The fastest JSON library in C
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Build Codecov License Version Packaging status

A high performance JSON library written in ANSI C.


  • Fast: can read or write gigabytes per second JSON data on modern CPUs.
  • Portable: complies with ANSI C (C89) for cross-platform compatibility.
  • Strict: complies with RFC 8259 JSON standard, ensuring strict number format and UTF-8 validation.
  • Extendable: offers options to allow comments, trailing commas, NaN/Inf, and custom memory allocator.
  • Accuracy: can accurately read and write int64, uint64, and double numbers.
  • Flexible: supports unlimited JSON nesting levels, `` characters, and non null-terminated strings.
  • Manipulation: supports querying and modifying using JSON Pointer, JSON Patch and JSON Merge Patch.
  • Developer-Friendly: easy integration with only one h and one c file.


  • An array or object is stored as a data structure such as linked list, which makes accessing elements by index or key slower than using an iterator.
  • Duplicate keys are allowed in an object, and the order of the keys is preserved.
  • JSON parsing result is immutable, requiring a mutable copy for modification.


Benchmark project and dataset: yyjson_benchmark

The simdjson's new On Demand API is faster if most JSON fields are known at compile-time. This benchmark project only checks the DOM API, a new benchmark will be added later.

AWS EC2 (AMD EPYC 7R32, gcc 9.3)


twitter.json parse (GB/s) stringify (GB/s)
yyjson(insitu) 1.80 1.51
yyjson 1.72 1.42
simdjson 1.52 0.61
sajson 1.16
rapidjson(insitu) 0.77
rapidjson(utf8) 0.26 0.39
cjson 0.32 0.17
jansson 0.05 0.11

iPhone (Apple A14, clang 12)


twitter.json parse (GB/s) stringify (GB/s)
yyjson(insitu) 3.51 2.41
yyjson 2.39 2.01
simdjson 2.19 0.80
sajson 1.74
rapidjson(insitu) 0.75
rapidjson(utf8) 0.30 0.58
cjson 0.48 0.33
jansson 0.09 0.24

More benchmark reports with interactive charts (update 2020-12-12)

Platform CPU Compiler OS Report
Intel NUC 8i5 Core i5-8259U msvc 2019 Windows 10 2004 Charts
Intel NUC 8i5 Core i5-8259U clang 10.0 Ubuntu 20.04 Charts
Intel NUC 8i5 Core i5-8259U gcc 9.3 Ubuntu 20.04 Charts
AWS EC2 c5a.large AMD EPYC 7R32 gcc 9.3 Ubuntu 20.04 Charts
AWS EC2 t4g.medium Graviton2 (ARM64) gcc 9.3 Ubuntu 20.04 Charts
Apple iPhone 12 Pro A14 (ARM64) clang 12.0 iOS 14 Charts

For better performance, yyjson prefers:

  • A modern processor with:
    • high instruction level parallelism
    • excellent branch predictor
    • low penalty for misaligned memory access
  • A modern compiler with good optimizer (e.g. clang)

Sample Code

Read JSON string

const char *json = "{\"name\":\"Mash\",\"star\":4,\"hits\":[2,2,1,3]}";

// Read JSON and get root
yyjson_doc *doc = yyjson_read(json, strlen(json), 0);
yyjson_val *root = yyjson_doc_get_root(doc);

// Get root["name"]
yyjson_val *name = yyjson_obj_get(root, "name");
printf("name: %s\n", yyjson_get_str(name));
printf("name length:%d\n", (int)yyjson_get_len(name));

// Get root["star"]
yyjson_val *star = yyjson_obj_get(root, "star");
printf("star: %d\n", (int)yyjson_get_int(star));

// Get root["hits"], iterate over the array
yyjson_val *hits = yyjson_obj_get(root, "hits");
size_t idx, max;
yyjson_val *hit;
yyjson_arr_foreach(hits, idx, max, hit) {
    printf("hit%d: %d\n", (int)idx, (int)yyjson_get_int(hit));

// Free the doc

// All functions accept NULL input, and return NULL on error.

