shasht

2022-07-08

JSON reading and writing for the Kzinti.

Upstream URL

github.com/yitzchak/shasht

Author

Tarn W. Burton

License

MIT
README

shasht

Build Status

Common Lisp JSON reading and writing for the Kzinti.

Reading

The primary interface to parsing and reading JSON is the read-json function.

(read-json &optional input-stream-or-string (eof-error-p t) eof-value single-value-p)

The argument input-stream-or-string can be an stream, a string to read from, or nil to use *standard-input*. The arguments eof-error-p and eof-value have the same affect as they do in the Common Lisp function read. If the single-value-p argument is true then the input to read-json is assumed to be a single value, which means that extra tokens at the end will cause an error to be generated.

There are a number of dynamic variables that will influence the parsing of JSON data.

  • common-lisp:*read-default-float-format* — Controls the floating-point format that is to be used when reading a floating-point number.
  • *read-default-true-value* — The default value to return when reading a true token. Initially set to t.
  • *read-default-false-value* — The default value to return when reading a false token. Initially set to nil.
  • *read-default-null-value* — The default value to return when reading a null token. Initially set to :null.
  • *read-default-array-format* — The default format to use when reading an array. Current supported formats are :vector or :list. Initially set to :vector.
  • *read-default-object-format* — The default format to use when reading an object. Current supported formats are :hash-table, :alist or :plist. Initially set to :hash-table.
  • *read-length* — The maximum number of values in an array or an object. Initially set to nil which disables length checking.
  • *read-level* — The maximum number of levels to allow during reading for arrays and objects. Initially set to nil which disables level checking.

There is also a keyword variant read-json* which will set the various dynamic variables from supplied keywords.

(read-json* :stream nil
            :eof-error t
            :eof-value nil 
            :single-value nil
            :true-value t 
            :false-value nil 
            :null-value :null
            :array-format :vector 
            :object-format :hash-table
            :float-format 'single-float
            :length nil
            :level nil)

Writing

The primary interface to serializing and writing JSON is the write-json function.

(write-json value &optional (output-stream t))

The output-stream argument can be a stream, t for *standard-output*, or nil for output to a string. If the output is to a string then this string will be returned, otherwise the original value will be returned.

There are a number of dynamic variables that will influence the serialization of JSON data.

  • common-lisp:*print-pretty* — If true then a simple indentation algorithm will be used.
  • *write-indent-string* — The string to use when indenting objects and arrays. Initially set to #\space.
  • *write-ascii-encoding* — If true then any non ASCII values will be encoded using Unicode escape sequences. Initially set to nil.
  • *write-true-values* — Values that will be written as a true token. Initially set to '(t :true).
  • *write-false-values* — Values that will be written as a false token. Initially set to '(nil :false).
  • *write-null-values* — Values that will be written as a null token. Initially set to (:null).
  • *write-alist-as-object* — If true then assocation lists will be written as an object. Initially set to nil.
  • *write-plist-as-object* — If true then property lists will be written as an object. Initially set to nil.
  • *write-empty-array-values* — A list of values that will be written as an empty array.
  • *write-empty-object-values* — A list of values that will be written as an empty object.
  • *write-array-tags* — A list of values whose appearance in the CAR of a list indicates the CDR of the list should be written as an array. Initially set to '(:array).
  • *write-object-alist-tags* — A list of values whose appearance in the CAR of a list indicates the CDR of the list is an alist and should be written as an object. Initially set to '(:object-alist).
  • *write-object-plist-tags* — A list of values whose appearance in the CAR of a list indicates the CDR of the list is a plist and should be written as an object. Initially set to '(:object-plist).

The actual serialization of JSON data is done by the generic function print-json-value which can be specialized for additional value types.

(print-json-value value output-stream)

There is also a keyword variant write-json* which will set the various dynamic variables from supplied keywords and will default to the current dynamic value of each keyword.

(write-json* value :stream t 
                   :ascii-encoding nil 
                   :true-values '(t :true)
                   :false-values '(nil :false) 
                   :null-values '(:null)
                   :empty-array-values '(:empty-array)
                   :empty-object-values '(:empty-object)
                   :array-tags '(:array)
                   :object-alist-tags '(:object-alist) 
                   :object-plist-tags '(:object-plist) 
                   :alist-as-object nil 
                   :plist-as-object nil
                   :pretty nil 
                   :indent-string "  ")

Serialization Helper Functions

In order to facilitate extending the serialization facilities of shasht there are a number of helper functions available. To aid in the printing of JSON strings there is the following.

