Reference: JSON Functions

The following functions allow working with embedded json and jsonb documents.

create table json_data(data jsonb); -- json behaves similar, but is stored in plain text
insert into json_data
values ('{"id":1, "name": "philipp", "friends": [2, 3]}'),
       ('{"id":2, "name": "max", "friends": [1]}'),
       ('{"id":3, "name": "moritz", "friends": [1]}');

Dictionary Access

The -> operator retrieves the json element with the specified string key from a JSON dictionary. When the key is not found, it returns null.

select data->'name' from json_data;
(3 rows)

Note the double quotes (") around the printed values. This indicates that the results are JSON strings, not text columns.

Array Access

The -> also retrieves the json element with the specified integer index from a JSON array. It returns null for out-of-bounds access.

select data->'friends'->0 from json_data;
(3 rows)

Text Access

The ->> operator is similar to ->, but retrieves text columns instead of json columns. This converts any value, especially JSON strings, but also integers and nested objects, to a text representation.

select data->>'name' from json_data;
(3 rows)


Json and jsonb columns can be converted to and from text using standard conversion functions.

select data::text from json_data limit 1;
 {"id": 1, "name": "philipp", "friends": [2, 3]}
(1 row)

For jsonb columns, CedarDB stores semantically equivalent documents, so you might get a syntactically different text representation in a text::jsonb::text conversion. In contrast, json columns are stored in a plain text representation, where such a conversion is character-by-character equivalent, but the access operations are slower, since they need to re-parse the JSON string.


The json_array_length() function allows calculating the number of elements in a JSON array:

select json_array_length(data->'friends') from json_data;
(3 rows)

JSON arrays can sometimes be hard to work with in SQL, since they are not in a normalized relational model. To relationalize arrays, you can use the json_array_elements() function, which transforms a row with a JSON array to multiple rows with the elements of the array. This is similar to the unnest() function for SQL arrays.

For the example, you can get a friends_with relation from the json array:

select data->'id', json_array_elements(data->'friends')
from json_data;
 id | json_array_elements 
 1  | 2
 1  | 3
 3  | 1
 2  | 1
(4 rows)