JSON C++ Tutorial

If you want to learn how to parse and generate JSON with C++ you have come to the right place.

JsonCpp is a good solid C++ library to work with. The code samples below show that you can easily work with C++ and JSON files. What’s interesting about JSONCPP is that Google uses it in their C++ library for their Data Layer API.

JsonCpp (also known as JSON C++) gives you the ability to open JSON configuration files. This means you can re-use configs and build a faster more performant project out of a frontend web development project. You can use C++ and Node.js and get the best of both worlds through sharing JSON files and JsonCpp!

JsonCpp is great to work with, however the API docs need more of a tutorial. There is a Repl.it instance with code samples that should serve as a better tutorial to help you use the JSON C++ library.

Saving an Object to JSON

Here’s a example of the JSON-specific code to save an object to JSON:

void AddressBook::JsonSave(const char* filename) {
    ofstream out(filename, ofstream::out);
    Json::Value book_json(Json::objectValue), contacts_json(Json::arrayValue);
    for (vector<Contact>::iterator it = contacts_.begin(); it != contacts_.end(); ++it) {
    book_json["contacts"] = contacts_json;
    out << book_json;

Json::Value Contact::ToJson() const {
    Json::Value value(Json::objectValue);
    value["name"] = name_;
    value["phone_number"] = phone_number_;
    return value;

The above code is also a JSON C++ array example. We are using a vector for a dynamically-sized array, and we are using the JSON C++ arrayValue to extract a list from the JSON.

Loading JSON List/Vector of Objects

Here’s an example of C++ JSON for loading a list/vector of objects from JSON:

void AddressBook::JsonLoad(const char* filename) {
    ifstream in(filename);
    Json::Value book_json;
    in >> book_json;
    for (Json::Value::iterator it = book_json["contacts"].begin(); it != book_json["contacts"].end(); ++it) {
        AddPerson((*it)["name"].asString(), (*it)["phone_number"].asString());

void AddressBook::AddPerson(string const &name, string const &phone_number) {
    Contact contact = Contact();

Explanation of Loading JSON C++ Code Example

Okay let’s break down the JSON C++ code above!

First we’re defining a method, JsonLoad, in the AddressBook class. It accepts a filename string argument:

void AddressBook::JsonLoad(const char* filename) {

Then we are creating an input stream using ifstream:

ifstream in(filename);

And we create a variable that will store the parsed JSON value:

Json::Value book_json;

Then all we have to do is pipe the input stream into the JSON value object. The JsonCpp library defines the >> operator and will take care of parsing of the input stream into JSON:

in >> book_json;

Interactive Code Example

Click here to try out and run the code with an interactive example on Repl.it.