Welcome to json-simple's project page

The json-simple library is meant to be a free lightweight utility for deserializing and serializing Javascript Object Notation (JSON). It aims to be easy to learn and use with a friendly license.

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Download json-simple's latest release jar, javadocs, and source.

As a Gradle Dependency

runtime 'com.github.cliftonlabs:json-simple:3.1.0'

As a Maven Dependency



View the repository's change log to see what is new.


Report bugs or request features at the repository's issues page.


Browse the json-simple latest release javadocs.



See these features in action in the example.


We recommend enums that implement JsonKey. Minting keys directly should be used with discretion, like when another default value other than the one defined in the enum should be used in a specific case, while the enum is used in general cases.
import java.io.IOException;
import java.io.StringWriter;
import java.io.Writer;
import java.util.NoSuchElementException;

import com.github.cliftonlabs.json_simple.JsonArray;
import com.github.cliftonlabs.json_simple.JsonException;
import com.github.cliftonlabs.json_simple.JsonKey;
import com.github.cliftonlabs.json_simple.JsonObject;
import com.github.cliftonlabs.json_simple.Jsonable;
import com.github.cliftonlabs.json_simple.Jsoner;

/** Jsonable practical example implementation with notes on alternative implementations when more flexibility may be
 * needed for your project. */
public class JsonSimpleExample implements Jsonable{
	/** Establish JsonKeys to make sure the code is easier to refactor in the future. Enumerating keys is shown since it
	 * is the recommended option but keys can be minted as static constants via
	 * {@link Jsoner#mintJsonKey(String, Object)} as well. */
	enum ExampleKeys implements JsonKey{
	/** Describe any documentation necessary so that it is available when others need to know what the keys mean or
	 * what its value should represent. */
	/** @see ExampleKeys#getKey() */
			PREFIX = "json_example_";
		/** Prefixes can be used to name space your keys to make it more readable in JSON format. */
		private static final String	PREFIX;
		/** @see ExampleKeys#getValue() */
		private final Object		value;

		/** Instantiates a JsonKey with the provided value.
		 * @param value represents a valid default for the key. */
		ExampleKeys(final Object value){
			this.value = value;

		public String getKey(){
			/* You can use the enum name as is or have a String field that holds the key itself or ensure the keys are
			 * in a particular format (like lowercase). */
			return ExampleKeys.PREFIX + this.name().toLowerCase();

		public Object getValue(){
			/* Can represent a valid default, error value, or null adhoc for the JsonKey. See the javadocs for more
			 * information about its intended use. */
			return this.value;

	/** An assortment of data for the instance can be serialized to JSON format. If a non-JSON value is needed you can
	 * make a wrapper that implements Jsonable or do the conversion in the instance's toJson() method.
	 * Javadocs for a field SHOULD be described in the JsonKey that represents the field to avoid duplicated javadocs
	 * and inconsistently updated documentation. It is also the most 'public' documentation to aid developers who are
	 * parsing the JSON that represents the Jsonable, whether they're internal on another project or external API
	 * consumers but shouldn't be exposing internal field implementations to. Of course, any documentation relevant to
	 * the implementation can be accounted for on the field itself instead of in the key's javadocs. */
	private final String	fieldOne;
	private final int		fieldTwo;

	/** Instantiates with default data. */
	private JsonSimpleExample(){
		this.fieldOne = (String)JsonSimpleExample.ExampleKeys.KEY_ONE.getValue();
		this.fieldTwo = (int)JsonSimpleExample.ExampleKeys.KEY_TWO.getValue();

	/** Instantiates JsonSimpleExample using a JsonObject, but uses the key's provided values if it isn't present
	 * without reflection or security exception potential.
	 * @param json represents a JsonSimpleExample in JsonObject form. */
	JsonSimpleExample(final JsonObject json){
		this(json.getStringOrDefault(JsonSimpleExample.ExampleKeys.KEY_ONE), json.getIntegerOrDefault(JsonSimpleExample.ExampleKeys.KEY_TWO));
		/* The called constructor is assumed to do any validation for the values provided. Like in this case checking
		 * that fieldOne isn't null and fieldTwo is within the specified range. However checking if defaults were used
		 * is as simple as checking if the JSON field was present. */
			/* Print to the log that a JsonSimpleExample resorted to a default value. */
			System.out.println(JsonSimpleExample.class.getSimpleName() + " wasn't provided a fieldOne value and so defaulted to: " + ExampleKeys.KEY_ONE.getValue());
			/* Print to the log that a JsonSimpleExample resorted to a default value. */
			System.out.println(JsonSimpleExample.class.getSimpleName() + " wasn't provided a fieldTwo value and so defaulted to: " + ExampleKeys.KEY_TWO.getValue());

