How to make a class JSON serializable

How to make a Python class serializable?

A simple class:

class FileItem:
    def __init__(self, fname):
        self.fname = fname

What should I do to be able to get output of:

>>> import json

>>> my_file = FileItem('/foo/bar')
>>> json.dumps(my_file)
TypeError: Object of type 'FileItem' is not JSON serializable

Without the error

Answer

Do you have an idea about the expected output? For example, will this do?

>>> f  = FileItem("/foo/bar")
>>> magic(f)
'{"fname": "/foo/bar"}'

In that case you can merely call json.dumps(f.__dict__).

If you want more customized output then you will have to subclass JSONEncoder and implement your own custom serialization.

For a trivial example, see below.

>>> from json import JSONEncoder
>>> class MyEncoder(JSONEncoder):
        def default(self, o):
            return o.__dict__    

>>> MyEncoder().encode(f)
'{"fname": "/foo/bar"}'

Then you pass this class into the json.dumps() method as cls kwarg:

json.dumps(cls=MyEncoder)

If you also want to decode then you’ll have to supply a custom object_hook to the JSONDecoder class. For example:

>>> def from_json(json_object):
        if 'fname' in json_object:
            return FileItem(json_object['fname'])
>>> f = JSONDecoder(object_hook = from_json).decode('{"fname": "/foo/bar"}')
>>> f
<__main__.FileItem object at 0x9337fac>
>>>