JSON in Android with org.json

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

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");

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
}

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"
   ]
}

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);

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 = "";

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);
   }

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.

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);
    }
}

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".

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"}
 }