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Tired of looking at JSON objects that contain long arrays? Fear no more!

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Describe JSON Documentation Status

Tired of looking at JSON objects that contain long arrays? Fear no more! describe_json displays your JSON, shortening strings and arrays. It can also produce jq paths for you, so you know what part of the JSON object you’re looking at. Check out the examples for the full set of features!


$ pip install describe_json


This library does 2 things

  • Shortens strings. It also displays their length and a md5 hash, so you can know whether multiple strings are equal
  • Displays the length of arrays, and only 1 element, as an example. If arrays have differing elements, too bad, it only displays one element, so you’ll never know what the others look like. You can use the -r flag, to get a random array element though.


First of all, the tool plays really nicely with jq. Use jq to format the output of describe_json

$ describe_json '{"my": ["json", "object"]}'|jq .
  "my": [
    "length: 2; example:",

Outputting jq full paths for later inspection

If you took a look at your JSON, and found the data you were looking for, but getting to it with jq will now require a lot of incremental approaches such as the following, you might as well just make describe_json help you with that. It can automatically calculate the jq path, so you don’t have to scroll up anymore!

$ echo '{"a": {"b": [{"c": 1}]}}' | jq '.a'
$ echo '{"a": {"b": [{"c": 1}]}}' | jq '.a.b'
$ echo '{"a": {"b": [{"c": 1}]}}' | jq '.a.b[0]'
$ echo '{"a": {"b": [{"c": 1}]}}' | jq '.a.b[0].c'

Instead of the above, just use the -j flag, and you’ll see full paths for all dict keys

$ describe_json '{"a": {"b": [{"c": 1}]}}' -j
{'.a': {'.a.b': [{'.a.b[0].c': 1}]}}

Basic piping

$ echo '{"a": [1, 2, 3, 4]}' | describe_json
{"a": ["length: 4; example:", 1]}

Basic array shortening

$ describe_json '{"a": [1, 2, 3, 4]}'
{"a": ["length: 4; example:", 1]}

Do you have some super long strings?

$ describe_json '{"key": "suuuuuuuuuuuuuper long string"}'
{"key": "suuuuuuuuu... len: 29, md5: b7d562a2bcec0a8a346b5f32c59f257f"}

…ok, in this case the output is longer than the string. But you’ll be happier when the string is 50K long

Use a .json file

$ cat example.json
{"key1": ["a", "b", "c"]}
$ describe_json -f example.json
{"key1": ["length: 3; example:", "a"]}

Use a random array element

By default, the first element of an array is displayed. Use a random one?

$ describe_json -r {"key1": ["a", "b", "c"]}
{"key1": ["length: 3; example:", "b"]}

Specify a maximum array length

By default, only one element is displayed from an array. Specify the maximum size of arrays, after which, they are displayed as shortened

$ describe_json -a 3 '{"key1": ["a", "b", "c"]}'
{"key1": ["a", "b", "c"]}

Specify a maximum string length

By default, strings longer than 10 characters are truncated, and their md5 hash is shown (so you can see whether multiple strings that begin with the same characters are equal or not). Specify a maximum length for strings

$ describe_json -s 30 '{"key": "qwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnm"}
{"key": "qwertyuiopasdfghjklzxcvbnm"}

and that’s about it! :)

Testing it in development mode

There are only doctests for the moment. They will be ran as 1 unit test, but don’t worry, there are more than just 1 test.

$ python test


This package was created with Cookiecutter and the audreyr/cookiecutter-pypackage project template.


0.1.0 (2019-03-31)

  • First release on PyPI.

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