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Persistent Data Container (PDC)

The Persistent Data Container (PDC) is a way to store custom data on a whole range of objects; such as items, entities, and blocks. The full list of classes that support the PDC are:

What is it used for?

In the past, developers resorted to a variety of methods to store custom data on objects:

  • NBT tags: Requires reflection to access internals and was generally unreliable in the long term.
  • Lore and display names: Prone to collisions as well as slow to access.

The benefit of the PDC is that it allows for a more reliable and performant way to store arbitrary data on objects. It also doesn't rely on accessing server internals, so it's less likely to break on future versions. It also removes the need to manually track the data lifecycle, as, for example with an entity, the PDC will be saved when the entity unloads.

Adding data

To store data in the PDC, there are a few things you need first. The first is a NamespacedKey, which is used to identify the data. The second is a PersistentDataContainer, which is the object you want to store the data on. The third is the data itself.

// Create a NamespacedKey
NamespacedKey key = new NamespacedKey(pluginInstance, "example-key");

ItemStack item = new ItemStack(Material.DIAMOND);
// ItemMeta implements PersistentDataHolder, so we can get the PDC from it
ItemMeta meta = item.getItemMeta();
meta.getPersistentDataContainer().set(key, PersistentDataType.STRING, "I love Tacos!");

It is considered good practice to reuse NamespacedKey objects. They can be constructed with either:

The first option is often preferred as it will automatically use the plugin's namespace; however, the second option can be used if you want to use a different namespace or access the data from another plugin.

Getting data

To get data from the PDC, you need to know the NamespacedKey and the PersistentDataType of the data.

// Create a NamespacedKey
NamespacedKey key = new NamespacedKey(pluginInstance, "example-key");

ItemStack item = ...; // Retrieve the item from before
// Get the data from the PDC
PersistentDataContainer container = item.getItemMeta().getPersistentDataContainer();
if (container.has(key, PersistentDataType.STRING)) {
String value = container.get(key, PersistentDataType.STRING);
// Do something with the value

Data types

The PDC supports a wide range of data types, such as:

  • Byte, Byte Array
  • Double
  • Float
  • Integer, Integer Array
  • Long, Long Array
  • Short
  • String
  • Boolean
  • Tag Containers - a way to nest PDCs within each other. To create a new PersistentDataContainer, you can use:
    // Get the existing container
    PersistentDataContainer container = ...;
    // Create a new container
    PersistentDataContainer newContainer = container.getAdapterContext().newPersistentDataContainer();
  • Lists - a way to represent lists of data that can be stored via another persistent data type. You may create them via:
    // Storing a list of strings in a container by verbosely creating
    // a list data type wrapping the string data type.
    List.of("a", "list", "of", "strings")

    // Storing a list of strings in a container by using the api
    // provided pre-definitions of commonly used list types.
    container.set(key, PersistentDataType.LIST.strings(), List.of("a", "list", "of", "strings"));

    // Retrieving a list of strings from the container.
    List<String> strings = container.get(key, PersistentDataType.LIST.strings());
Boolean PersistentDataType

The Boolean PDC type exists for convenience

  • you cannot make more complex types distill to a Boolean.

Custom data types

You can store a wide range of data in the PDC with the native adapters; however, if you need a more complex data type, you can implement your own PersistentDataType and use that instead. The PersistentDataType's job is to "deconstruct" a complex data type into something that is natively supported (see above) and then vice-versa.

Here is an example of how to do that for a UUID:

public class UUIDDataType implements PersistentDataType<byte[], UUID> {
public Class<byte[]> getPrimitiveType() {
return byte[].class;

public Class<UUID> getComplexType() {
return UUID.class;

public byte[] toPrimitive(UUID complex, PersistentDataAdapterContext context) {
ByteBuffer bb = ByteBuffer.wrap(new byte[16]);
return bb.array();

public UUID fromPrimitive(byte[] primitive, PersistentDataAdapterContext context) {
ByteBuffer bb = ByteBuffer.wrap(primitive);
long firstLong = bb.getLong();
long secondLong = bb.getLong();
return new UUID(firstLong, secondLong);

In order to use your own PersistentDataType, you must pass an instance of it to the get/ set/ has methods.

container.set(key, new UUIDDataType(), uuid);

Storing on different objects

Objects that can have a PDC implement the PersistentDataHolder interface and their PDC can be fetched with PersistentDataHolder#getPersistentDataContainer().

  • Chunk
    • Chunk#getPersistentDataContainer()
  • World
    • World#getPersistentDataContainer()
  • Entity
    • Entity#getPersistentDataContainer()
  • TileState
    • This is slightly more complicated, as you need to cast the block to something that extends TileState. This does not work for all blocks, only those that have a tile entity.
        Block block = ...;
      if (block.getState() instanceof Chest chest) {
      chest.getPersistentDataContainer().set(key, PersistentDataType.STRING, "I love Tacos!");
  • Structure
    • Structure#getPersistentDataContainer()
  • ItemMeta
    • ItemMeta#getPersistentDataContainer()