Code Quality Rank: L3
Programming language: Java
License: Apache License 2.0
Tags: JSON Processing    
Latest version: v2.4.0

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Jayway JsonPath

A Java DSL for reading JSON documents.

Build Status Maven Central Javadoc

Jayway JsonPath is a Java port of Stefan Goessner JsonPath implementation.


30 Jan 2022 - Released JsonPath 2.7.0

02 Jun 2021 - Released JsonPath 2.6.0

10 Dec 2020 - Released JsonPath 2.5.0

05 Jul 2017 - Released JsonPath 2.4.0

26 Jun 2017 - Released JsonPath 2.3.0

29 Feb 2016 - Released JsonPath 2.2.0

22 Nov 2015 - Released JsonPath 2.1.0

19 Mar 2015 - Released JsonPath 2.0.0

11 Nov 2014 - Released JsonPath 1.2.0

01 Oct 2014 - Released JsonPath 1.1.0

26 Sep 2014 - Released JsonPath 1.0.0

Getting Started

JsonPath is available at the Central Maven Repository. Maven users add this to your POM.


If you need help ask questions at Stack Overflow. Tag the question 'jsonpath' and 'java'.

JsonPath expressions always refer to a JSON structure in the same way as XPath expression are used in combination with an XML document. The "root member object" in JsonPath is always referred to as $ regardless if it is an object or array.

JsonPath expressions can use the dot–notation


or the bracket–notation



Operator Description
$ The root element to query. This starts all path expressions.
@ The current node being processed by a filter predicate.
* Wildcard. Available anywhere a name or numeric are required.
.. Deep scan. Available anywhere a name is required.
.<name> Dot-notated child
['<name>' (, '<name>')] Bracket-notated child or children
[<number> (, <number>)] Array index or indexes
[start:end] Array slice operator
[?(<expression>)] Filter expression. Expression must evaluate to a boolean value.


Functions can be invoked at the tail end of a path - the input to a function is the output of the path expression. The function output is dictated by the function itself.

Function Description Output type
min() Provides the min value of an array of numbers Double
max() Provides the max value of an array of numbers Double
avg() Provides the average value of an array of numbers Double
stddev() Provides the standard deviation value of an array of numbers Double
length() Provides the length of an array Integer
sum() Provides the sum value of an array of numbers Double
keys() Provides the property keys (An alternative for terminal tilde ~) Set<E>
concat(X) Provides a concatinated version of the path output with a new item like input
append(X) add an item to the json path output array like input

Filter Operators

Filters are logical expressions used to filter arrays. A typical filter would be [?(@.age > 18)] where @ represents the current item being processed. More complex filters can be created with logical operators && and ||. String literals must be enclosed by single or double quotes ([?(@.color == 'blue')] or [?(@.color == "blue")]).

Operator Description
== left is equal to right (note that 1 is not equal to '1')
!= left is not equal to right
< left is less than right
<= left is less or equal to right
> left is greater than right
>= left is greater than or equal to right
=~ left matches regular expression [?(@.name =~ /foo.*?/i)]
in left exists in right [?(@.size in ['S', 'M'])]
nin left does not exists in right
subsetof left is a subset of right [?(@.sizes subsetof ['S', 'M', 'L'])]
anyof left has an intersection with right [?(@.sizes anyof ['M', 'L'])]
noneof left has no intersection with right [?(@.sizes noneof ['M', 'L'])]
size size of left (array or string) should match right
empty left (array or string) should be empty

Path Examples

Given the json

    "store": {
        "book": [
                "category": "reference",
                "author": "Nigel Rees",
                "title": "Sayings of the Century",
                "price": 8.95
                "category": "fiction",
                "author": "Evelyn Waugh",
                "title": "Sword of Honour",
                "price": 12.99
                "category": "fiction",
                "author": "Herman Melville",
                "title": "Moby Dick",
                "isbn": "0-553-21311-3",
                "price": 8.99
                "category": "fiction",
                "author": "J. R. R. Tolkien",
                "title": "The Lord of the Rings",
                "isbn": "0-395-19395-8",
                "price": 22.99
        "bicycle": {
            "color": "red",
            "price": 19.95
    "expensive": 10
JsonPath (click link to try) Result
$.store.book[*].author The authors of all books
$..author All authors
$.store.* All things, both books and bicycles
$.store..price The price of everything
$..book[2] The third book
$..book[-2] The second to last book
$..book[0,1] The first two books
$..book[:2] All books from index 0 (inclusive) until index 2 (exclusive)
$..book[1:2] All books from index 1 (inclusive) until index 2 (exclusive)
$..book[-2:] Last two books
$..book[2:] Book number two from tail
$..book[?(@.isbn)] All books with an ISBN number
$.store.book[?(@.price < 10)] All books in store cheaper than 10
$..book[?(@.price <= $['expensive'])] All books in store that are not "expensive"
$..book[?(@.author =~ /.*REES/i)] All books matching regex (ignore case)
$..* Give me every thing
$..book.length() The number of books

Reading a Document

The simplest most straight forward way to use JsonPath is via the static read API.