(write-json-string value output-stream)

In order to ease the serialization of objects and arrays there is with-json-object and with-json-array. Both of these macros take an output stream as the first argument then enable indentation and automatic handling of all delimiter tokens. Inside the body of with-json-object the function (print-json-key-value key value output-stream) should be used to output a key value pair. Inside the body of with-json-array the function (print-json-value value output-stream) should be used to output a single value. Example usage can be seen in the source code.

JSON Array and Object Literals

Sometimes using incremental serialization via the serialization helper functions is not the best fit for the application. For example, maybe the JSON needs to be assembled from various fragments and then analyzed before serialization. This happens in the Jupyter widget protocol. Binary data value in the JSON are extracted from the JSON and transmitted in binary form in order to decrease the network load.

Since constructing hash tables purely for the purpose of JSON serialization is a bit difficult and potentially memory wasteful, there are various keyword literals that can be used to construct JSON objects in order to avoid this situation. There are also literals for JSON arrays, although they may not be as useful. These literals exist in shasht mostly for consistency. The following shows some examples of the use of these literals.

* (shasht:write-json 
    '(:object-alist ("a" . :empty-array) 
                    ("b" . :empty-object) 
                    ("c" . (:object-plist "d" 1 
                                          "e" (:array 1 2 3)))))
{
  "a": [],
  "b": {},
  "c": {
    "d": 1,
    "e": [
      1,
      2,
      3
    ]
  }
}
(:OBJECT-ALIST ("a" . :EMPTY-ARRAY) ("b" . :EMPTY-OBJECT)
 ("c" :OBJECT-PLIST "d" 1 "e" (:ARRAY 1 2 3)))

The values and tags that indicate these literals can be configured via the dynamic variables *write-empty-array-values*, *write-empty-object-values*, *write-array-tags*, *write-object-alist-tags*, and *write-object-plist-tags*.

These literals forms are only meant for serialization and not for round-trip mapping. Therefore there is no way to read JSON in the same format.

Mapping of Data Types

The mapping of types between Common Lisp and JSON is not one-to-one nor is it without ambiguity due to issues such as Common Lisp's treatment of nil as an empty list and as a false value. JSON also includes null which does not have an obvious representation in Common Lisp. Because of this, shasht makes certain choices in the default mapping of data types between Common Lisp and JSON that may not be ideal for all applications. shasht was primarily designed to be a good round-trip encoder/decoder for common-lisp-jupyter in the network protocol of Jupyter.

A brief explanation of the default mapping is given in the table below. For more detail regarding the mapping of individual types and how to configure that mapping see the sections following this table.

Common LispJSON
integer<->number without decimal or exponent
float<->number with decimal or exponent
ratio->number with decimal or exponent
rational->number with decimal or exponent
string<->string
character->string
pathname->string
symbol not matching other mapping->string
vector<->array
multi-dimensional array->nested array
non-nil list->array
hash table<->object
standard object->object
structure object->object
t<->true
:true->true
nil<->false
:false->false
:null<->null
:empty-array->[]
:empty-object->{}
'(:array 1 2 3)->[1,2,3]
'(:object-alist ("a" . 1) ("b" . 2))->{"a":1,"b":2}
'(:object-plist "a" 1 "b" 2)->{"a":1,"b":2}

Mapping of Number Types

The format of a number read from JSON when a decimal or an exponent is present in the number literal can be influenced with cl:*read-default-float-format*. This is the same behavior of cl:read. In order to read JSON numbers with large exponents one would need do something like the following.

(shasht:read-json "[2.232e75]" :float-format 'double-float)

Mapping of Array Types

The dynamic variables *read-default-array-format*, *write-empty-array-values*, and *write-array-tags* all influence the mapping of JSON arrays to Common Lisp vectors and lists. Common Lisp vectors and multi-dimensional arrays are always writen as JSON arrays. By default JSON arrays are read as Common Lisp vectors. With the default settings only non-nil lists that don't satisfy some other mapping rule are written as JSON arrays.

