JSON in Android with org.json

Syntax

  • Object : An object is an unordered set of name/value pairs. An object begins with { (left brace) and ends with } (right brace). Each name is followed by : (colon) and the name/value pairs are separated by , (comma).

  • Array : An array is an ordered collection of values. An array begins with [ (left bracket) and ends with ] (right bracket). Values are separated by , (comma).

  • Value : A value can be a string in double quotes, or a number, or true or false or null, or an object or an array. These structures can be nested.

  • String : A string is a sequence of zero or more Unicode characters, wrapped in double quotes, using backslash escapes. A character is represented as a single character string. A string is very much like a C or Java string.

  • Number : A number is very much like a C or Java number, except that the octal and hexadecimal formats are not used.

Remarks

This topic is about using the org.json package that is included in the Android SDK.

Add JSONArray to JSONObject

// Create a new instance of a JSONArray
JSONArray array = new JSONArray();

// With put() you can add a value to the array.
array.put("ASDF");
array.put("QWERTY");

// Create a new instance of a JSONObject
JSONObject obj = new JSONObject();

try {
    // Add the JSONArray to the JSONObject
    obj.put("the_array", array);
} catch (JSONException e) {
    e.printStackTrace();
}

String json = obj.toString();

The resulting JSON string looks like this:

{  
   "the_array":[  
      "ASDF",
      "QWERTY"
   ]
}

Check for the existence of fields on JSON

Sometimes it's useful to check if a field is present or absent on your JSON to avoid some JSONException on your code.

To achieve that, use the JSONObject#has(String) or the method, like on the following example:

Sample JSON

{
   "name":"James"
}

Java code

String jsonStr = " { \"name\":\"James\" }";
JSONObject json = new JSONObject(jsonStr);
// Check if the field "name" is present
String name, surname;

// This will be true, since the field "name" is present on our JSON.
if (json.has("name")) {
    name = json.getString("name");
}
else {
    name = "John";
}
// This will be false, since our JSON doesn't have the field "surname".
if (json.has("surname")) {
    surname = json.getString("surname");
}
else {
    surname = "Doe";
}

// Here name == "James" and surname == "Doe".

Create a JSON String with null value.

If you need to produce a JSON string with a value of null like this:

{  
   "name":null
}

Then you have to use the special constant JSONObject.NULL.

Functioning example:

jsonObject.put("name", JSONObject.NULL);

Create nested JSON object

To produce nested JSON object, you need to simply add one JSON object to another:

JSONObject mainObject = new JSONObject();            // Host object
JSONObject requestObject = new JSONObject();         // Included object

try {
    requestObject.put("lastname", lastname);
    requestObject.put("phone", phone);
    requestObject.put("latitude", lat);
    requestObject.put("longitude", lon);
    requestObject.put("theme", theme);
    requestObject.put("text", message);

    mainObject.put("claim", requestObject);
} catch (JSONException e) {
    return "JSON Error";
}

Now mainObject contains a key called claim with the whole requestObject as a value.

Creating a simple JSON object

Create the JSONObject using the empty constructor and add fields using the put() method, which is overloaded so that it can be used with different types:

try {
    // Create a new instance of a JSONObject
    final JSONObject object = new JSONObject();
    
    // With put you can add a name/value pair to the JSONObject
    object.put("name", "test");
    object.put("content", "Hello World!!!1");
    object.put("year", 2016);
    object.put("value", 3.23);
    object.put("member", true);
    object.put("null_value", JSONObject.NULL);

    // Calling toString() on the JSONObject returns the JSON in string format.
    final String json = object.toString();
    
} catch (JSONException e) {
    Log.e(TAG, "Failed to create JSONObject", e);
}

The resulting JSON string looks like this:

{  
   "name":"test",
   "content":"Hello World!!!1",
   "year":2016,
   "value":3.23,
   "member":true,
   "null_value":null
}

Handling dynamic key for JSON response

This is an example for how to handle dynamic key for response. Here A and B are dynamic keys it can be anything

Response

{
  "response": [
    {
      "A": [
        {
          "name": "Tango"
        },
        {
          "name": "Ping"
        }
      ],
      "B": [
        {
          "name": "Jon"
        },
        {
          "name": "Mark"
        }
      ]
    }
  ]
}

Java code

// ResponseData is raw string of response
JSONObject responseDataObj = new JSONObject(responseData);
JSONArray responseArray = responseDataObj.getJSONArray("response");
for (int i = 0; i < responseArray.length(); i++) {
    // Nodes ArrayList<ArrayList<String>> declared globally
    nodes = new ArrayList<ArrayList<String>>();
    JSONObject obj = responseArray.getJSONObject(i);
    Iterator keys = obj.keys();
    while(keys.hasNext()) {
       // Loop to get the dynamic key
       String currentDynamicKey = (String)keys.next();
       // Get the value of the dynamic key
       JSONArray currentDynamicValue = obj.getJSONArray(currentDynamicKey);
       int jsonArraySize = currentDynamicValue.length();
       if(jsonArraySize > 0) {
           for (int ii = 0; ii < jsonArraySize; ii++) {
                // NameList ArrayList<String> declared globally
                nameList = new ArrayList<String>();
               if(ii == 0) {
                JSONObject nameObj = currentDynamicValue.getJSONObject(ii);
                String name = nameObj.getString("name");
                System.out.print("Name = " + name);
                // Store name in an array list
                nameList.add(name);
              }
           }                    
       }
     nodes.add(nameList);
    }
}

