Displaying better error message than "No JSON object could be decoded"


Python code to load data from some long complicated JSON file:

with open(filename, "r") as f:
  data = json.loads(f.read())

(note: the best code version should be:

with open(filename, "r") as f:
  data = json.load(f)

but both exhibit similar behavior)

For many types of JSON error (missing delimiters, incorrect backslashes in strings, etc), this prints a nice helpful message containing the line and column number where the JSON error was found.

However, for other types of JSON error (including the classic "using comma on the last item in a list", but also other things like capitalising true/false), Python's output is just:

Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "myfile.py", line 8, in myfunction
    config = json.loads(f.read())
  File "c:\python27\lib\json\__init__.py", line 326, in loads
    return _default_decoder.decode(s)
  File "c:\python27\lib\json\decoder.py", line 360, in decode
    obj, end = self.raw_decode(s, idx=_w(s, 0).end())
  File "c:\python27\lib\json\decoder.py", line 378, in raw_decode
    raise ValueError("No JSON object could be decoded")
ValueError: No JSON object could be decoded

For that type of ValueError, how do you get Python to tell you where is the error in the JSON file?

8/23/2017 12:04:42 PM

Accepted Answer

I've found that the simplejson module gives more descriptive errors in many cases where the built-in json module is vague. For instance, for the case of having a comma after the last item in a list:

ValueError: No JSON object could be decoded

which is not very descriptive. The same operation with simplejson:

simplejson.decoder.JSONDecodeError: Expecting object: line 1 column 5 (char 5)

Much better! Likewise for other common errors like capitalizing True.

2/19/2013 11:33:45 AM

You wont be able to get python to tell you where the JSON is incorrect. You will need to use a linter online somewhere like this

This will show you error in the JSON you are trying to decode.

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