Persisting LocalDateTime Values in Mongodb With Spring

The sample application used for this article is available in github.It expects a local MongoDB instance and it will create a database called mongotime.

If you are using MongoDB as your storage backend in a Spring application you are most likely using spring-data-mongodb. MongoDB uses BSON as the underlying storage and wire format. BSON only has one type for date time storage and by definition it only allows UTC. If your models contain LocalDateTime attributes they will be converted back and forth from UTC using your current system time zone.

You can see this in action in the sample application provided. The fragment below lists the Event entity that uses a ‘LocalDateTime’ field.

public class Event {
    private LocalDateTime eventTime;

    public LocalDateTime getEventTime() {
        return this.eventTime;

    public void setEventTime(LocalDateTime eventTime) {
        this.eventTime = eventTime;

The application creates a new Event with an event time of 2019-08-01T09:30:00.

private void createEvent() {
    System.out.println("Deleting old event records.");

    LocalDateTime dateTime = LocalDateTime.of(2019, 8, 1, 9, 30);
    Event event = new Event();

Lets see whats in the event collection in MongoDB.

    "_id" : ObjectId("5d4c621eaf6794102362ee6c"),
    "eventTime" : ISODate("2019-08-01T0400.000Z"),
    "_class" : "dev.chamindu.mongotime.Event"

Since my computer is on GMT+5:30 the LocalDateTime value was translated to 2019-08-01T04:00:00.000Z. While this may work for some cases it falls short when you want to store the local date time as is. After all the java LocalDateTime type is meant to represent a date and time without timezone information.

I came across such a scenario in one of the projects I worked on. We capture events when customers enter and exit a retail store and publish them to a cloud based backend for analysis. There are a large number of stores located in different timezones. When we do the analytics we want to compare store traffic side by side in local time of each location since store operating hours are defined in local time.

Storing Date and Time as Strings

One solution for the above mentioned problem is to store the datetime as a string. But you have to be careful about the format that you use. Its best to use ISO formated dates because the date parts are ordered from the most significant to the least significant. Due to the above mentioned property the lexical ordering and temporal ordering is the same and you can use a string rage query to filter data in a date range.

Although its a good idea to store dates as strings in MongoDb its not a great idea to use String fields to represent dates in your Java models. You field becomes weakly typed and you lose the ability to do date arithmetic.

Developing a Custom Temporal Type

To overcome the issues discussed above we can use a custom type. The basic idea is to wrap an instance of LocalDateTime inside our type. This will make sure Spring Data does not apply the default conversion to BSON date. Then we get the assistance of the Spring type converter system to convert it to String for storage and vice versa.

public class MongoLocalDateTime implements Comparable<MongoLocalDateTime> {

    private LocalDateTime localDateTime;

    private MongoLocalDateTime(LocalDateTime localDateTime) {
        this.localDateTime = localDateTime;

    public static MongoLocalDateTime of(LocalDateTime localDateTime) {
        return new MongoLocalDateTime(localDateTime);

    public static MongoLocalDateTime of(int year, int month, int dayOfMonth, int hour, int minute, int second) {
        return new MongoLocalDateTime(LocalDateTime.of(year, month, dayOfMonth, hour, minute, second));

    public int getYear() {
        return this.localDateTime.getYear();

    public Month getMonth() {
        return this.localDateTime.getMonth();
    public int getDayOfMonth() {
        return this.localDateTime.getDayOfMonth();

    public int getHour() {
        return this.localDateTime.getHour();

    public int getMinute() {
        return this.localDateTime.getMinute();

    public int getSecond() {
        return this.localDateTime.getSecond();

    public LocalDateTime toLocalDateTime() {
        return this.localDateTime;

    public MongoLocalDateTime plusDays(long days) {
        return new MongoLocalDateTime(this.localDateTime.plusDays(days));

    public int compareTo(MongoLocalDateTime other) {
        return this.localDateTime.compareTo(other.localDateTime);

    public String toString() {
        return  this.localDateTime.toString();

The MongoLocalDateTime type listed above simply delegates most of its functionality to the underlying LocalDateTime field. One thing to remember is that types in java.time package are immutable and you should design your type to be immutable as well.

