It’s common and easy to store application configuration information like key=value in java properties file.
But how to store object or collection of object type into java properties file.

For example, I want to store a list of failed to fetch items in java properties file: including item id, failed times, and some other properties of this item, then I need deserialize it to list of UnableToFetchItem.
unableToFetchList={“id_1″\:{“id”\:”id_1, “extracting”\:a_long_millseconds,”failedTimes”\:a_int}, “id_x”:{}, }

If we have to write our own code, it gets troublesome: when serialize the item lists, we have to put delimiter to separate items, serialize key/value pairs; when ddeserialize it back, we have to parse the delimiter, construct item object and set field value.

As my application already use the java Json library:Gson, so I decide to serialize the list of UnableToFetchItem as a Json string, and then deserialize the Json string to a list of UnableToFetchItem. The code is much simpler and easy to read and maintain.
The code is simple, the only trick part is how to serialize and deserialize a list of object: 
Look at GSon User Guide: Collections Examples
The key is to define a TypeToken with correct parameterized type:
private static Type objType = new TypeToken<Map<String,UnableToFetch>>() {}.getType();
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import java.lang.reflect.Type;
import com.google.gson.Gson;
import com.google.gson.reflect.TypeToken;

public class AppConfig {
  private Map<String,UnableToFetch> unableToFetchMap = new HashMap<String,UnableToFetch>();
  private static Type objType = new TypeToken<Map<String,UnableToFetch>>() {}
  public static Map<String,UnableToFetch> fromJson(String jsonStr) {
    Map<String,UnableToFetch> result = null;
    if (StringUtils.isNotBlank(jsonStr)) {
      result = new Gson().fromJson(jsonStr, objType);
    if (result == null) {
      result = new HashMap<String,UnableToFetch>();
    return result;
  public static String toJson(Map<String,UnableToFetch> map) {
    return new Gson().toJson(map, objType);
  public AppConfig readFromPropertiesFile() {
    File proppertiesFile = new File("PROPERTIES_FILE_NAME");
    if (!proppertiesFile.exists()) {
      return this;
    Properties properties = new Properties();
    FileInputStream fis = null;
    try {
      fis = new FileInputStream(proppertiesFile);
      String str = properties.getProperty("unableToFetchList");
      unableToFetchMap = fromJson(str);
    } catch (Exception e) {
      throw new RuntimeException(e);
    } finally {
    return this;

  public void saveProperties() {
    File proppertiesFile = new File("PROPERTIES_FILE_NAME");
    Properties properties = new Properties();
    FileOutputStream fos = null;
    try {
      fos = new FileOutputStream(proppertiesFile);
      if (unableToFetchMap != null) {
        properties.setProperty("unableToFetchList", toJson(unableToFetchMap));
      properties.store(fos, null);
    } catch (Exception e) {
      throw new RuntimeException(e);
    } finally {
  public static void main(String[] args) {
    Map<String,UnableToFetch> unableToFetchMap = new HashMap<String,UnableToFetch>();
    unableToFetchMap.put("id1", new UnableToFetch("id1", 1, 11111));
    String jsonStr = AppConfig.toJson(unableToFetchMap);
    unableToFetchMap = AppConfig.fromJson(jsonStr);
    jsonStr = AppConfig.toJson(unableToFetchMap);
  public static class UnableToFetch {
    private String id;
    private long along;
    private int failedTimes;
    public UnableToFetch() {}
    public String toString() {
      return ToStringBuilder.reflectionToString(this);

via Blogger http://lifelongprogrammer.blogspot.com/2013/11/use-gson-to-serialize-list-of-object-to-properties-file.html