Exporting values using JSON

Liquidsoap can export any language value in JSON using json_of.

The format is the following :

  • () : unit -> null
  • true: bool -> true
  • "abc" : string -> "abc"
  • 23 : int -> 23
  • 2.0 : float -> 2.0
  • [2,3,4] : [int] -> [2,3,4]
  • [("f",1),("b",4)] : [(string*int)] -> { "f": 1, "b": 4 }
  • ("foo",123) : string*int -> [ "foo", 123 ]
  • s : source -> "<source>"
  • r : ref(int) -> { "reference":4 }
  • %mp3 : format(...) -> "%mp3(stereo,bitrate=128,samplerate=44100)"

  • r : request(...) -> "<request>"
  • f : (...)->_ -> "<fun>"

The two particular cases are:

  • Products are exported as lists.
  • Lists of type [(string*'a)] are exported as objects of the form {"key": value}.

Output format is pretty printed by default. A compact output can be obtained by using the optional argument: compact=true.

Importing values using JSON

If compiled with yojson support, Liquidsoap can also parse JSON data into values. using of_json.

The format is a subset of the format of exported values with the notable difference that only ground types (int, floats, string, …) are supported and not variable references, sources, formats, requests and functions:

  • null -> () : unit
  • true/false -> true/false : bool
  • "abc" -> "abc" : string
  • 23 -> 23 : int
  • 2.0 -> 2.0 : float
  • [2,3,4] -> [2,3,4] : int
  • {"f": 1, "b": 4} -> [("f",1),("b",4)] : [(string*int)]
  • [ "foo", 123 ] -> ("foo",123) : string*int

The JSON standards specify that a proper JSON payload can only be an array or an object. However, simple integers, floats, strings and null values are also accepted by Liquidsoap.

The function of_json has the following type:


The default parameter is very important in order to assure type inference of the parsed value. Its value constrains the parser to only recognize JSON data of the the default value’s type and is returned in case parsing fails.

Suppose that we want to receive a list of metadata, encoded as an object:

{ "title": "foo",
 "artist": "bar" }

Then, you would use of_json with default value [("error","fail")] and do:

The type of the default value constrains the parser. For instance, in the above example, a JSON string "[1,2,3,4]" will not be accepted and the function will return the values passed as default.

You can use the default value in two different ways:

  • To detect that the received json string was invalid/could not be parsed to the expected type. In the example above, if of_json return a metadata value of [("error","fail")] (the default) then you can detect in your code that parsing has failed.
  • As a default value for the rest of the script, if you do not want to care about parsing errors.. This can be useful for instance for JSON-RPC notifications, which should not send any response to the client anyway.

If your JSON object is of mixed type, like this one:

{ "uri": "https://...",
  "metadata": { "title": "foo", "artist": "bar" } }

You can parse it in multiple steps. For instance: