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The primary goal of Manatee.Json is to make working with JSON simple and intuitive for the developer. This library recognizes that JSON is much more than just a mechanism for data transfer.

Secondarily, Manatee.Json is intended to be strictly ECMA-404 compliant, which means that it purposefully does not support JSON variants, like single-quoted strings or BSON.

Read from a file

var text = File.ReadAllText("content.json");
var json = JsonValue.Parse(text);

The json field now contains the content of the .json file. The object structure is exactly what you'd expect by looking at the file.

Object model

These JSON types map to primitive .Net types:

  • true/false as Boolean,
  • numbers as Double,
  • strings as String

These JSON types map to types defined in Manatee.Json:

  • objects ({"key":"value", "otherKey":9}) as JsonObject which derives from Dictionary<string, JsonValue>
  • arrays (["value", 9] as JsonArray which derives from List<JsonValue>

All of these types are encapsulated in a container type, JsonValue. This type exposes a property for each value type, as well as a property for which type the value contains.

For the JSON null there is a readonly static JsonValue.Null field.

Building JSON manually

Manatee.Json defines implicit conversions to JsonValue from Boolean, Double, String, JsonObject, and JsonArray. This helps greatly in building complex objects manually.

JsonValue str = "value",
          num = 10,
          boolean = false;

Because the collection types are derived from core .Net types, you also get all of the initialization capabilities.

var obj = new JsonObject
        ["key"] = "value",
        ["otherKey"] = 9
var array = new JsonArray { "value", 9, obj };


Converting .Net objects to and from JSON is also simple:

  1. Create a serializer

    var serializer = new JsonSerializer();
  2. De/Serialize

    var myObject = serializer.Deserialize<MyObject>(json);
    var backToJson = serializer.Serialize(myObject);

There are many ways to customize serialization. See the wiki page for more details!

But wait, there's more!

Manatee.Json also:

  • Conforms to ECMA-404: The JSON specification
  • Supports .Net 3.5+
  • Outputs compact and prettified JSON text
  • Supports JsonSchema INCLUDED AND FREE! (with similar object model)
  • Supports JSONPath (with object model and compile-time checking)
  • Is fully LINQ-compatible
  • Converts between JSON and XML
  • Reports parsing errors using JSONPath to identify location
  • Supports streamed parsing
  • Is fully open-source
  • Uses the Apache 2.0 license

Serialization features:

  • De/Serialize abstraction types (abstract classes and interfaces) by type registration
  • JIT type creation for unregistered abstraction types
  • De/Serialize anonymous types
  • Fully customizable serialization of both 1st- and 3rd-party types
  • De/Serialize static types/properties
  • De/Serialize fields
  • De/Serialize enumerations by name or numeric value
  • Maintain object references/graphs
  • De/Serialize circular references
  • Optionally include type names
  • Each serializer instance can be independently configured
  • Supports multiple date/time formats (ISO 8601, JavaScript, custom)
  • Supports using DI containers for object creation
  • Supports non-default constructors
  • JSON template generation from .Net types (beta)
  • Property name customization via attribute
  • Opt-out property inclusion via attribute

See the wiki pages for more information on how to use this wonderful library!