New to Analytica 5.0

This function requires the Analytica Enterprise edition or higher (e.g., Analytica Optimizer, ADE or CubePlan).

ParseJSON( json, objectSchema..., flags )

Parses JSON text in «json» to generate corresponding Analytica data and arrays. Usually, you will obtain the «json» text from a call to ReadTextFile or ReadFromUrl. It works without an «objectSchema». But you can specify an «objectSchema» to help map the structure of the data using indexes in your model.

JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) is a widely used lightweight data-interchange format. It is easy for humans and machines to read and write.


  • «json»: A JSON-formatted text to parse.
  • «objectSchema»: A schema describing the JSON class structure and mapping it into Analytica index(es). See Parsing with a schema. If given no «objectSchema», see Parsing without a schema below.
  • «flags»: (optional) A bit field of flags that control various aspects of parsing. Bit settings are
    • 1 = During schema-free parsing, create local indexes .Dim1, .Dim2, ... for arrays. Without this, each level of an array is returned as a reference to a list.

Parsing without a schema

The top-level item in a JSON text document should be a JSON object, for example:

Variable json1 
    '{ "title" : "1984",
       "author" : "George Orwell",
       "year" : 1949,
       "pages" : 336,
       "paperback" : true

Here is the result of parsing that JSON text without providing a schema:


The result has a local index named .Member identifying the fields of the object. The value of the 'title' is text because it was enclosed in quotes "1984". The value in 'year' is a number, because it was not enclosed in quotes:

Variable parse1a := ParseJSON(json1)
TypeOf(parse1a[.Member='title']) → 'Text'
TypeOf(parse1a[.Member='year']) → 'Number'

JSON with nested objects and no schema

With a JSON document containing nested objects, it creates local indexes at each level. To prevent the indexes from combining into a rectangular array, it places each member object in a reference.

Variable json2 
    '{ "title" : "1984",
       "author" : { "first" : "George", "last" : "Orwell" },
       "year" : 1949,
       "pages" : 336,
       "paperback" : true
Variable parse2 := ParseJSON(json2)

Reading JSON arrays

With no schema, ParseJSON does not map array data to existing indexes that you might have. There are two ways to read that depending on whether you set the «flags» parameter. By default, if you don't specify «flags», it returns arrays as lists and any nested array data to references to lists (to avoid having the implicit dimensions combine with other indexes).

Variable json3 := '{ "data": [ [ 1,2], [3,4], [5,6] ] }'
Variable parse3 := ParseJSON(json3)

If you set used «flags» to 1, ParseJSON creates local indexes, named .Dim1, .Dim2, etc., for each nesting level in «json», and produces a multi-dimensional array without nesting.

Variable parse3b := ParseJSON(json3, flags:1)

Parsing with a schema

A schema describes the data structure of a Java Script object, and the indexes in your model you want to map to.

JSON object schemas

The class structure for a JavaScript object is described a 1-D array, where the index contains the member ("field") names, and the cell values may include a nested structure. For example, consider this json2 data again:

    '{ "title" : "1984",
       "author" : { "first" : "George", "last" : "Orwell" },
       "year" : 1949,
       "pages" : 336,
       "paperback" : true

This JavaScript has a top-level object (Book) and a nested object (PersonName). We can encode the «objectSchema» thus:

Index Book := ['title', 'author', 'year', 'pages', 'paperback']
Index PersonName := ['first', 'last']
Variable BookSchema := Table(Book)('atom',Handle(PersonName),'atom','atom','atom')
Variable NameSchema := Array(PersonName,'atom')
Variable parse4 := ParseJSON(json2, BookSchema, NameSchema )
ParseJSON withSchema1.png
ParseJSON withSchema2.png

The result uses the indexes, Book and PersonName, rather than the local indexes that you get if you don't provide a schema parameter.

When specifying a schema with multiple objects, you must give top-level «objectSchema» first.

The labels in the index must match the JSON object's member names exactly. It is case-sensitive. But the order of your index labels does not need to match the order in the JSON. You can include extra labels ("fields names") in your index. But it must contain a label matching every member used in the «json» data -- or it will give an error.

Member schema options

The following options can be used in a cell of an «objectSchema», each describing what is expected for the value of the corresponding member.

  • 'atom'; The text 'atom' specifies that the data for that member shall not be an object or an array. It can be text (surrounded by double quotes), a number, or the keywords: null, true or false.
  • Null: Any valid «json» is allowed, and the json appearing for that element is parsed without a schema.
  • Handle(index): A handle to an index specifies that a JSON-object is expected, with member names that match the elements of «index». If a schema for that index appears in «objectSchema», that that schema guides the parsing. The result for this member will be a reference to a 1-D array indexed by «index».
  • \ListOfHandles(I,J,K): A reference to a list of handles to indexes specifies that a JSON-array is expected here, and the indexes specify the indexes for the result, and the index order. The first index (i.e., «I») corresponds to the outermost index in the JSON array. When 2 or more indexes are listed, the final index can be either an array index or an object index. An object index is used when the «json» contains an array of objects.

Reading arrays with schema

The JSON standard expects the outermost object to be an object, so the schema always starts with the first «objectSchema». When a member contains an array, its schema should be a reference to a list of index handles containing the indexes for the result.

Variable json3 := '{ "data" : [ [ 1,2], [3,4], [5,6] ] }'
Index J := [1, 2, 3]
Index K := ['k1', 'k2']
Index D := ['Data']
Variable D_Schema := Table(D)( \ListOfHandles( J,K ) )
ParseJSON( json3, D_Schema )
ParseJSON withSchema3a.png
#ParseJSON( json3, D_Schema )[D='data]
ParseJSON withSchema3b.png

In this example, the JSON contains an array of books, so each item in the JSON-array is a book object.

Variable json5
'{ "bibliography" :
    [ { "title" : "1984",
        "author" : { "first" : "George", "last" : "Orwell" },
        "year" : 1949,
        "pages" : 336,
        "paperback" : true
       { "title" : "The Time Machine",
          "author" : { "first" : "H. G.", "last" : "Wells" },
          "year" : 1895,
          "pages" : 118,
          "paperback" : true

The schema for BookSchema has a reference to a list of handles, indicating that an array result is expected, and specifying the indexes for the result. The last index listed is an object with an «objectSchema» (i.e., Book, where BookSchema is provided), thus encoding that an array of book objects is expected.

Index Biblio := ['bibliography']
Variable BookSchema := Table(Biblio)(\ListOfHandles(Book_Num, Book))
Index Book_Num := 1..2
Variable parse5 := ParseJSON( json5, BiblioSchema, BookSchema, NameSchema )
ParseJSON withSchema5.png

In this example, we had to know the number of books in advance. Your schema index(es)must be long enough to accommodate the data, or it will lose any data that doesn't fit. The index can be longer than needed, for example,

Index Book_Num := 1..1K

has space for one thousand books, even though only two appear in the «json». The excess slices along Book_Num contain Null. If you can't be sure that an index will be long enough, you should use schema-free parsing for that member -- i.e. put a Null in that member's schema.

See Also


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