Formatting JSON for readability

Charly's Column – JSON

Article from Issue 238/2020

Armed with just json.tool and jq, Charly preps the JSON data delivered by his Philips Hue bridge so that even humans can read it – an essential step towards improving the usability of his home automation system.

Some time ago [1], I briefly talked about how I use the measured values from a lux sensor to control a Hue lighting system. In redecorating my hallway, I added some new lights and removed others. I couldn't remember the light sources' IDs, so I asked the Hue bridge to dump the configuration. What I got was hard-core JSON, but unfortunately not in a human-readable format (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Unreadable: Pure JSON.

There are plenty of tools to make JSON readable. I started with what I already had in place, json.tool, which the Python installation had dumped on my hard disk. I wrote its neatly formatted output to a file in /tmp for further processing (Listing 1).


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