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Data encryption - Temporal Java SDK feature guide

This page shows how to do the following:

Custom Payload Codec in Java

How to create a custom Payload Codec using the Java SDK.

Create a custom implementation of PayloadCodec and use it in CodecDataConverter to set a custom Data Converter.

The Payload Codec does byte-to-byte conversion and must be set with a Data Converter.

Define custom encryption/compression logic in your encode method and decryption/decompression logic in your decode method.

The following example from the Java encryption sample shows how to implement encryption and decryption logic on your payloads in your encode and decode methods.

class YourCustomPayloadCodec implements PayloadCodec {

static final ByteString METADATA_ENCODING =
ByteString.copyFrom("binary/encrypted", StandardCharsets.UTF_8);

private static final String CIPHER = "AES/GCM/NoPadding";

// Define constants that you can add to your encoded Payload to create a new Payload.
static final String METADATA_ENCRYPTION_CIPHER_KEY = "encryption-cipher";

static final ByteString METADATA_ENCRYPTION_CIPHER =
ByteString.copyFrom(CIPHER, StandardCharsets.UTF_8);

static final String METADATA_ENCRYPTION_KEY_ID_KEY = "encryption-key-id";

private static final Charset UTF_8 = StandardCharsets.UTF_8;

// See the linked sample for details on the methods called here.
public List<Payload> encode(@NotNull List<Payload> payloads) {

public List<Payload> decode(@NotNull List<Payload> payloads) {

private Payload encodePayload(Payload payload) {
String keyId = getKeyId();
SecretKey key = getKey(keyId);

byte[] encryptedData;
try {
encryptedData = encrypt(payload.toByteArray(), key); // The encrypt method contains your custom encryption logic.
} catch (Throwable e) {
throw new DataConverterException(e);
// Apply metadata to the encoded Payload that you can verify in your decode method before decoding.
// See the sample for details on the metadata values set.
return Payload.newBuilder()
.putMetadata(METADATA_ENCRYPTION_KEY_ID_KEY, ByteString.copyFromUtf8(keyId))

private Payload decodePayload(Payload payload) {
// Verify the incoming encoded Payload metadata before applying decryption.
payload.getMetadataOrDefault(EncodingKeys.METADATA_ENCODING_KEY, null))) {
String keyId;
try {
keyId = payload.getMetadataOrThrow(METADATA_ENCRYPTION_KEY_ID_KEY).toString(UTF_8);
} catch (Exception e) {
throw new PayloadCodecException(e);
SecretKey key = getKey(keyId);
byte[] plainData;
Payload decryptedPayload;

try {
plainData = decrypt(payload.getData().toByteArray(), key); // The decrypt method contains your custom decryption logic.
decryptedPayload = Payload.parseFrom(plainData);
return decryptedPayload;
} catch (Throwable e) {
throw new PayloadCodecException(e);
} else {
return payload;

private String getKeyId() {
// Currently there is no context available to vary which key is used.
// Use a fixed key for all payloads.
// This still supports key rotation as the key ID is recorded on payloads allowing
// decryption to use a previous key.

return "test-key-test-key-test-key-test!";

private SecretKey getKey(String keyId) {
// Key must be fetched from KMS or other secure storage.
// Hard coded here only for example purposes.
return new SecretKeySpec(keyId.getBytes(UTF_8), "AES");


Set Data Converter to use custom Payload Codec

Use CodecDataConverter with an instance of a Data Converter and the custom PayloadCodec in the WorkflowClient options that you use in your Worker process and to start your Workflow Executions.

For example, to set a custom PayloadCodec implementation with DefaultDataConverter, use the following code:

WorkflowServiceStubs service = WorkflowServiceStubs.newLocalServiceStubs();
// Client that can be used to start and signal Workflows
WorkflowClient client =
new CodecDataConverter(
Collections.singletonList(new YourCustomPayloadCodec()))) // Sets the custom Payload Codec created in the previous example with an instance of the default Data Converter.

For example implementations, see the following samples:

Custom Payload conversion

How to do custom Payload conversion using the Java SDK.

Temporal SDKs provide a Payload Converter that can be customized to convert a custom data type to Payload and back.

Implementing custom Payload conversion is optional. It is needed only if the default Data Converter does not support your custom values.

To support custom Payload conversion, create a custom Payload Converter and configure the Data Converter to use it in your Client options.

The order in which your encoding Payload Converters are applied depend on the order given to the Data Converter. You can set multiple encoding Payload Converters to run your conversions. When the Data Converter receives a value for conversion, it passes through each Payload Converter in sequence until the converter that handles the data type does the conversion.

Create a custom implementation of a PayloadConverter interface and use the withPayloadConverterOverrides method to implement the custom object conversion with DefaultDataConverter.

PayloadConverter serializes and deserializes method parameters that need to be sent over the wire. You can create a custom implementation of PayloadConverter for custom formats, as shown in the following example:

/** Payload Converter specific to your custom object */
public class YourCustomPayloadConverter implements PayloadConverter {
public String getEncodingType() {
return "json/plain"; // The encoding type determines which default conversion behavior to override.

public Optional<Payload> toData(Object value) throws DataConverterException {
// Add your convert-to logic here.

public <T> T fromData(Payload content, Class<T> valueClass, Type valueType)
throws DataConverterException {
// Add your convert-from logic here.

You can also use specific implementation classes provided in the Java SDK.

For example, to create a custom JacksonJsonPayloadConverter, use the following:

private static JacksonJsonPayloadConverter yourCustomJacksonJsonPayloadConverter() {
ObjectMapper objectMapper = new ObjectMapper();
// Add your custom logic here.
return new JacksonJsonPayloadConverter(objectMapper);

To set your custom Payload Converter, use it with withPayloadConverterOverrides with a new instance of DefaultDataConverter in your WorkflowClient options that you use in your Worker process and to start your Workflow Executions.

The following example shows how to set a custom YourCustomPayloadConverter Payload Converter.

DefaultDataConverter ddc =
.withPayloadConverterOverrides(new YourCustomPayloadConverter());

WorkflowClientOptions workflowClientOptions =