json_diff [--output FILE] [--verbose] [--unified] [left] [right]
json_diff [--version]
json_diff [--help]


json_diff produces deltas between JSON-serialized data structures. If no arguments are specified, stdin will be expected to be a JSON array [left, right], and the output will be written to stdout.

The default output is itself a JSON data structure, specifically an array of arrays of the form [<keypath>] or [<keypath>, <replacement>]. The companion program json_patch(1) can be used to apply such a diff.

A keypath is an array of string or integer tokens specifying a path to a terminal node in the data structure. For example, in the structure [{}, {"foo": "bar"}], the string "bar" appears at the node addressed by the key sequence [1, 'foo'], and the empty object {} appears at key sequence [0].

If a diff stanza is an array of length 1, consisting only of a key sequence, json_patch(1) interprets it as an instruction to delete the node the key sequence points to. If a stanza is of length 2, the node is replaced by the last element of the stanza.

An alternative output format for json_diff is accessed using the --unified / -u option. This is designed to be more legible to the human eye, inspired by unified diffs as output by diff(1). json_patch(1) can read either format, and, since there is enough information in the format, can apply --unified patches in reverse.


--output FILE, -o FILE
 Write output to FILE instead of stdout.
--unified, -u Write diffs in a more legible format, inspired by the output of diff -u
--verbose Print compression statistics on stderr.
--version Show the program’s version number and exit.
--help, -h Show a brief help message and exit.


$ json_diff << 'EOF'
> [{"foo": "bar"},
>  {"foo": "bar",
>   "baz": ["quux"]}]

$ cat > foofile << 'EOF'
> {"foods": ["spam", "spam", "spam", "spam"],
>  "weaponry": "Mainly battleaxes.",
>  "spanish inquisition expected": false,
>  "drinks": "Delicious mead!",
>  "other supplies": null}
$ cat > barfile << 'EOF'
> {"foods": ["spam", "spam", "spam", "pickled eggs", "spam"],
>  "weaponry": "Mainly battleaxes.",
>  "spanish inquisition expected": false,
>  "drinks": "Soda water."}
$ json_diff -u foofile barfile
--- foofile   2014-04-14 21:32:00 BST
+++ barfile   2014-04-14 21:32:17 BST
  "weaponry": "Mainly battleaxes.",
+   "pickled eggs",

-  "Delicious mead!",
+  "Soda water.",

- "other supplies": null