Convert JSON to HCL, and vice versa
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Latest commit 4369e46 Oct 11, 2016

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json2hcl (and hcl2json)

Convert JSON to HCL and HCL to JSON via STDIN / STDOUT.


Check the releases for the latest version. Then it's just a matter of downloading the right one for you platform, and making the binary executable.


Here's how it could look for 64 bits Linux, if you wanted json2hcl available globally inside /usr/local/bin:

curl -SsL \
  | sudo tee /usr/local/bin/json2hcl > /dev/null && sudo chmod 755 /usr/local/bin/json2hcl && json2hcl -version


Here's how it could look for 64 bits Darwin, if you wanted json2hcl available globally inside /usr/local/bin:

curl -SsL \
  | sudo tee /usr/local/bin/json2hcl > /dev/null && sudo chmod 755 /usr/local/bin/json2hcl && json2hcl -version


Here's an example fixtures/ being converted to HCL:

$ json2hcl < fixtures/
"output" "arn" {
  "value" = "${aws_dynamodb_table.basic-dynamodb-table.arn}"
... rest of HCL truncated

Typical use would be

$ json2hcl < fixtures/ > fixtures/


As a bonus, the conversation the other way around is also supported via the -reverse flag:

$ json2hcl -reverse < fixtures/
  "output": [
      "arn": [
          "value": "${aws_dynamodb_table.basic-dynamodb-table.arn}"
  ... rest of JSON truncated


mkdir -p ~/go/src/
cd ~/go/src/
git clone
cd json2hcl
go get


If you don't know HCL, read Why HCL.

As for why json2hcl and hcl2json, we're building a tool called Frey that marries multiple underlying tools. We'd like configuration previously written in YAML or TOML to now be in HCL now as well. It's easy enough to convert the mentioned formats to JSON, and strictly speaking HCL is already able to read JSON natively, so why the extra step?

We're doing this for readability and maintainability, we wanted to save our infra recipes as HCL directly in our repos, instead of only having machine readable intermediate JSON that we'd need to hack on. This saves time spotting problems, and makes the experience somewhat enjoyable even.

In the off-chance you too have machine-readable JSON and are interested in converting that to the more human-being friendly HCL format, we thought we'd share this.

It's no rocket science, we're using already available HashiCorp libraries to support the conversion, HashiCorp could have easily released their own tools around this, and perhaps they will, but so far, they haven't.


Ideabox (Unplanned)

  • Give the some love

v0.0.7 (Unreleased)

  • Tests

v0.0.6 (2016-09-06)

  • Deprecate goxc in favor of native builds

v0.0.5 (2016-09-06)

  • Add hcl2json via the -reverse flag

v0.0.4 (2016-09-05)

  • Error handling
  • Cross-compiling and shipping releases