If one wants to use lists as the default JSON array format then *read-default-false-value*, *read-default-array-format*, and *write-false-value* will need to need to be set to appropriate values since in the default mapping nil maps to false. For example, the following could be done.

(let ((shasht:*read-default-false-value* :false)
      (shasht:*read-default-array-format* :list)
      (shasht:*write-false-values* '(:false)))
 (shasht:read-json ...)
 (shasht:write-json ...))

Lists with a CAR eql to a value in *write-array-tags*, *write-object-alist-tags*, *write-object-plist-tags* will still be written as an array or object as appropriate. To completely disable this behavior the variables would need to be bound to nil. Or one could do the following.

(shasht:write-json '(1 2 3) :false-value '(:false) :array-tags nil
                            :object-alist-tags nil :object-plist-tags nil)

In this case the mapping for array types would become:

Common LispJSON
vector->array
multi-dimensional array->nested array
list<->array

Mapping of Object Types

The dynamic variables *read-default-object-format*, *write-alist-as-object*, *write-plist-as-object*, *write-empty-object-values*, *write-object-alist-tags*, and *write-object-plist-tags* all influence the mapping of JSON objects to Common Lisp hash tables, alists, and plists. Common Lisp hash tables are always written as JSON objects. By default JSON objects are read as Common Lisp hash tables.

In order to use alists as the default JSON object format the dynamic variables *read-default-object-format*, *write-alist-as-object*, *read-default-false-value*, and *write-false-values* will need to be set to appropriate values. For example, the following would use alists as the default JSON object format and :false as the JSON false value.

(let ((shasht:*read-default-object-format* :alist)
      (shasht:*write-alist-as-object* t)
      (shasht:*read-default-false-value* :false)
      (shasht:*write-false-values* '(:false)))
 (shasht:read-json ...)
 (shasht:write-json ...))

In this case the mapping for object types would become:

Common LispJSON
hash table->object
alist<->object
standard object->object
structure object->object

The same could be accomplished for plists by doing the following.

(let ((shasht:*read-default-object-format* :plist)
      (shasht:*write-plist-as-object* t)
      (shasht:*read-default-false-value* :false)
      (shasht:*write-false-values* '(:false)))
 (shasht:read-json ...)
 (shasht:write-json ...))

Compliance

Although concise the JSON specification is very vague on a number of points and thus accurate compliance by implementations is often substandard. Without comprehensive tests compliance is difficult to ascertain. The JSONTestSuite includes over 300 reading tests including those left ambiguous by the specification. The test suite of shasht includes all of these tests in addition to various write tests. For a comparision of the compliance of the Common Lisp implementations of JSON see Compliance Comparision.

Benchmarks

A simple benchmark can be done with tests/bench.lisp. For SBCL the following results are typical.

                                JSON Read Times                                 
             0                     7.002169e-6                      1.4004338e-5
             ˫--------------------------------+--------------------------------˧
     cl-json ███████████████████████████████████▉
    jonathan ████████▊
json-streams ███████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████
       jsown █████████▋
      shasht █████████████▏
     st-json █████████████████████████████████▊
       yason ████████████████████████████████████████▉


                                JSON Write Times                                
             0                    6.2018808e-6                     1.24037615e-5
             ˫--------------------------------+--------------------------------˧
     cl-json ███████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████
    jonathan ████████████████████████████████████▍
json-streams ███████████████████████████████▎
       jsown ████████████████████████████████████████▉
      shasht ███████████▍
     st-json ███████▋
       yason ████████████████████████████████████▏


                             JSON Read/Write Times                              
             0                     1.1348141e-5                     2.2696282e-5
             ˫--------------------------------+--------------------------------˧
     cl-json ███████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████
    jonathan █████████████████████████████████████▍
json-streams ██████████████████████████████████████████████████████████████▉
       jsown ██████████████████████████████▎
      shasht ██████████████████████▏
     st-json ███████████████████████████▋
       yason ███████████████████████████████████████████████████████████▉

Dependencies (4)

  • alexandria
  • closer-mop
  • parachute
  • trivial-do
  • GitHub
  • Quicklisp