Python is one of the most popular programming languages. Many beginners and experts prefer it because it has a simple syntax. In addition, Python has a rich collection of libraries, which makes work more efficient. If you want to advance with Python, it is critical to understand Python JSON.

Furthermore, a good understanding of Python JSON allows you to seamlessly store and transmit data between the servers and the Python web application. This guide will examine the JSON Python package and how to use it to perform various activities. 

What is Python JSON?

What is Python JSON?

JSON stands for JavaScript Object Notation, and as the name suggests, it was inspired by JavaScript programming language. However, it works with other programming languages like Python. Python JSON is a popular data format for data exchange between web applications and servers. In addition, it is a lightweight data format that humans can easily read and write.

JSON stores data as a quoted string in a key: value pair within curly brackets. Python offers support for JSON objects through a built-in package called “json”, which allows you to encode and decode data. In addition, the Python JSON package allows you to convert Python objects to Python JSON files and vice versa. As a result, sharing data on Python web apps becomes easier and more efficient.

Python JSON is one of the best formats for organizing data between a server and a client. It supports the pickle and marshal modules from the standard library and JSON API functions. Additionally, Python supports JSON characteristics.

Before working with the JSON Python package to convert Python objects to JSON, you must first import the Python JSON module. Use the command below to get started: Import json  

Advantages of Python JSON

Here are some of the advantages of JSON:

  1. Python JSON files are smaller and much faster than XML
  2. When working with Python JSON, you don’t need a special parser program
  3. Using Python JSON saves time since there is no need to parse XML files every time you want to use them

Python JSON is an excellent choice for optimizing productivity, especially in small businesses. 

Disadvantages of Python JSON

Although JSON is great, it may not be ideal for everyone. Here are some of the cons of using JSON:

  1. Python JSON files cannot include variables like JavaScript, HTML, and CSS.
  2. It must be encoded and decoded manually.
  3. There is no built-in function to confirm the validity of the JSON data.
  4. When parsing JSON, you must utilize your preferred programming language to determine what kind of information the JSON object contains.
  5. You need a third-party tool like Firefox’s Firebug extension to easily view the source code of a Python JSON file.

JSON Syntax

The syntax required for the Python JSON is often considered as the subset of JavaScript syntax. It includes:

  • Name/value pairs: This represents data, name and followed by a colon
  • Square brackets: This holds the arrays with comma-separated values
  • Curly braces: This is used to hold the objects

When using Python JSON, Names/Keys must be strings enclosed within double quotes. In addition, the value must be one of the data types, such as:

  • Null
  • Object (JSON object)
  • Boolean
  • Number
  • String
  • Array

A JSON object is similar to a Python dictionary. However, there are a few differences, including:

  • JSON keys are always strings
  • Strings are enclosed with double quotes
  • null is the JSON equivalent of Python None
  • A JSON boolean begins with lowercase alphabets

Serialization of Python JSON

This is the process of encoding data into JSON format, similar to converting a Python list to JSON. Serialization describes the transformation of data into a series of bytes which can be transmitted or stored across a network. Once a computer processes lots of information, it may need to take a data dump. Subsequently, the Python JSON package comes with the dump () function to write data into files. Alternatively, there is the dumps. () function to write into a Python string.

Let us consider an example:

You are working with a Python object that looks like the code shown below:

data = ( “president”: ( “name”: “Henry Stone”) )

First, you must save this information to a disk by writing it into a file. You can use Python’s context manager to create and open a file in write mode. Bear in mind that Python JSON files end in a .json, which provides a huge convenience. 

The code should look something like this:

With open(“data_file.json”, “w”) as write_file:

    json.dump(data, write_file)

Take note that the dump() takes two positional arguments. The first is the data object to be serialized, and the second is the file-like object to which the bytes will be written.

Alternatively, you can write the above code to a native Python str object. This may be necessary if you want to use this serialized Python JSON data in your program. It should be like this:

json_string = json.dumps(data)

From the above, you would notice that the file-like object is missing since you don’t need to write it to a disk. This is one of the significant differences between the dumps() and dump() methods. 

Important keyword arguments

Python JSON is designed to be easy for humans to read. However, this may be challenging if the codes are all squished together. In addition, different people have different programming styles. Therefore, they would be most comfortable reading a code formatted according to their style.

Before we proceed, it is crucial to mention that both dumps() and dump() methods use the same keyword arguments.

Moving on, the first option you may want to change is whitespace. The indent keyword can be used to indicate the indentation size for nested structures. You can check it out by using data, and the code should look like this:


json.dumps(data, indent=4)

Alternatively, you can use the separators keyword argument as a formatting option. It is a 2-tuple of the separator strings (“, “, “: “) by default. 

You can find a list of other formatting keyword arguments here.  