	/** Instantiates JsonSimpleExample without assumptions.
	 * @param fieldOne represents your first constructor parameter.
	 * @param fieldTwo represents your second constructor parameter. */
	public JsonSimpleExample(final String fieldOne, final int fieldTwo){
		if(fieldOne == null){
			throw new IllegalArgumentException(JsonSimpleExample.class.getSimpleName() + " cannot be instantiated with a null value for fieldOne.");
		if(fieldTwo < 0){
			throw new IllegalArgumentException(JsonSimpleExample.class.getSimpleName() + " cannot be instantiated with a value less than 0 for fieldTwo.");
		this.fieldOne = fieldOne;
		this.fieldTwo = fieldTwo;

	/** The main function isn't part of the practical example and only demonstrates the library's features using the
	 * JsonSimpleExample object.
	 * @param args the command line arguments are ignored. */
	public static void main(final String[] args){
		/* Minting a temporary key for the library demonstration. They should be minted in an enumeration or as class
		 * constants in practice. Also, demonstrates a temporary key minted with a different value for different
		 * contexts. */
		final JsonKey requiredKey = Jsoner.mintJsonKey("required_key", 123);
		final JsonKey missingKeyWithDefault = Jsoner.mintJsonKey("missing_key", "Defaults are convenient.");
		final JsonKey missingKeyWithErrorValue = Jsoner.mintJsonKey(missingKeyWithDefault.getKey(), (byte)-1);
		final JsonKey missingKeyWithMap = Jsoner.mintJsonKey(missingKeyWithDefault.getKey(), new JsonObject());
		final JsonKey missingKeyWithCollection = Jsoner.mintJsonKey(missingKeyWithDefault.getKey(), new JsonArray());
		/* jsonInput represents valid JSON.
		 * carelessInput represents invalid JSON due to common typos but can be recovered from like missing a colon or
		 * comma.
		 * badInput represents invalid JSON that cannot be recovered from like vague boundaries of an object and array.
		 * All the variables for the example: */
		final JsonSimpleExample jsonable = new JsonSimpleExample();
		final String jsonInput = "{\"required_key\":123,\"key\":[\"value0\",\"value1\",2,true]}";
		final String carelessInput = "{\"required_key\"123,\"key\":[\"value0\" \"value1\" 2 true],}";
		final String badInput = "{\"required_key\":123,\"key\":[\"value0\",\"value1\",2,true}";
		Object jsonOutput;
		Object carelessOutput;
		Object badOutput;
		JsonObject deserializedObject;
		JsonArray deserializedArray;
		String jsonSerialized;
		String carelessSerialized;
		String badSerialized;
		String serializedObject;
		String serializedArray;
		String jsonPrettyPrinted;
		String carelessPrettyPrinted;
		String badPrettyPrinted;
		String objectPrettyPrinted;
		String arrayPrettyPrinted;
		String asString;
		int asInt;
		double asDouble;
		String castFromMissingKey;
		String defaultedStringFromMissingKey;
		byte errorFromMissingKey;
		JsonObject defaultedMapFromMissingKey;
		JsonArray defaultedCollectionFromMissingKey;
		/* Deserialize stuff in json-simple by handling a DeserializationException. The jsonInput and carelessInput
		 * produce the same result, but since badInput is ambiguous due to the missing ']' to close the nested array it
		 * will produce a DeserializationException. */
			jsonOutput = Jsoner.deserialize(jsonInput);
		}catch(final JsonException caught){
			/* Won't happen in this example. */
			jsonOutput = null;
			carelessOutput = Jsoner.deserialize(carelessInput);
		}catch(final JsonException caught){
			/* Won't happen in this example. */
			carelessOutput = null;
			badOutput = Jsoner.deserialize(badInput);
		}catch(final JsonException caught){
			/* Obviously, bad input didn't work. */
			badOutput = null;
		/* You can also deserialize stuff without handling a DeserializationException if you know what you want in
		 * advance and provide a default return object just in case it fails to deserialize your input or wasn't
		 * expected (like having object input when you wanted an array). */
		deserializedObject = Jsoner.deserialize(jsonInput, new JsonObject());
		deserializedArray = Jsoner.deserialize(jsonInput, new JsonArray());
		/* Serialize things into proper JSON format no matter how it was input. Here you'll notice that the jsonInput
		 * and carelessInput will have the same valid JSON result and the badJson will produce a null JSON output. */
		jsonSerialized = Jsoner.serialize(jsonOutput);
		carelessSerialized = Jsoner.serialize(carelessOutput);
		badSerialized = Jsoner.serialize(badOutput);
		serializedObject = Jsoner.serialize(deserializedObject);