Parse simple JSON object

Consider the following JSON string:

{
  "title": "test",
  "content": "Hello World!!!",
  "year": 2016,
  "names" : [
        "Hannah",
        "David",
        "Steve"
   ]
} 

This JSON object can be parsed using the following code:

try {
    // create a new instance from a string
    JSONObject jsonObject = new JSONObject(jsonAsString);
    String title = jsonObject.getString("title");
    String content = jsonObject.getString("content");
    int year = jsonObject.getInt("year");
    JSONArray names = jsonObject.getJSONArray("names"); //for an array of String objects
} catch (JSONException e) {
    Log.w(TAG,"Could not parse JSON. Error: " + e.getMessage());
}

Here is another example with a JSONArray nested inside JSONObject:

{
    "books":[
      {
        "title":"Android JSON Parsing",
        "times_sold":186
      }
    ]
}

This can be parsed with the following code:

JSONObject root = new JSONObject(booksJson);
JSONArray booksArray = root.getJSONArray("books");
JSONObject firstBook = booksArray.getJSONObject(0);
String title = firstBook.getString("title");
int timesSold = firstBook.getInt("times_sold");

Updating the elements in the JSON

sample json to update

 {
 "student":{"name":"Rahul", "lastname":"sharma"},
 "marks":{"maths":"88"}
 }

To update the elements value in the json we need to assign the value and update.

try {
    // Create a new instance of a JSONObject
    final JSONObject object = new JSONObject(jsonString);
    
    JSONObject studentJSON = object.getJSONObject("student");
    studentJSON.put("name","Kumar");
  
     object.remove("student");

     object.put("student",studentJSON);

    // Calling toString() on the JSONObject returns the JSON in string format.
    final String json = object.toString();
    
} catch (JSONException e) {
    Log.e(TAG, "Failed to create JSONObject", e);
}

updated value

 {
 "student":{"name":"Kumar", "lastname":"sharma"},
 "marks":{"maths":"88"}
 }

Using JsonReader to read JSON from a stream

JsonReader reads a JSON encoded value as a stream of tokens.

   public List<Message> readJsonStream(InputStream in) throws IOException {
     JsonReader reader = new JsonReader(new InputStreamReader(in, "UTF-8"));
     try {
       return readMessagesArray(reader);
     } finally {
       reader.close();
     }
   }

   public List<Message> readMessagesArray(JsonReader reader) throws IOException {
     List<Message> messages = new ArrayList<Message>();

     reader.beginArray();
     while (reader.hasNext()) {
       messages.add(readMessage(reader));
     }
     reader.endArray();
     return messages;
   }

   public Message readMessage(JsonReader reader) throws IOException {
     long id = -1;
     String text = null;
     User user = null;
     List<Double> geo = null;

     reader.beginObject();
     while (reader.hasNext()) {
       String name = reader.nextName();
       if (name.equals("id")) {
         id = reader.nextLong();
       } else if (name.equals("text")) {
         text = reader.nextString();
       } else if (name.equals("geo") && reader.peek() != JsonToken.NULL) {
         geo = readDoublesArray(reader);
       } else if (name.equals("user")) {
         user = readUser(reader);
       } else {
         reader.skipValue();
       }
     }
     reader.endObject();
     return new Message(id, text, user, geo);
   }

   public List<Double> readDoublesArray(JsonReader reader) throws IOException {
     List<Double> doubles = new ArrayList<Double>();

     reader.beginArray();
     while (reader.hasNext()) {
       doubles.add(reader.nextDouble());
     }
     reader.endArray();
     return doubles;
   }

   public User readUser(JsonReader reader) throws IOException {
     String username = null;
     int followersCount = -1;

     reader.beginObject();
     while (reader.hasNext()) {
       String name = reader.nextName();
       if (name.equals("name")) {
         username = reader.nextString();
       } else if (name.equals("followers_count")) {
         followersCount = reader.nextInt();
       } else {
         reader.skipValue();
       }
     }
     reader.endObject();
     return new User(username, followersCount);
   }

Working with null-string when parsing json

{
    "some_string": null,
    "ather_string": "something"
}

If we will use this way:

JSONObject json = new JSONObject(jsonStr);
String someString = json.optString("some_string");

We will have output:

someString = "null";

So we need to provide this workaround:

/**
 * According to http://stackoverflow.com/questions/18226288/json-jsonobject-optstring-returns-string-null
 * we need to provide a workaround to opt string from json that can be null.
 * <strong></strong>
 */
public static String optNullableString(JSONObject jsonObject, String key) {
    return optNullableString(jsonObject, key, "");
}

/**
 * According to http://stackoverflow.com/questions/18226288/json-jsonobject-optstring-returns-string-null
 * we need to provide a workaround to opt string from json that can be null.
 * <strong></strong>
 */
public static String optNullableString(JSONObject jsonObject, String key, String fallback) {
    if (jsonObject.isNull(key)) {
        return fallback;
    } else {
        return jsonObject.optString(key, fallback);
    }
}

And then call:

JSONObject json = new JSONObject(jsonStr);
String someString = optNullableString(json, "some_string");
String someString2 = optNullableString(json, "some_string", "");

And we will have Output as we expected:

someString = null; //not "null"
someString2 = "";
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