JSON object for Delphi based on IUnknown and Variant
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README.md

jsonDoc

History

jsonDoc started out as bsonDoc.pas and IBSONDocument in the TMongoWire project. Since it was a solid JSON parser, based on IUnknowns (for the reference counting) and Variants (I really, really hate long lists of overloads for allkinds of types). The need arose to manipulate JSON in several projects unrelated to MongoDB, so the idea surfaced to have a dedicated project around IJSONDocument.

(To complete the move, TMongoWire has since then replaced bsonDoc.pas with jsonDoc.pas and separate conversion functions to convert from and to BSON.)

API

JSON

To create a new IJSONDocument instance:

function JSON: IJSONDocument; overload;

To create and populate a new IJSONDocument instance:

function JSON(const x: array of Variant): IJSONDocument; overload;

Pass a list of alternately keys and values, suffix the key with { to start an embedded document, and use key } to close it. E.g.: with

d:=JSON(['a',1,'b{','x','foo','}','c{','x','bar','}','d',VarArrayOf([JSON(['x','hello']),JSON(['y','world'])]),'e',true]);

d.ToString will return {"a":1,"b":{"x":"foo"},"c":{"x":"bar"},"d":[{"x":"hello"},{"x":"world"}],"e":true}.

Convert a variant into an IJSONDocument reference.

function JSON(x: Variant): IJSONDocument; overload;

Depending on the value of the argument:

  • string types are parsed into a new IJSONDocument instance,
  • Null (or empty or unassigned) returns nil,
  • in all other cases the variant is probed for a reference to an IJSONDocument instace.

IJSONDocument

Merge a string with JSON data into the IJSONDocument instance, existing keys will get their values overwritten (see Clear below).

function Parse(const JSONData: WideString): IJSONDocument;

Convert the data in the IJSONDocument instance into a JSON string.

function ToString: WideString;

Convert the data in the IJSONDocument instance into a Variant array of dimensions [0..n,0..1], where [i,0] holds keys and [i,1] holds values.

function ToVarArray: Variant;

Clear the values of the IJSONDocument, but keep the list of keys.

procedure Clear;

When processing a sequence of JSON documents with a similar set of keys (and keys of embedded documents), performance can be gained by avoiding the de- and re-allocation of memory to store the keys (and the Variant record for their values). (See also IJSONDocArrayBuilder below).

Retrieve a value by key. This is the default property, so you can access the keys of a IJSONDocument by index notation (e.g.: d['id']).

property Item[const Key: WideString]: Variant; default;

Remarks

Attention: by default the IJSONDocument implementation: TJSONDocument is not thread-safe. Please use proper locking and synchronisation methods to ensure only one thread accesses an instance at one time, or declare conditional define JSONDOC_THREADSAFE.

JSONEnum

Create an IJSONEnumerator instance for a IJSONDocument reference.

function JSONEnum(x: IJSONDocument): IJSONEnumerator; overload;
function JSONEnum(const x: Variant): IJSONEnumerator; overload;

IJSONEnumerator

Check wether the enumerator is past the end of the set of keys of the document.

function EOF: boolean;

Move the iterator to the next item in the set. Moves the iterator to the first item on the first call. Returns false when moved past the end of the set.

function Next: boolean;

Returns the key or value of the current item in the set.

function Key: WideString;
function Value: Variant;

Returns the key or value of the current item in the set.

JSONDocArray

Use an IJSONDocArrayBuilder instance to store a set of similar JSON documents. JSON is converted to and from strings internally to save on memory usage. Use LoadItem with a single IJSONDocument instance to re-use keys and save on memory allocation. Pre-load a parent IJSONDocument with an IJSONDocArrayBuilder instance to postpone some of the parsing of the children documents.

function JSONDocArray: IJSONDocArrayBuilder; overload;
function JSONDocArray(const Items:array of IJSONDocument): IJSONDocArrayBuilder; overload;

IJSONDocArrayBuilder

Append a document to the array.

function Add(Doc: IJSONDocument): integer;
function AddJSON(const Data: WideString): integer;

Retrieve a document using an existing IJSONDocument instance, possibly re-using allocated keys.

procedure LoadItem(Index: integer; Doc: IJSONDocument);

Retrieve the number of documents in the array.

function Count: integer; stdcall;

Convert the data in the IJSONDocArrayBuilder instance into a JSON string.

function ToString: WideString; stdcall;

Retrieve a document by index, in a new IJSONDocument instance. This is the default property, so you can use index notation (e.g.: a[3]).

property Item[Idx: integer]: IJSONDocument; default;

IJSONArray

If you need to process documents that contain many and/or large arrays, some performance may get lost because manipulating Variant arrays performs a deep copy on assignment by default.

To prevent this, set the JSON_UseIJSONArray value to true to have IJSONDocument use IJSONArray instances to hold arrays, which use reference counting instead of deep copy on assignment.

A downside to this is that plain array-indexing (a[i]) no longer works. (The VariantManager which could provide support for this, is deprecated in Delphi since version 7.) Use the ja function to conveniently extract a IJSONArray reference from a variable of type Variant (ja(a)[i]).