This Go library is for retrieving a part of JSON according to the JSONPath query syntax.

Getting started


go get

Simple example:

package main

import (


func main() {
  jsonPath, srcJSON := `$.key`, `{"key":"value"}`
  var src interface{}
  json.Unmarshal([]byte(srcJSON), &src)
  output, _ := jsonpath.Retrieve(jsonPath, src)
  outputJSON, _ := json.Marshal(output)
  // Output:
  // ["value"]

Basic design

Ease of development

  • PEG separated the JSONPath syntax analyzer from functionality itself to simplify the source.
  • Equipped with a large number of unit tests to avoid bugs that lead to unexpected results.

Ease of use

  • The error specification enables the library user to handle errors correctly.


How to use

* Retrieve one-time or repeated

The Retrieve function returns retrieved result using JSONPath and JSON object:

output, err := jsonpath.Retrieve(jsonPath, src)

:memo: Example

The Parse function returns a parser-function that completed to check JSONPath syntax.
By using parser-function, it can repeat to retrieve with the same JSONPath :

jsonPath, err := jsonpath.Parse(jsonPath)
output1, err1 := jsonPath(src1)
output2, err2 := jsonPath(src2)

:memo: Example

* Error handling

If there is a problem with the execution of APIs, an error type returned.
These error types define the corresponding symptom, as listed below:

Syntax check errors from Retrieve, Parse

Error type Message format Symptom Ex
ErrorInvalidSyntax invalid syntax (position=%d, reason=%s, near=%s) The invalid syntax found in the JSONPath.
The reason including in this message will tell you more about it.
ErrorInvalidArgument invalid argument (argument=%s, error=%s) The argument specified in the JSONPath treated as the invalid error in Go syntax. :memo:
ErrorFunctionNotFound function not found (function=%s) The function specified in the JSONPath is not found. :memo:
ErrorNotSupported not supported (feature=%s, path=%s) The unsupported syntaxes specified in the JSONPath. :memo:

Runtime errors from Retrieve, parser-functions

Error type Message format Symptom Ex
ErrorMemberNotExist member did not exist (path=%s) The object/array member specified in the JSONPath did not exist in the JSON object. :memo:
ErrorTypeUnmatched type unmatched (expected=%s, found=%s, path=%s) The node type specified in the JSONPath did not exist in the JSON object. :memo:
ErrorFunctionFailed function failed (function=%s, error=%s) The function specified in the JSONPath failed. :memo:

The type checking is convenient to recognize which error happened.

  _,err := jsonpath.Retrieve(jsonPath, srcJSON)
  if err != nil {
    switch err.(type) {
    case jsonpath.ErrorMemberNotExist:
      fmt.printf(`retry with other srcJSON: %v`, err)
    case jsonpath.ErrorInvalidArgumentFormat:
      return nil, fmt.errorf(`specified invalid argument: %v`, err)

* Function syntax

Function enables to format results by using user defined functions.
The function syntax comes after the JSONPath.

There are two ways to use function:

Filter function

The filter function applies a user function to each values in the result to get converted.

:memo: Example

Aggregate function

The aggregate function converts all values in the result into a single value.

:memo: Example

* Accessing JSON

You can get the accessors ( Getters / Setters ) of the input JSON instead of the retrieved values.
These accessors can use to update for the input JSON.

This feature can get enabled by giving Config.SetAccessorMode().

:memo: Example


It is not possible to use Setter for some results, such as for JSONPath including function syntax.

Also, operations using accessors follow the map/slice manner of Go language.
If you use accessors after changing the structure of JSON, you need to pay attention to the behavior.
If you don't want to worry about it, get the accessor again every time you change the structure.


Some behaviors that differ from the consensus exists in this library.
For the entire comparisons, please check :memo: this result.

These behaviors will change in the future if appropriate ones found.

Character types

The following character types can be available for identifiers in dot-child notation.

Character type Availabe Escape
* Numbers and alphabets (0-9 A-Z a-z)
* Hyphen and underscore (- _)
* Non-ASCII Unicode characters (0x80 - 0x10FFFF)
Yes No
* Other printable symbols (Space ! " # $ % & ' ( ) * + , . / : ; < = > ? @ [ \ ] ^ ` { | } ~) Yes Yes
* Control code characters (0x00 - 0x1F, 0x7F) No -

The printable symbols except hyphen and underscore can use by escaping them.

JSONPath : $.abc\.def
srcJSON  : {"abc.def":1}
Output   : [1]

Wildcard in qualifier

The wildcards in qualifier can specify as a union of subscripts.

JSONPath : $[0,1:3,*]
srcJSON  : [0,1,2,3,4,5]
Output   : [0,1,2,0,1,2,3,4,5]

Regular expression

The regular expression syntax works as a regular expression in Go lang.
In particular, you can use "(?i)" to specify the regular expression as the ignore case option.

JSONPath : $[?(@.a=~/(?i)CASE/)]
srcJSON  : ["Case","Hello"]
Output   : ["Case"]

JSONPaths in the filter-qualifier

JSONPaths that returns value group cannot specify with comparator or regular expression.
But, existence check can use these.

