Michael Diamond edited this page Mar 22, 2017 · 4 revisions

Binding Annotations

Occasionally you'll want multiple bindings for a same type. For example, you might want both a PayPal credit card processor and a Google Checkout processor. To enable this, bindings support an optional binding annotation. The annotation and type together uniquely identify a binding. This pair is called a key.

Defining a binding annotation requires two lines of code plus several imports. Put this in its own .java file or inside the type that it annotates.


import java.lang.annotation.Target;
import java.lang.annotation.Retention;
import static java.lang.annotation.RetentionPolicy.RUNTIME;
import static java.lang.annotation.ElementType.PARAMETER;
import static java.lang.annotation.ElementType.FIELD;
import static java.lang.annotation.ElementType.METHOD;

@BindingAnnotation @Target({ FIELD, PARAMETER, METHOD }) @Retention(RUNTIME)
public @interface PayPal {}

You don't need to understand all of these meta-annotations, but if you're curious:

  • @BindingAnnotation tells Guice that this is a binding annotation. Guice will produce an error if ever multiple binding annotations apply to the same member.
  • @Target({FIELD, PARAMETER, METHOD}) is a courtesy to your users. It prevents @PayPal from being accidentally being applied where it serves no purpose.
  • @Retention(RUNTIME) makes the annotation available at runtime.

To depend on the annotated binding, apply the annotation to the injected parameter:

public class RealBillingService implements BillingService {

  public RealBillingService(@PayPal CreditCardProcessor processor,
      TransactionLog transactionLog) {

Lastly we create a binding that uses the annotation. This uses the optional annotatedWith clause in the bind() statement:



Guice comes with a built-in binding annotation @Named that takes a string:

public class RealBillingService implements BillingService {

  public RealBillingService(@Named("Checkout") CreditCardProcessor processor,
      TransactionLog transactionLog) {

To bind a specific name, use Names.named() to create an instance to pass to annotatedWith:


Since the compiler can't check the string, we recommend using @Named sparingly. Defining your own purpose-built annotations provides better type-safety.

Binding Annotations with Attributes

Guice supports binding annotations that have attribute values (like @Named). In the rare case that you need such an annotation (and can't use an @Provides method) we encourage you to use @AutoAnnotation from the Auto/Value project, as properly implementing an annotation is error-prone. If you do decide to manually create a custom implementation be sure to properly implement the equals() and hashCode() specifications detailed in the Annotation Javadoc. Pass an instance of this class to the annotatedWith() binding clause.

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