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Go implementation of EDN, extensible data notation


go-edn is a Golang library to read and write EDN (extensible data notation), a subset of Clojure used for transferring data between applications, much like JSON or XML. EDN is also a very good language for configuration files, much like a JSON-like version of YAML.

This library is heavily influenced by the JSON library that ships with Go, and people familiar with that package should know the basics of how this library works. In fact, this should be close to a drop-in replacement for the encoding/json package if you only use basic functionality.

This implementation is complete, stable, and presumably also bug free. This is why you don't see any changes in the repository.

If you wonder why you should (or should not) use EDN, you can have a look at the why document.

Installation and Usage

The import path for the package is

To install it, run:

go get

To use it in your project, you import and refer to it as edn like this:

import ""



The previous import path of this library was, which is still permanently supported.


You can follow and replace every occurence of JSON with EDN (and the JSON data with EDN data), and the text makes almost perfect sense. The only caveat is that, since EDN is more general than JSON, go-edn stores arbitrary maps on the form map[interface{}]interface{}.

go-edn also ships with keywords, symbols and tags as types.

For a longer introduction on how to use the library, see If you're familiar with the JSON package, then the API Documentation might be the only thing you need.

Example Usage

Say you want to describe your pet forum's users as EDN. They have the following types:

type Animal struct {
	Name string
	Type string `edn:"kind"`

type Person struct {
	Name      string
	Birthyear int `edn:"born"`
	Pets      []Animal

With go-edn, we can do as follows to read and write these types:

import ""


func ReturnData() (Person, error) {
	data := `{:name "Hans",
              :born 1970,
              :pets [{:name "Cap'n Jack" :kind "Sparrow"}
                     {:name "Freddy" :kind "Cockatiel"}]}`
	var user Person
	err := edn.Unmarshal([]byte(data), &user)
	// user '==' Person{"Hans", 1970,
	//             []Animal{{"Cap'n Jack", "Sparrow"}, {"Freddy", "Cockatiel"}}}
	return user, err

If you want to write that user again, just Marshal it:

bs, err := edn.Marshal(user)


go-edn has no external dependencies, except the default Go library. However, as it depends on math/big.Float, go-edn requires Go 1.5 or higher.


Copyright © 2015-2019 Jean Niklas L'orange and contributors

Distributed under the BSD 3-clause license, which is available in the file LICENSE.


Go implementation of EDN (Extensible Data Notation)








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