String json = "...";

List<String> authors = JsonPath.read(json, "$.store.book[*].author");

If you only want to read once this is OK. In case you need to read an other path as well this is not the way to go since the document will be parsed every time you call JsonPath.read(...). To avoid the problem you can parse the json first.

String json = "...";
Object document = Configuration.defaultConfiguration().jsonProvider().parse(json);

String author0 = JsonPath.read(document, "$.store.book[0].author");
String author1 = JsonPath.read(document, "$.store.book[1].author");

JsonPath also provides a fluent API. This is also the most flexible one.

String json = "...";

ReadContext ctx = JsonPath.parse(json);

List<String> authorsOfBooksWithISBN = ctx.read("$.store.book[?(@.isbn)].author");

List<Map<String, Object>> expensiveBooks = JsonPath
                            .read("$.store.book[?(@.price > 10)]", List.class);

What is Returned When?

When using JsonPath in java its important to know what type you expect in your result. JsonPath will automatically try to cast the result to the type expected by the invoker.

//Will throw an java.lang.ClassCastException    
List<String> list = JsonPath.parse(json).read("$.store.book[0].author")

//Works fine
String author = JsonPath.parse(json).read("$.store.book[0].author")

When evaluating a path you need to understand the concept of when a path is definite. A path is indefinite if it contains:

  • .. - a deep scan operator
  • ?(<expression>) - an expression
  • [<number>, <number> (, <number>)] - multiple array indexes

Indefinite paths always returns a list (as represented by current JsonProvider).

By default a simple object mapper is provided by the MappingProvider SPI. This allows you to specify the return type you want and the MappingProvider will try to perform the mapping. In the example below mapping between Long and Date is demonstrated.

String json = "{\"date_as_long\" : 1411455611975}";

Date date = JsonPath.parse(json).read("$['date_as_long']", Date.class);

If you configure JsonPath to use JacksonMappingProvider, GsonMappingProvider, or JakartaJsonProvider you can even map your JsonPath output directly into POJO's.

Book book = JsonPath.parse(json).read("$.store.book[0]", Book.class);

To obtain full generics type information, use TypeRef.

TypeRef<List<String>> typeRef = new TypeRef<List<String>>() {};

List<String> titles = JsonPath.parse(JSON_DOCUMENT).read("$.store.book[*].title", typeRef);


There are three different ways to create filter predicates in JsonPath.

Inline Predicates

Inline predicates are the ones defined in the path.

List<Map<String, Object>> books =  JsonPath.parse(json)
                                     .read("$.store.book[?(@.price < 10)]");

You can use && and || to combine multiple predicates [?(@.price < 10 && @.category == 'fiction')] , [?(@.category == 'reference' || @.price > 10)].

You can use ! to negate a predicate [?(!(@.price < 10 && @.category == 'fiction'))].

Filter Predicates

Predicates can be built using the Filter API as shown below:

import static com.jayway.jsonpath.JsonPath.parse;
import static com.jayway.jsonpath.Criteria.where;
import static com.jayway.jsonpath.Filter.filter;

Filter cheapFictionFilter = filter(

List<Map<String, Object>> books =  
   parse(json).read("$.store.book[?]", cheapFictionFilter);

Notice the placeholder ? for the filter in the path. When multiple filters are provided they are applied in order where the number of placeholders must match the number of provided filters. You can specify multiple predicate placeholders in one filter operation [?, ?], both predicates must match.

Filters can also be combined with 'OR' and 'AND'

Filter fooOrBar = filter(

Filter fooAndBar = filter(

Roll Your Own

Third option is to implement your own predicates

Predicate booksWithISBN = new Predicate() {
    public boolean apply(PredicateContext ctx) {
        return ctx.item(Map.class).containsKey("isbn");

List<Map<String, Object>> books = 
   reader.read("$.store.book[?].isbn", List.class, booksWithISBN);

Path vs Value

In the Goessner implementation a JsonPath can return either Path or Value. Value is the default and what all the examples above are returning. If you rather have the path of the elements our query is hitting this can be achieved with an option.

Configuration conf = Configuration.builder()

List<String> pathList = using(conf).parse(json).read("$..author");


Set a value

The library offers the possibility to set a value.

String newJson = JsonPath.parse(json).set("$['store']['book'][0]['author']", "Paul").jsonString();

Tweaking Configuration


When creating your Configuration there are a few option flags that can alter the default behaviour.