JSONPaths that return a value group example
Recursive descent @..a
Multiple identifier @['a','b']
Wildcard identifier @.*
Slice qualifier @[0:1]
Wildcard qualifier @[*]
Union in the qualifier @[0,1]
Filter qualifier @.a[?(@.b)]
  • comparator example (error)
JSONPath : $[?(@..x == "hello world")]
srcJSON  : [{"a":1},{"b":{"x":"hello world"}}]
Error    : ErrorInvalidSyntax
  • regular expression example (error)
JSONPath : $[?(@..x=~/hello/)]
srcJSON  : [{"a":1},{"b":{"x":"hello world"}}]
Error    : ErrorInvalidSyntax
  • existence check example
JSONPath : $[?(@..x)]
srcJSON  : [{"a":1},{"b":{"x":"hello world"}}]
Output   : [{"b":{"x":"hello world"}}]


I benchmarked two JSONPaths using several libraries for the Go language.
What is being measured is the cost per job for a job that loops a lot after all the prep work done.

There was a performance differences.
But if the number of queries is little, there will not be a big difference between any of them.

Also, the results will vary depending on the data entered.
So this benchmark is for information only and should be re-measured at every time.

JSONPath for comparison with more libraries

This is the result of a JSONPath that all libraries were able to process.
Oliveagle/jsonpath is fastest.

JSONPath : $[0].price

BenchmarkAsaiYusukeJSONPath_threeLevelsWithIndex-4         	 5570427	       210 ns/op	      56 B/op	       3 allocs/op
BenchmarkOhler55Ojg_threeLevelsWithIndex-4                 	 1676749	       725 ns/op	    1040 B/op	       2 allocs/op
BenchmarkBhmjJSONSlice_threeLevelsWithIndex-4              	  572977	      2219 ns/op	      32 B/op	       1 allocs/op
BenchmarkPaesslerAGJSONPath_threeLevelsWithIndex-4         	 1835948	       642 ns/op	     208 B/op	       7 allocs/op
BenchmarkOliveagleJsonpath_threeLevelsWithIndex-4          	13222105	        92.0 ns/op	       0 B/op	       0 allocs/op

A slightly complex JSONPath

Libraries that can handle complex syntax limited to a few.
Among these libraries, my library is the fastest at the moment.

JSONPath : $[?(@.price > $.store.bicycle.price)]

BenchmarkAsaiYusukeJSONPath_recursiveDescentWithFilter-4   	  388156	      3140 ns/op	     560 B/op	      20 allocs/op
BenchmarkOhler55Ojg_recursiveDescentWithFilter-4           	  236010	      5156 ns/op	    5240 B/op	      20 allocs/op
BenchmarkBhmjJSONSlice_recursiveDescentWithFilter-4        	   54012	     22726 ns/op	    3032 B/op	      57 allocs/op
BenchmarkPaesslerAGJSONPath                                	  not supported
BenchmarkOliveagleJsonpath                                 	  not supported
JSON used for the benchmark measurement:
{ "store": {
  "book": [
    { "category": "reference",
    "author": "Nigel Rees",
    "title": "Sayings of the Century",
    "price": 8.95
    { "category": "fiction",
    "author": "Evelyn Waugh",
    "title": "Sword of Honour",
    "price": 12.99
    { "category": "fiction",
    "author": "Herman Melville",
    "title": "Moby Dick",
    "isbn": "0-553-21311-3",
    "price": 8.99
    { "category": "fiction",
    "author": "J. R. R. Tolkien",
    "title": "The Lord of the Rings",
    "isbn": "0-395-19395-8",
    "price": 22.99
  "bicycle": {
    "color": "red",
    "price": 19.95
Benchmark environment:
Processor  : Intel Core i5-6267U 2.90GHz
Memory     : 16.0 GB
OS         : Windows 10
Go version : go1.15.6 windows/amd64

Project progress

  • Syntax
    • Identifier
      • [x] identifier in dot notations
      • [x] identifier in bracket notations
      • [x] wildcard
      • [x] multiple-identifier in bracket
      • [x] recursive retrieve
    • Qualifier
      • [x] index
      • [x] slice
      • [x] wildcard
      • Filter
        • [x] logical operation
        • [x] comparator
        • [x] JSONPath retrieve in filter
      • [ ] script
    • Function
      • [x] filter
      • [x] aggregate
    • [x] Refer to the consensus behaviors
  • Archtecture
    • [x] PEG syntax analyzing
    • [x] Error handling
    • [x] Function
    • [x] Accessing JSON
  • Go language manner
    • [x] retrieve with the object in interface unmarshal
    • [x] retrieve with the json.Number type
  • Source code
    • [x] Release version
    • Unit tests
      • [x] syntax tests
      • [x] benchmark
      • [x] coverage >80%
    • [x] Examples
    • [x] CI automation
    • Documentation
      • [x] README
      • [ ] API doc
    • [x] comparison result (local)
  • Development status
    • [x] determine requirements / functional design
    • [x] design-based coding
    • [ ] testing
    • [ ] documentation
  • Future ToDo
    • [ ] Refer to the something standard
    • Go language affinity
      • [ ] retrieve with the object in struct unmarshal
      • [ ] retrieve with the struct tags
      • [ ] retrieve with the user defined objects