		serializedArray = Jsoner.serialize(deserializedArray);
		/* You can also pretty print it for your logs with tabs or spaces. */
		jsonPrettyPrinted = Jsoner.prettyPrint(jsonSerialized);
		carelessPrettyPrinted = Jsoner.prettyPrint(carelessSerialized, 4);
		badPrettyPrinted = Jsoner.prettyPrint(badSerialized, 10);
		objectPrettyPrinted = Jsoner.prettyPrint(serializedObject);
		arrayPrettyPrinted = Jsoner.prettyPrint(serializedArray);
		/* JsonObject implement java.util.Map and JsonArray implement java.util.List so you can use the APIs you're
		 * already familiar with. */
		/* Like enforcing a specific key is required: */
			throw new IllegalStateException("The JSON representation of an object is missing a mandatory key: 'required_key'.");
		/* or using convenience functions added: */
			deserializedObject.requireKeys(requiredKey, requiredKey, requiredKey);
		}catch(final NoSuchElementException caught){
			/* Can use a more context appropriate throwable or let the exception bubble up to be handled by a
			 * controller. */
		/* You also have some added functionality, like getting and casting in one call with type safety. Notice how the
		 * 'required_key' value is an int but can be retrieved as a String, whole number, or float format so you can use
		 * the value in various but similar formats without changing its data type in the Java/JSON data structure. */
		asString = deserializedObject.getString(requiredKey);
		asInt = deserializedObject.getInteger(requiredKey);
		asDouble = deserializedObject.getDouble(requiredKey);
		/* Enforcing that a map contains a specific key can ensure you're working with the data you expect and prevent
		 * something like the following: */
		castFromMissingKey = deserializedObject.getString(missingKeyWithDefault);
		/* castFromMissingKey is silently null just like a Map would return, but may indicate we're
		 * working with data we're not expecting.
		 * However, objects can also get with defaults if something isn't there if you don't want to make it required
		 * and want to avoid nulls returned by missing keys (though a null could be returned if the key is explicitly
		 * set to null, just like a Map would). */
		defaultedStringFromMissingKey = deserializedObject.getStringOrDefault(missingKeyWithDefault);
		errorFromMissingKey = deserializedObject.getByteOrDefault(missingKeyWithErrorValue);
		defaultedMapFromMissingKey = deserializedObject.getMapOrDefault(missingKeyWithMap);
		defaultedCollectionFromMissingKey = deserializedObject.getCollectionOrDefault(missingKeyWithCollection);
		/* Display the output of the example code: */
		System.out.println("JSON: \"" + jsonInput + "\"");
		System.out.println("Careless: \"" + carelessInput + "\"");
		System.out.println("Bad: \"" + badInput + "\"");
		System.out.println("Output's toString():");
		System.out.println("Jsonable: " + jsonable.toString());
		System.out.println("JSON: " + jsonOutput);
		System.out.println("Careless: " + carelessOutput);
		System.out.println("Bad: " + badOutput);
		System.out.println("Object: " + deserializedObject);
		System.out.println("Array: " + deserializedArray);
		System.out.println("Serialized to JSON:");
		System.out.println("Jsonable: " + jsonable.toJson());
		System.out.println("JSON: " + jsonSerialized);
		System.out.println("Careless: " + carelessSerialized);
		System.out.println("Bad: " + badSerialized);
		System.out.println("Object: " + serializedObject);
		System.out.println("Array: " + serializedArray);
		System.out.println("Pretty printed JSON:");
		System.out.println("Jsonable: " + Jsoner.prettyPrint(jsonable.toJson()));
		System.out.println("JSON: " + jsonPrettyPrinted);
		System.out.println("Careless: " + carelessPrettyPrinted);
		System.out.println("Bad: " + badPrettyPrinted);
		System.out.println("Object: " + objectPrettyPrinted);
		System.out.println("Array: " + arrayPrettyPrinted);
		System.out.println("The required_key as different types:");
		System.out.println("String: " + asString);
		System.out.println("int: " + asInt);
		System.out.println("double: " + asDouble);
		System.out.println("Handling missing_key:");
		System.out.println("Get or getCast: " + castFromMissingKey);
		System.out.println("default String value: " + defaultedStringFromMissingKey);
		System.out.println("default to error value: " + errorFromMissingKey);
		System.out.println("default Map value: " + defaultedMapFromMissingKey);
		System.out.println("default Collection value: " + defaultedCollectionFromMissingKey);