DEFAULT_PATH_LEAF_TO_NULL This option makes JsonPath return null for missing leafs. Consider the following json

      "name" : "john",
      "gender" : "male"
      "name" : "ben"
Configuration conf = Configuration.defaultConfiguration();

//Works fine
String gender0 = JsonPath.using(conf).parse(json).read("$[0]['gender']");
//PathNotFoundException thrown
String gender1 = JsonPath.using(conf).parse(json).read("$[1]['gender']");

Configuration conf2 = conf.addOptions(Option.DEFAULT_PATH_LEAF_TO_NULL);

//Works fine
String gender0 = JsonPath.using(conf2).parse(json).read("$[0]['gender']");
//Works fine (null is returned)
String gender1 = JsonPath.using(conf2).parse(json).read("$[1]['gender']");

ALWAYS_RETURN_LIST This option configures JsonPath to return a list even when the path is definite.

Configuration conf = Configuration.defaultConfiguration();

//ClassCastException thrown
List<String> genders0 = JsonPath.using(conf).parse(json).read("$[0]['gender']");

Configuration conf2 = conf.addOptions(Option.ALWAYS_RETURN_LIST);

//Works fine
List<String> genders0 = JsonPath.using(conf2).parse(json).read("$[0]['gender']");

SUPPRESS_EXCEPTIONS This option makes sure no exceptions are propagated from path evaluation. It follows these simple rules:

  • If option ALWAYS_RETURN_LIST is present an empty list will be returned
  • If option ALWAYS_RETURN_LIST is NOT present null returned

REQUIRE_PROPERTIES This option configures JsonPath to require properties defined in path when an indefinite path is evaluated.

Configuration conf = Configuration.defaultConfiguration();

//Works fine
List<String> genders = JsonPath.using(conf).parse(json).read("$[*]['gender']");

Configuration conf2 = conf.addOptions(Option.REQUIRE_PROPERTIES);

//PathNotFoundException thrown
List<String> genders = JsonPath.using(conf2).parse(json).read("$[*]['gender']");

JsonProvider SPI

JsonPath is shipped with five different JsonProviders:

Changing the configuration defaults as demonstrated should only be done when your application is being initialized. Changes during runtime is strongly discouraged, especially in multi threaded applications.

Configuration.setDefaults(new Configuration.Defaults() {

    private final JsonProvider jsonProvider = new JacksonJsonProvider();
    private final MappingProvider mappingProvider = new JacksonMappingProvider();

    public JsonProvider jsonProvider() {
        return jsonProvider;

    public MappingProvider mappingProvider() {
        return mappingProvider;

    public Set<Option> options() {
        return EnumSet.noneOf(Option.class);

Note that the JacksonJsonProvider requires com.fasterxml.jackson.core:jackson-databind:2.4.5 and the GsonJsonProvider requires com.google.code.gson:gson:2.3.1 on your classpath.

Both of Jakarta EE 9 JSON-P (JSR-342) and JSON-B (JSR-367) providers expect at least Java 8 and require compatible JSON API implementations (such as Eclipse Glassfish and Eclipse Yasson) on application runtime classpath; such implementations may also be provided by Java EE application container. Please also note that Apache Johnzon is not classpath-compatible with Jakarta EE 9 specification yet, and if JSON-B mapping provider is chosen then JSON-P provider must be configured and used, too.

One peculiarity of Jakarta EE 9 specifications for JSON processing and databinding (mapping) is immutability of Json arrays and objects as soon as they are fully parsed or written to. To respect the API specification, but allow JsonPath to modify Json documents through add, set/put, replace, and delete operations, JakartaJsonProvider has to be initiliazed with optional true argument:

  • JsonProvider jsonProvider = new JakartaJsonProvider(true) (enable mutable Json arrays and objects)
  • JsonProvider jsonProvider = new JakartaJsonProvider() (default, strict JSON-P API compliance)

All lookup and read operations with JsonPath are supported regardless of initilization mode. Default mode also needs less memory and is more performant.

Cache SPI

In JsonPath 2.1.0 a new Cache SPI was introduced. This allows API consumers to configure path caching in a way that suits their needs. The cache must be configured before it is accesses for the first time or a JsonPathException is thrown. JsonPath ships with two cache implementations

  • com.jayway.jsonpath.spi.cache.LRUCache (default, thread safe)
  • com.jayway.jsonpath.spi.cache.NOOPCache (no cache)

If you want to implement your own cache the API is simple.

CacheProvider.setCache(new Cache() {
    //Not thread safe simple cache
    private Map<String, JsonPath> map = new HashMap<String, JsonPath>();

    public JsonPath get(String key) {
        return map.get(key);

    public void put(String key, JsonPath jsonPath) {
        map.put(key, jsonPath);