Deserialization of Python JSON

Deserialization is the process of decoding JSON into native objects, such as reading JSON data into a Python list. You can find the load() and loads() in the Python JSON library, which allows you to turn JSON-encoded data into Python objects. 

The conversion table for deserialization is quite similar to serialization. However, it is not always a case of perfect inversion. Therefore, if you encode a Python object now and decide to decode it again, you may not get the exact object back. For example, you have a text in English and hire someone to translate it into Spanish. Once that is done, you hire another translator to take it back to the English language. There is a high chance that there will be differences between the primary and secondary English versions. 

Let us consider a simple Deserialization example:

In this sample scenario, you have stored data on a disk you want to manipulate in memory. You can use the context manager, but you need to open the existing data_file.json in read mode. 

This is quite straightforward, but remember that the result of this method could return any of the allowed data types from the conversion table.

Suppose you have pulled Python JSON data from another program or gotten a string of JSON formatted data in Python. You can do this with the loads() method, which loads from a string.

How to Write JSON to a File

How to Write JSON to a File

You can write JSON onto a file once you have imported the Python JSON module. The package offers a function called JSON.dump (), which facilitates writing JSON onto a file. It is one of the best things about the json.dump () function asis, you can write JSON onto a file without conversation. It accepts two arguments, which include:

  • File pointer: File pointer works in open or append mode
  • Dictionary: This is the name of the dictionary

How to convert JSON to Python with JSON Python

The Python JSON module can be used to convert a JSON string to Python using the JSON.loads() function. The result of this will be a dictionary.

Types of Python objects that can be converted to JSON strings

Here are some of the Python objects that you can convert to JSON strings with the Python JSON module: 

  • None
  • List
  • Str
  • False
  • Dict
  • Float
  • Tuple
  • Int
  • True

Once you run the code using the Python objects above, it converts them to JSON with the .dumps() from the Python JSON. The conversion includes:

Python JSON
List Array
Tupple Array
Dict Object
Str String
Int Number
Float Number
None Null
True True
False False

How to convert from Python to JSON with JSON Python

The json.dumps () method is quite similar to the json.dump(), but the difference is that the former converts a dictionary to a JSON object while the latter writes a JSON to a file without the conversion. More so, the json.dumps() function accepts the following arguments:

  • Indent: Number of units for indentations
  • Dictionary: Name of the dictionary

In addition, the json.dumps() method also accepts other parameters for formatting and sorting the results. 

Encoding and Decoding Custom Python Objects

The Python JSON module can handle most built-in Python types. However, it cannot understand how to encode customized data types by default. It’s like trying to shove a cubed ice into a round-mouth bottle. 

Simplifying data structures

So, many of you are probably wondering if there was a way to deal with complex data structures. The usual route is to encode and decode the JSON manually. However, you can try a simpler alternative, which will save you stress. It involves an intermediary step in the process instead of directly going from custom data type to JSON.

You can do this by representing your data in terms of what the json is familiar with. In simpler terms, it involves translating the more complex object into a simpler format, which the Python JSON understands. This can be related to equations in mathematics that look like this: if A=B and B=D, then A=D.

To better understand the process, you need to play around with a complex object. Python has a built-in type of custom class called complex, which represents complex numbers. It is important to note that this feature is not serialization by default. Therefore, your complex object will be a complex object when running the code.

A complex number is usually the combination of a real number and an imaginary number. They are very critical from a mathematical POV because they play a significant role in solving polynomial equations. Subsequently, knowing the real and imaginary parts of a complex number is the minimum information you need to recreate the complex object. 

For example: 

z.real 3.0

z.imag 8.0

When you pass the above numbers into a complex constructor, it can satisfy the _eq_ comparison operator as shown below:

complex(3, 8) = z


Note that breaking custom data types into their real and imaginary components is crucial to the serialization and deserialization processes.

Encoding custom types

If you want to translate a custom object into Python JSON, you need to provide an encoding function to the dump () method’s default parameter. Subsequently, the Python JSON module will call this function on any objects that are not serializable by default. 

Here is a simple decoding function:

def encode_complex(z):

if isinstance(z, complex):

 return (z.real, z.imag)

raise TypeError(f”Object of type ‘{type_name}’ is not JSON serializable”)

From the above, you are expected to raise a TypeError if you do not receive the kind of object you were expecting. This is important to avoid unintentionally serializing any Elves. 

Another popular method is to subclass the standard JSONEncoder and override the default () method. This is shown below:

class ComplexEncoder(json.JSONEncoder):

  def default(self, z):

  if isinstance(z, complex):

  return (z.real, z.imag)


   return super().default(z)

Instead of raising the TypeError manually, you can let the base class handle it in this scenario. This approach can be used directly in the dump() method via the cls parameter or by creating an instance of an encoder and calling its encode() method.