The Type Converters

Spring type converters are used to convert from an instance of a given source type to a target type. Spring uses type converters in many places including MVC model binding, bean configuration etc. Spring Data MongoDB also uses type converters to convert back and forth from BSON types to Java types. For our MongoLocalDateTime type we will need two converters one to convert from MongoLocalDateTime to String when we save data to the DB and another one to convert String to MongoLocalDateTime when we read data.

public class MongoLocalDateTimeToStringConverter implements Converter<MongoLocalDateTime, String> {

    private static final DateTimeFormatter formatter = DateTimeFormatter.ofPattern("yyyy-MM-dd'T'HHss.SSS");

    public String convert(MongoLocalDateTime source) {
        return formatter.format(source.toLocalDateTime());


public class StringToMongoLocalDateTimeConverter implements Converter<String, MongoLocalDateTime> {

    private static final TypeDescriptor SOURCE = TypeDescriptor.valueOf(String.class);
    private static final TypeDescriptor TARGET = TypeDescriptor.valueOf(MongoLocalDateTime.class);

    public MongoLocalDateTime convert(String source) {
        try {
            return MongoLocalDateTime.of(LocalDateTime.parse(source));
        } catch (DateTimeParseException ex) {
            throw new ConversionFailedException(SOURCE, TARGET, source, ex);

Finally we need to instruct spring data to use the type converters using a custom mongo configuration.

public class MongoConfiguration extends AbstractMongoConfiguration {

    String database;

    String host;

    protected String getDatabaseName() {
        return database;

    public MongoCustomConversions customConversions() {
        List<Converter<?, ?>> converterList = new ArrayList<>();
        converterList.add(new MongoLocalDateTimeToStringConverter());
        converterList.add(new StringToMongoLocalDateTimeConverter());

        return new MongoCustomConversions(converterList);

    public MongoClient mongoClient() {
        return new MongoClient(host);

Putting it All Together

Now we have all the plumbing required to use our custom date time type. Lets define an Entity and a repository together with some code to use them.

public class LocalTimeEvent {
    private MongoLocalDateTime eventTime;

    public MongoLocalDateTime getEventTime() {
        return this.eventTime;

    public void setEventTime(MongoLocalDateTime eventTime) {
        this.eventTime = eventTime;

public interface LocalTimeEventRepository extends MongoRepository<LocalTimeEvent, String> {
    @Query("{'eventTime':{$gte:'?0', $lte:'?1'}}")
    List<LocalTimeEvent> findByEventTimeRange(MongoLocalDateTime startTime, MongoLocalDateTime end);

The LocalTimeEventRepository.findByEventTimeRange method demonstrates that we can also use our type in custom query methods as well.

The below code segment from MongotimeApplication invokes our repository.


private void createLocalTimeEvents() {
    System.out.println("Deleting old LocalTimeEvent documents and creating 10 new documents.");

    for (int day = 1; day < 11; day++) {
        MongoLocalDateTime dateTime = MongoLocalDateTime.of(2019, 8, day, 8, 0, 0);
        LocalTimeEvent event = new LocalTimeEvent();

private void queryByDateRange() {
    System.out.println("Querying records in date range 2019-08-05 to 2019-08-08.");

    MongoLocalDateTime start = MongoLocalDateTime.of(2019, 8, 5, 0, 0, 0);
    MongoLocalDateTime end = MongoLocalDateTime.of(2019, 8, 8, 0, 0, 0);

    List<LocalTimeEvent> result = this.localTimeEventRepository.findByEventTimeRange(start, end);

    for(LocalTimeEvent event: result) {


Using the above method you can get around the problem of MongoDB only supporting UTC date time values. Another neat trick you can do is that you can define new temporal types that has lower precision. In my real world project I used a MongoLocalDateHour type that represents a date and a hour in local time.

Please share your thoughts in comments.