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 package com.fasterxml.jackson.core.type;
This generic abstract class is used for obtaining full generics type information by sub-classing; it must be converted to ResolvedType implementation (implemented by JavaType from "databind" bundle) to be used. Class is based on ideas from, Additional idea (from a suggestion made in comments of the article) is to require bogus implementation of Comparable (any such generic interface would do, as long as it forces a method with generic type to be implemented). to ensure that a Type argument is indeed given.

Usage is by sub-classing: here is one way to instantiate reference to generic type List<Integer>:

  TypeReference ref = new TypeReference<List<Integer>>() { };
which can be passed to methods that accept TypeReference, or resolved using TypeFactory to obtain ResolvedType.
public abstract class TypeReference<T>
    implements Comparable<TypeReference<T>>
    protected final Type _type;
    protected TypeReference()
        Type superClass = getClass().getGenericSuperclass();
        if (superClass instanceof Class<?>) { // sanity check, should never happen
            throw new IllegalArgumentException("Internal error: TypeReference constructed without actual type information");
        /* 22-Dec-2008, tatu: Not sure if this case is safe -- I suspect
         *   it is possible to make it fail?
         *   But let's deal with specific
         *   case when we know an actual use case, and thereby suitable
         *   workarounds for valid case(s) and/or error to throw
         *   on invalid one(s).
         = ((ParameterizedTypesuperClass).getActualTypeArguments()[0];
    public Type getType() { return ; }
The only reason we define this method (and require implementation of Comparable) is to prevent constructing a reference without type information.
    public int compareTo(TypeReference<T> o) {
        // just need an implementation, not a good one... hence:
        return 0;
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