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An extension for JSON to support file including

Project Description

json-include is an extended way for JSON to support file inclusion, it has two parts:

  1. A syntax definition called include syntax.
  2. A Python implementation to parse and build JSON file that contains include syntax.


json-include supports an extended syntax called include syntax in JSON, formatted as:

    "...": "<json file name>"

The include syntax means that this object (the whole {"...": "<json file name>"}) in JSON is a reference to the JSON file named in <json file name> notation, and should be included into its place.

The included JSON should always be an object (dict) rather than an array (list), to prevent implicit meaning and make sure we can get a clear view of the structure without looking into the included JSON files.

In a normal JSON when we want to include another JSON on an attribute, it should be written as follows:

    "username": "alice",
    "profile": {
        "...": "<profile_model.json>"

In this JSON a profile_model.json is included to present profile attribute, if the content of profile_model.json is like:

    "age": 18,
    "gender": "female"

then what we mean by the include syntax is that, when this JSON is being used as a normal JSON, it should be seen as:

    "username": "alice",
    "profile": {
        "age": 18,
        "gender": "female"

To ture JSON with include syntax into a normal JSON, a build process is needed, that’s what the implementation does.

Python Implementation

Implementation could be of any language as long as it can understand the include syntax and output as expected, this repo contains a Python implementation for use.


pip install json-include


By installation a command called json-include will be registerd as an entry point, use it as follows:

usage: json-include [-h] DIR FILE

Command line tool to build JSON file by include syntax.

positional arguments:
  DIR         The directory path of source json files
  FILE        The name of the source json file

optional arguments:
  -h, --help  show this help message and exit

For example:

json-include test/source_json/ c.json

The parsed and built result of c.json will be printed.

Further usage of json_include package is documented in its source code, and test/ can also give you better understandings of how it works.


  • [ ] Prevent circluar inclusion
  • [ ] Test circluar inclusion
  • [ ] Test invalid syntax

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