# Data.Aeson - JSON in Haskell

# Smart Encoding and Decoding using Generics

The easiest and quickest way to encode a Haskell data type to JSON with Aeson is using generics.

{-# LANGUAGE DeriveGeneric #-}

import GHC.Generics
import Data.Text
import Data.Aeson
import Data.ByteString.Lazy    

First let us create a data type Person:

data Person = Person { firstName :: Text
                     , lastName  :: Text
                     , age       :: Int 
                     } deriving (Show, Generic)

In order to use the encode and decode function from the Data.Aeson package we need to make Person an instance of ToJSON and FromJSON. Since we derive Generic for Person, we can create empty instances for these classes. The default definitions of the methods are defined in terms of the methods provided by the Generic type class.

instance ToJSON Person
instance FromJSON Person

Done! In order to improve the encoding speed we can slightly change the ToJSON instance:

instance ToJSON Person where
    toEncoding = genericToEncoding defaultOptions

Now we can use the encode function to convert Person to a (lazy) Bytestring:

encodeNewPerson :: Text -> Text -> Int -> ByteString
encodeNewPerson first last age = encode $ Person first last age

And to decode we can just use decode:

> encodeNewPerson "Hans" "Wurst" 30

> decode $ encodeNewPerson "Hans" "Wurst" 30
Just (Person {firstName = "Hans", lastName = "Wurst", age = 30})

# A quick way to generate a Data.Aeson.Value

{-# LANGUAGE OverloadedStrings #-}
module Main where

import Data.Aeson

main :: IO ()
main = do
  let example = Data.Aeson.object [ "key" .= (5 :: Integer), "somethingElse" .= (2 :: Integer) ] :: Value
  print . encode $ example

# Optional Fields

Sometimes, we want some fields in the JSON string to be optional. For example,

data Person = Person { firstName :: Text
                     , lastName  :: Text
                     , age       :: Maybe Int 

This can be achieved by

import Data.Aeson.TH

$(deriveJSON defaultOptions{omitNothingFields = True} ''Person)