Decoding custom types

Remember that we mentioned earlier that the minimum requirement to recreate a complex object is to identify the real and imaginary parts of the complex number. However, it does not end there, as you may get incomplete results. 

When you try to encode a complex number with the ComplexEncoder and then decode it, all you get is a list. Therefore, you would have to pass the values into a complex constructor to retrieve the complex object. 

Now, the question you should really be asking yourself is, “What is the minimum amount of information necessary and sufficient to recreate a complex object?”

You need to add metadata, which provides information on the type of data you are encoding.

The Python JSON module expects all custom types to be expressed as objects in the JSON standard. You can be clever and add the object representing a complex number, as shown below:

“__complex__”: true,

“real”: 42,

  “imag”: 36

The clever part is the addition of the “__complex__” key, which is the metadata. Additionally, what the associated value is does not really matter. However, to use this function, you must first verify that the key exists.

In the case where “__complex__” is not in the Python JSON dictionary, you can simply return the object and allow the default decoder to deal with it.

Meanwhile, each time the load() function tries to parse an object, you have an opportunity to intercede before the default decoder manipulates the data. Passing your decoding function to the object_hook parameter allows you to do this.

 Optimizing Python JSON Functionality with NetNut Proxies 

Python JSON stands out in its operations based on how it represents data. This becomes very useful when you want to send a large text file over the internet. Large files take a long time to download, return an error response or get corrupted in the process of transferring data. 

Python JSON solves this problem because it represents data using a compact set of rules. In addition, using JSON is useful because the data can easily be read by browsers without human interference. Therefore, Python JSON helps you save space and reduce bandwidth costs while providing easy and secure access to data.

Many websites provide APIs that allow developers to build applications, but they often require the submission of data in a specific format. Subsequently, developers can utilize Python JSON to convert data into JSON before submitting it. As a result, when a third party tries to collect the data, they will receive a JSON response. They can decode the response they received as a means to retrieve the original data.

Python JSON parsing is especially useful for data transformation processes like web scraping, data mining, data extraction, analysis, and data integration processes. However, integration with proxy servers optimizes your web data collection and transformation experience with Python JSON.

NetNut, a global solution, provides various proxies to cater to your specific needs. These proxies serve as intermediaries between your device and the internet. NetNut has an extensive network of over 52 million rotating residential proxies in 200 countries and over 250,000 mobile IPS in over 100 countries, which helps us provide exceptional data collection services.

NetNut offers various proxy solutions, including:


This guide has examined the fundamental concepts of Python JSON and how to use them for various instances. As a recap, the first step is to import the json package, read the data with load () or loads(), and process the data. You can write the altered data with dump () or dumps().

It is essential to note that JSON is not a programming language but a data serialization format. In simpler terms, it is used to convert data into a machine-readable format. Moreso, when you convert data into a JSON string, it can be used anywhere.  

The most common use case of Python JSON is extracting data from websites, parsing them, and storing them in a readable format. Therefore, it becomes critical to understand these concepts and how they can be useful to your business. 

If you want to read more expository articles like this, check out the best language for programming and Python web scraping. Kindly contact us if you need help selecting the best proxy servers for your business. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Parse JSON in Python

Although you can parse JSON in other programming languages, Python is the preferred. Python JSON parsing is popular because it comes with an inbuilt module that can read, convert, and write JSON data easily. This feature is especially useful in multiple applications like search engine scraping, web scraping, data mining, and marketing companies where data transformation is critical.

How do you handle errors?

There are two methods to handle errors in Python- “ask for forgiveness” and “check before you leap.” The check before you leap method involves checking the program state before executing each operation. On the other hand, the ask for forgiveness method tries an operation and catches any exceptions if it fails.

The ask for forgiveness method is more popular for use in Python JSON- it often assumes that errors are a normal part of the program flow. It provides an easy way to handle errors, which makes the code easier to read and write. Some may argue that this approach can be less efficient than the check-before-you leap method. However, Python’s exceptional handling optimizes its performance.

What is the difference between JSON and XML?

JSON uses a dictionary-based syntax, so it is often compared to XML. They are based on a strict structure that defines relationships among multiple pieces of data. However, XML is more flexible than JSON.

A significant difference is that JSON is simpler to read than XML primarily because it does not require nesting. In addition, JSON is designed for the internet, so it is better suited for transferring data online than XML.

Python JSON: How to Read, Write, and Parse JSON Files
Full Stack Developer
Stav Levi is a dynamic Full Stack Developer based in Tel Aviv, Israel, currently working at NetNut Proxy Network. In her role, she specializes in developing and maintaining intricate management systems, harnessing a diverse tech stack, including Node.js, JavaScript, TypeScript, React, Next.js, MySQL, Express, REST API, JSON, and more. Stav's expertise in full-stack development and web technologies makes her an invaluable contributor to her team.