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Sphinx extension to display JSON Schema

Project description

This package contains sphinx-jsonschema, an extension to Sphinx to allow authors to display a JSON Schema in their documentation.

It arose out of a personal itch and implements what I needed. Some features of JSON Schema are (not yet) implemented. Also I can imagine that other display layouts are desired.

Let me know in comments and perhaps pull requests.


  • Near complete support for all features of JSON Schema Draft 4.
  • Supports inline schemas as well as external schemas loaded from a file or URL.
  • Supports JSON Pointer notation on external resources to select a subschema.
  • Supports cross references between schemas.
  • Allows reStructuredText markup in title and description fields.
  • Allows JSON Schema definitions in both JSON and YAML format.


Install the package using pip:

pip install sphinx-jsonschema

and add it to the extensions list in your

extensions = [


The extension adds a single directive to Sphinx: jsonschema. You provide it with either an http URL to a schema or you may embed the schema inline.


Display a schema fetched from a website:

.. jsonschema:: http://some.domain/with/a/path/spec.json

Display a schema located in a file with an absolute path:

.. jsonschema:: /home/leo/src/jsonschema/sample.json

Or a path relative to the referencing document:

.. jsonschema:: jsonschema/sample.json

With all three of the above you may add JSON Pointer notation to display a subschema:

.. jsonschema:: http://some.domain/with/a/path/spec.json#/path/to/schema
.. jsonschema:: /home/leo/src/jsonschema/sample.json#/path/to/schema
.. jsonschema:: jsonschema/sample.json#/path/to/schema

Alternatively you can embed the schema:

.. jsonschema::

        "$schema": "This field is ignored for now. Perhaps use it to indicate schema version in display?",
        "title": "Test data set 1: **Simple type**",
        "id": "",
        "description": "These data sets exercise `JSON Schema <>`_ constructions and show how they are rendered.\n\nNote that it is possible to embed reStructuredText elements in strings.",
        "type": "string",
        "minLength": 10,
        "maxLength": 100,
        "pattern": "^[A-Z]+$"

This notation does not support JSON Pointer.

JSON Schema extension


sphinx-jsonschema extends JSON Schema with the $$target key.

This key is only recognized at the outermost object of the schema.

JSON Schema uses the $ref key in combination with the $id key to cross-reference between schemas.

Sphinx-jsonschema ignores $id but uses the value of $ref to create a reStructuredText :ref: role.

For this to work you need to mark the target schema with the $$target key, the value of which must be identical to the value of the corresponding $ref key.

So a schema:

    "title": "Schema 1",
    "$ref": "#/definitions/schema2"

will have its $ref replaced by a link pointing to:

    "title": "Schema 2",
    "$$target": "#/definitions/schema2"

Occasionally a schema will be addressed from several other schemas using different $ref values. In that case the value of $$target should be a list enumerating all different references to the schema.


Copyright Leo Noordergraaf, All rights reserved.

This software is made available under the GPL v3.


Version 1.4

Chris Holdgraf ( contributed Python3 and yaml support.

Version 1.3

Add unicode support.

Version 1.2

Improved formatting.

Version 1.1

Implemented schema cross referencing.

Version 1.0

Initial release of a functioning plugin.

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