Registering a Custom Converter

Normally, you would register converter to the class you are writing, and in that case the easiest thing to do is to write a nested type ConverterImpl that gets picked up automatically. If you search by that class name, you will see a number of implementations.

Registering a custom converter without modifying the original class

If you want to register a custom XStream converter that will convert items that have already been persisted to disk, and you do not want to modify the source code for the class you want to convert, then you need to hook it up to Jenkins before it reads in those items. Here is one way:

public class MyPlugin extends Plugin {
  public void start() throws Exception {
    Items.XSTREAM.registerConverter(new MyCoolConverter());

The Items#XSTREAM portion should be adjusted to point to the right XStream instance (such as Jenkins#XSTREAM), depending on the persistence context in which your object participates. The converter would look something like this:

import com.thoughtworks.xstream.converters.Converter;

public class MyCoolConverter implements Converter {
  public void marshal(Object source, HierarchicalStreamWriter writer, MarshallingContext context) {
    throw new UnsupportedOperationException("Sorry, no example for marshalling yet!");

  public Object unmarshal(HierarchicalStreamReader reader, UnmarshallingContext context) {
    // Traverse the reader to get structure and attributes of the thing you are converting from
    return new MyThing(some, attrs, etc);

  public boolean canConvert(Class type) {
    return my.plugin.special.MyThing.class == type;