled data presentation to consumers.
  • 3. View Models: Web applications often require specific data structures for rendering views. Automatic mappers can help in constructing view models from domain objects, simplifying the rendering process and improving the separation of concerns in your application.
  • 4. Form Handling: When processing form submissions in web applications, automatic mappers can convert form data into domain objects. This simplifies form handling, validation, and data binding, reducing the boilerplate code needed for these tasks.
  • 5. Integration with External Services: When interacting with external services or APIs that return data in a different format, automatic mappers can be used to map the incoming data into a format that aligns with your application’s internal data structures.
  • 6. Caching and Serialization: Automatic mappers are useful in caching scenarios where you need to convert data before storing it in a cache or serializing it for storage in various data formats like JSON or XML.
  • 7. Test Data Generation: During unit testing and integration testing, automatic mappers can assist in creating test data by mapping domain objects to various states or configurations, simplifying the setup phase of your tests.
  • 8. Immutable Object Creation: When working with immutable objects, automatic mappers can facilitate the creation of new instances by mapping existing objects with slight modifications, ensuring immutability and thread safety.
  • 9. Internationalization (i18n) and Localization (l10n): In internationalized applications, automatic mappers can help manage the translation of textual data into different languages or regional formats, making it easier to provide multilingual support.
  • 10. Versioning and API Evolution: For evolving APIs, automatic mappers can assist in versioning by allowing you to map between different API versions, ensuring backward compatibility for clients using older versions of your API.

Automatic mappers are versatile tools that find application in a wide range of scenarios in software development. They streamline data conversion, improve code maintainability, and enhance the overall efficiency of your projects. Whether you are building web applications, microservices, or working on data processing tasks, automatic mappers can simplify your development workflow and help you deliver high-quality software.

4. MapStruct Example

Here’s a simplified example of a mapper in Java using the MapStruct library. In this example, we’ll create a mapper to convert a Person object to a PersonDTO (Data Transfer Object).

Suppose we have the following classes:

public class Person {
    private String name;
    private int age;

    // Constructors, getters, and setters

public class PersonDTO {
    private String fullName;
    private int age;

    // Constructors, getters, and setters

Now, let’s create a mapper interface using MapStruct:

import org.mapstruct.Mapper;
import org.mapstruct.Mapping;

public interface PersonMapper {

    @Mapping(source = "name", target = "fullName")
    PersonDTO personToPersonDTO(Person person);

In this example:

  • We annotate the interface with @Mapper to indicate that it’s a MapStruct mapper.
  • We define a method personToPersonDTO that maps a Person object to a PersonDTO object.
  • We use the @Mapping annotation to specify how fields should be mapped. Here, we map the name field in Person to the fullName field in PersonDTO.

Now, you can use this mapper to convert a Person object to a PersonDTO object:

Person person = new Person();
person.setName("John Doe");

PersonDTO personDTO = PersonMapper.INSTANCE.personToPersonDTO(person);

System.out.println("Full Name: " + personDTO.getFullName());
System.out.println("Age: " + personDTO.getAge());

MapStruct will automatically generate the mapping code based on the mapper interface, making it a powerful and convenient way to handle object-to-object mapping in Java.

Note: To use MapStruct in a Java project, you need to include the MapStruct library as a dependency in your project’s build configuration. Additionally, you might need to configure your build tool to enable annotation processing for MapStruct. If you’re using Maven as your build tool, you can add the MapStruct dependency to your project’s pom.xml file as follows:

<!-- Other dependencies -->

	<version>1.4.2.Final</version> <!-- Use the latest version available -->

<!-- Other dependencies -->

To enable annotation processing for MapStruct in Maven, you should add the maven-compiler-plugin configuration in your pom.xml.

5. ModelMapper Example

Let’s explore a practical example of how to use ModelMapper in Java to map objects from one class to another. In this example, we’ll create two classes, SourceClass and TargetClass, and use ModelMapper to map an instance of SourceClass to an instance of TargetClass.

First, you’ll need to include the ModelMapper library in your project. You can typically do this by adding a Maven or Gradle dependency, depending on your build system.

Here’s a simple example:

import org.modelmapper.ModelMapper;

public class SourceClass {
    private String name;
    private int age;

    // getters and setters

public class TargetClass {
    private String fullName;
    private int years;

    // getters and setters

public class MapperExample {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        // Create a ModelMapper instance
        ModelMapper modelMapper = new ModelMapper();

        // Create an instance of SourceClass and populate its fields
        SourceClass sourceObject = new SourceClass();

        // Use ModelMapper to map the SourceClass instance to TargetClass
        TargetClass targetObject =, TargetClass.class);

        // Access the mapped fields in TargetClass
        System.out.println("Full Name: " + targetObject.getFullName());
        System.out.println("Years: " + targetObject.getYears());

In this example:

  • We have two classes, SourceClass and TargetClass, with different field names.
  • We create a ModelMapper instance.
  • We create an instance of SourceClass, populate its fields, and then use to map it to an instance of TargetClass.
  • Finally, we access the mapped fields in TargetClass.

The ModelMapper library takes care of mapping fields with similar names and compatible types automatically. You can also configure ModelMapper to handle more complex mappings, such as nested objects or custom conversions, by creating mapping rules and using converters.

Remember to include the ModelMapper library in your project’s dependencies (pom.xml file) for this code to work, and adjust the field names and types according to your specific use case.

<!-- Other dependencies -->

	<version>3.1.1</version> <!-- Use the latest version available -->

<!-- Other dependencies -->

6. Conclusion

This comprehensive exploration of automatic mappers in Java development highlights their core concepts, numerous advantages, and versatile applications. These tools streamline data conversion, enhancing productivity by eliminating repetitive and error-prone mapping code. They also improve code maintainability, enforce consistency, and enhance performance. Automatic mappers find use in various scenarios, such as RESTful APIs, web applications, form handling, external services, testing, and internationalization. The choice of the right mapper depends on project requirements and performance considerations. ModelMapper suits simplicity and flexibility, while MapStruct excels in performance and type safety. In summary, automatic mappers have become integral in modern Java development, simplifying complexity and enhancing code quality, ultimately resulting in more robust and maintainable software solutions.


An experience full-stack engineer well versed with Core Java, Spring/Springboot, MVC, Security, AOP, Frontend (Angular & React), and cloud technologies (such as AWS, GCP, Jenkins, Docker, K8).
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