	/** A standard getter for the field, but will be necessary to have at least protected status if the Jsonable is part
	 * of an API that is expected to be extended and have fieldOne in its JSON.
	 * @return a String that represents fieldOne as a proxy to a field the developer following this example is using. */
	protected String getFieldOne(){
		return this.fieldOne;

	/** A standard getter for the field, but since it is package level and the field is private only classes that extend
	 * JsonSimpleExample within the package will be able to produce a full JsonSimpleExample in JSON format. Thus
	 * constructors taking the JSON format outside the package will have to accommodate the fact that fieldTwo isn't
	 * available naturally.
	 * @return an int that represents fieldTwo as a proxy to a field the developer following this example is using. */
	int getFieldTwo(){
		return this.fieldTwo;

	public String toJson(){
		final StringWriter writable = new StringWriter();
		}catch(final IOException caught){
			/* See java.io.StringWriter. */
		return writable.toString();

	public void toJson(final Writer writable) throws IOException{
		/* Since this example matches the JsonObject format we're just using the JsonObject's implementation. */
		final JsonObject json = new JsonObject();
		json.put(ExampleKeys.KEY_ONE.getKey(), this.getFieldOne());
		json.put(ExampleKeys.KEY_TWO.getKey(), this.getFieldTwo());

	public String toString(){
		return "JsonSimpleExample [fieldOne=" + this.fieldOne + ", fieldTwo=" + this.fieldTwo + "]";


We hope you like where the project is headed and would love to have your support. There is a project history below for those interested in the origins of the project.

This project was formerly JSON.simple from a Google code project by Yidong.

The 1.* versions of the library had the potential to produce bad JSON, its documentation was uncentralized hosted privately in various locations around the Internet, and with many issues open on the project it seemed the upstream was dead and fairly important to many projects since it had a unique architecture. A few of those projects were internal for Clifton Labs, so it was decided there was value in updating the library and attempt to merge upstream to share our work with anyone else that could benefit.

After redesigning the library to be backwards compatible it was decided that support for java 2 to 6 would be dropped in favor of generics (thus a 2.* version) as it was the most avidly requested feature. The library was also written in the package org.json.simple so a maven artifact under the org.json.simple groupId made sense. Once all that work was done it was up to the merge with upstream to take over the rest. However, after many emails and external issues only the first part went according to plan. So, the project is now maintained by Clifton Labs and the maven artifacts are now published under the groupId 'com.github.cliftonlabs' (formerly 'com.googlecode.json-simple').

The issues above can be reviewed in detail at the following external resources: the groupId request, the request for the org.json.simple groupId, and the merge upstream.

If you've used a version before version 3.0.0 and do not wish to upgrade yet: use version 2.3.1 for the latest backwards compatible version to upgrade 1.* and 2.* code gradually to 3.* style code. Once you're ready to upgrade to 3.* all you need to do is replace import packages with com.github.cliftonlabs.json_simple and replace DeserializationException with JsonException and you'll be good to go.


Davin Loegering designed and developed the 2.* and 3.* versions.

Fang Yidong architected and developed the 1.* versions.

Chris Nokleberg contributed to the 1.* versions.

Dave Hughes contributed to the 1.* versions.

Chris (cbojar on github) provided fixes released in the 3.0.2 version.


Github for providing such a great collaboration platform.

Clifton Labs for taking over maintenance of the project.

William L. Thomson Jr. for early and valuable feedback to help get the project off the ground.