Python bindings for jq
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README.rst a lightweight and flexible JSON processor

This project contains Python bindings for jq.


During installation, the source for jq 1.5 is downloaded over HTTPS and built. Therefore, installation requires any programs required to build jq. This includes:

  • Autoreconf
  • The normal C compiler toolchain, such as gcc and make.
  • libtool
  • Python headers.

Debian, Ubuntu or relatives

If on Debian, Ubuntu or relatives, running the following command should be sufficient:

apt-get install autoconf automake build-essential libtool python-dev

Red Hat, Fedora, CentOS or relatives

If on Red Hat, Fedora, CentOS, or relatives, running the following command should be sufficient:

yum groupinstall "Development Tools"
yum install autoconf automake libtool python

Mac OS X

If on Mac OS X, you probably want to install Xcode and Homebrew. Once Homebrew is installed, you can install the remaining dependencies with:

brew install autoconf automake libtool


A program can be compiled by passing it to jq.jq. To apply the program to an input, call the transform method. expects the value to be valid JSON, such as values returned from json.load.

from jq import jq

jq(".").transform("42") == "42"
jq(".").transform({"a": 1}) == {"a": 1}

If the value is unparsed JSON text, pass it in using the text argument:

jq(".").transform(text="42") == 42

The text_output argument can be used to serialise the output into JSON text:

jq(".").transform("42", text_output=True) == '"42"'

If there are multiple output elements, each element is represented by a separate line, irrespective of the value of multiple_output:

jq(".[]").transform([1, 2, 3], text_output=True) == "1\n2\n3"

If multiple_output is False (the default), then the first output is used:

jq(".[]+1").transform([1, 2, 3]) == 2

If multiple_output is True, all output elements are returned in an array:

jq(".[]+1").transform([1, 2, 3], multiple_output=True) == [2, 3, 4]