JSON-RPC 2.0 for Erlang
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JSON-RPC 2.0 for Erlang

Transport agnostic library for JSON-RPC 2.0 servers and clients.

This page contains the manual for the server part, the jsonrpc2 module. The client part has a separate module jsonrpc2_client. Client docs are yet to be written. For documentation on the client library, see the source code: jsonrpc2_client.erl.


  • can use any JSON encoder and decoder that supports the eep0018 style terms format,
  • transport neutral
  • dispatches parsed requests to a simple callback function
  • supports an optional callback "map" function for batch requests, e.g. to support concurrent processing of the requests in a batch,
  • handles rpc calls and notifications,
  • supports named and unnamed parameters,
  • includes unit tests for all examples in the JSON-RPC 2.0 specification.


1> Json = <<"{\"jsonrpc\": \"2.0\", \"method\": \"foo\", \"params\": [1,2,3], \"id\": 1}">>.
<<"{\"jsonroc\": \"2.0\", \"method\": \"foo\", \"params\": [1,2,3], \"id\": 1}">>
2> MyHandler = fun (<<"foo">>, Params) -> lists:reverse(Params);
2>                 (_, _) -> throw(method_not_found)
2>             end.
3> jsonrpc2:handle(Json, MyHandler, fun jiffy:decode/1, fun jiffy:encode/1).
4> jsonrpc2:handle(<<"dummy">>, MyHandler, fun jiffy:decode/1, fun jiffy:encode/1).
{reply,<<"{\"jsonrpc\":\"2.0\",\"error\":{\"code\":-32700,\"message\":\"Parse error.\"},\"id\":null}">>}
5> jsonrpc2:handle(<<"{\"x\":42}">>, MyHandler, fun jiffy:decode/1, fun jiffy:encode/1).
{reply,<<"{\"jsonrpc\":\"2.0\",\"error\":{\"code\":-32600,\"message\":\"Invalid Request.\"},\"id\":null}">>}


json() :: true | false | null | binary() | [json()] | {[{binary(), json()}]}.

handlerfun() :: fun((method(), params()) -> json()).
method() :: binary().
params() :: [json()] | {[{binary(), json()}]}.

mapfun() :: fun((fun((A) -> B), [A]) -> [B]). %% the same as lists:map/2


Any of the jsonrpc2:handle/2,3,4,5 functions can be used to handle JSON-RPC request by delegating the actual procedure call to a handler callback function. They all return {reply, Data} where Data is a result or an error response or noreply when no response should be sent to the client. The handler callback function must return a term that can be encoded to JSON using the representation explained on the page https://github.com/davisp/jiffy#data-format, as required by jiffy and other compatible JSON parses.

handle(json(), handlerfun()) -> {reply, json()} | noreply

Handles decoded JSON and returns a reply as decoded JSON or noreply. Use this if you want to handle JSON encoding separately.

handle(json(), handlerfun(), mapfun()) -> {reply, json()} | noreply

Like handle/2, handles decoded JSON, but takes an extra "map" function callback to be used instead of lists:map/2 for batch processing. The map function should be a function that behaves similarly to lists:map/2, such as the plists:map/2 from the plists library for concurrent batch handling.

handle(Req::term(), handlerfun(), JsonDecode::fun(), JsonEncode::fun()) ->
    {reply, term()} | noreply

Handles JSON as binary or string. Uses the supplied functions JsonDecode to parse the JSON request and JsonEncode to encode the reply as JSON.

handle(Req::term(), handlerfun(), mapfun(), JsonDecode::fun(),
    JsonEncode::fun()) -> {reply, term()} | noreply

Like handle/4, but also takes a map function for batch processing. See handle/3 above.

Error Handling

A requests that is not valid JSON results in a "Parse error" JSON-RPC response.

An invalid JSON-RPC request (though valid JSON) results in an "Invalid Request" response. In these two cases the handler callback function is never called.

To produce an error response from the handler function, you may throw one of the exceptions below. They will be caught and turned into a corresponding JSON-RPC error response.

  • throw(method_not_found) is reported as "Method not found" (-32601)
  • throw(invalid_params) is reported as "Invalid params" (-32602)
  • throw(internal_error) is reported as "Internal error" (-32603)
  • throw(server_error) is reported as "Server error" (-32000)

If you also want to include data in the JSON-RPC error response, throw a pair with the error type and the data, such as {internal_error, Data}.

For your own application-defined errors, it is possible to set a custom error code by throwing a tuple with the atom jsonrpc2, an integer error code, a binary message and optional data.

  • throw({jsonrpc2, Code, Message)
  • throw({jsonrpc2, Code, Message, Data})

If any other exception is thrown or an error occurs in the handler, this is caught, an error message is logged (using the standard error logger error_logger:error_msg/2) and an "Internal error" response is returned.

If you're working with already parsed JSON, i.e. you're using handle/2 or handle/3, you may want to produce an error message that you can use when the client sends invalid JSON that can't be parsed. Use jsonrpc2:parseerror() to create the appropriate error response for this purpose.


my_handler(<<"Foo">>, [X, Y]) when is_integer(X), is_integer(Y) ->
    {[{<<"Foo says">>}, X + Y + 42}]};
my_handler(<<"Foo">>, _SomeOtherParams) ->
my_handler(<<"Logout">>, [Username]) ->
    throw({jsonrpc2, 123, <<"Not logged in">>});
my_handler(_SomeOtherMethod, _) ->

Compatible JSON parsers



Copyright 2013-2014 Viktor Söderqvist

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License");
you may not use this file except in compliance with the License.
You may obtain a copy of the License at


Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software
distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS,
See the License for the specific language governing permissions and
limitations under the License.

Author's note: The Apache 2.0 is a very permissive license just like MIT and BSD, but as FSF notes, it includes "certain patent termination and indemnification provisions", which is a good thing. We (the authours) cannot come to you (the users) to claim any patents we might have on something in the code.

If you have any compatibility issues with this license, keep in mind that if you're using this as an external dependency (e.g. with Rebar or Erlang.mk) you're not actually distributing this dependency anyway. Even if you do distribute dependencies, they are not actually linked together until they are loaded and run in the BEAM unless you compile the release with HiPE.