Write JSON string

// Create a mutable doc
yyjson_mut_doc *doc = yyjson_mut_doc_new(NULL);
yyjson_mut_val *root = yyjson_mut_obj(doc);
yyjson_mut_doc_set_root(doc, root);

// Set root["name"] and root["star"]
yyjson_mut_obj_add_str(doc, root, "name", "Mash");
yyjson_mut_obj_add_int(doc, root, "star", 4);

// Set root["hits"] with an array
int hits_arr[] = {2, 2, 1, 3};
yyjson_mut_val *hits = yyjson_mut_arr_with_sint32(doc, hits_arr, 4);
yyjson_mut_obj_add_val(doc, root, "hits", hits);

// To string, minified
const char *json = yyjson_mut_write(doc, 0, NULL);
if (json) {
    printf("json: %s\n", json); // {"name":"Mash","star":4,"hits":[2,2,1,3]}
    free((void *)json);

// Free the doc

Read JSON file with options

// Read JSON file, allowing comments and trailing commas
yyjson_read_err err;
yyjson_doc *doc = yyjson_read_file("/tmp/config.json", flg, NULL, &err);

// Iterate over the root object
if (doc) {
    yyjson_val *obj = yyjson_doc_get_root(doc);
    yyjson_obj_iter iter;
    yyjson_obj_iter_init(obj, &iter);
    yyjson_val *key, *val;
    while ((key = yyjson_obj_iter_next(&iter))) {
        val = yyjson_obj_iter_get_val(key);
        printf("%s: %s\n", yyjson_get_str(key), yyjson_get_type_desc(val));
} else {
    printf("read error (%u): %s at position: %ld\n", err.code, err.msg, err.pos);

// Free the doc

Write JSON file with options

// Read the JSON file as a mutable doc
yyjson_doc *idoc = yyjson_read_file("/tmp/config.json", 0, NULL, NULL);
yyjson_mut_doc *doc = yyjson_doc_mut_copy(idoc, NULL);
yyjson_mut_val *obj = yyjson_mut_doc_get_root(doc);

// Remove null values in root object
yyjson_mut_obj_iter iter;
yyjson_mut_obj_iter_init(obj, &iter);
yyjson_mut_val *key, *val;
while ((key = yyjson_mut_obj_iter_next(&iter))) {
    val = yyjson_mut_obj_iter_get_val(key);
    if (yyjson_mut_is_null(val)) {

// Write the json pretty, escape unicode
yyjson_write_err err;
yyjson_mut_write_file("/tmp/config.json", doc, flg, NULL, &err);
if (err.code) {
    printf("write error (%u): %s\n", err.code, err.msg);

// Free the doc


The latest (unreleased) documentation can be accessed in the doc directory. The pre-generated Doxygen HTML for the release version can be viewed here:

Packaging status

Packaging status

Built With yyjson

A non-exhaustive list of projects that expose yyjson to other languages or use yyjson internally for a major feature. If you have a project that uses yyjson, feel free to open a PR to add it to this list.

Project Language Description
py_yyjson Python Python bindings for yyjson
orjson Python JSON library for Python with an optional yyjson backend
cpp-yyjson C++ C++ JSON library with a yyjson backend
yyjsonr R R binding for yyjson
Ananda Swift JSON model decoding based on yyjson
duckdb C++ DuckDB is an in-process SQL OLAP Database Management System


  • [x] Add documentation page.
  • [x] Add GitHub workflow for CI and codecov.
  • [x] Add more tests: valgrind, sanitizer.
  • [x] Support JSON Pointer to query value from document.
  • [x] Add fuzzer.
  • [x] Add RAW type for JSON reader and writer.
  • [ ] Add streaming API for JSON reader and writer.
  • [ ] Add documentation about performance.
  • [ ] Optimize performance for 32-bit processor.


This project is released under the MIT license.

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