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easyjson Build Status Go Report Card

Package easyjson provides a fast and easy way to marshal/unmarshal Go structs to/from JSON without the use of reflection. In performance tests, easyjson outperforms the standard encoding/json package by a factor of 4-5x, and other JSON encoding packages by a factor of 2-3x.

easyjson aims to keep generated Go code simple enough so that it can be easily optimized or fixed. Another goal is to provide users with the ability to customize the generated code by providing options not available with the standard encoding/json package, such as generating “snake_case” names or enabling omitempty behavior by default.

Usage

# install
go get -u github.com/mailru/easyjson/...

# run
easyjson -all <file>.go

The above will generate <file>_easyjson.go containing the appropriate marshaler and unmarshaler funcs for all structs contained in <file>.go.

Please note that easyjson requires a full Go build environment and the GOPATH environment variable to be set. This is because easyjson code generation invokes go run on a temporary file (an approach to code generation borrowed from ffjson).

Options

Usage of easyjson:
  -all
    	generate marshaler/unmarshalers for all structs in a file
  -build_tags string
    	build tags to add to generated file
  -leave_temps
    	do not delete temporary files
  -no_std_marshalers
    	don't generate MarshalJSON/UnmarshalJSON funcs
  -noformat
    	do not run 'gofmt -w' on output file
  -omit_empty
    	omit empty fields by default
  -output_filename string
    	specify the filename of the output
  -pkg
    	process the whole package instead of just the given file
  -snake_case
    	use snake_case names instead of CamelCase by default
  -lower_camel_case
        use lowerCamelCase instead of CamelCase by default
  -stubs
    	only generate stubs for marshaler/unmarshaler funcs
  -disallow_unknown_fields
        return error if some unknown field in json appeared

Using -all will generate marshalers/unmarshalers for all Go structs in the file. If -all is not provided, then only those structs whose preceding comment starts with easyjson:json will have marshalers/unmarshalers generated. For example:

//easyjson:json
type A struct {}

Additional option notes:

  • -snake_case tells easyjson to generate snake_case field names by default (unless overridden by a field tag). The CamelCase to snake_case conversion algorithm should work in most cases (ie, HTTPVersion will be converted to “http_version”).

  • -build_tags will add the specified build tags to generated Go sources.

Generated Marshaler/Unmarshaler Funcs

For Go struct types, easyjson generates the funcs MarshalEasyJSON / UnmarshalEasyJSON for marshaling/unmarshaling JSON. In turn, these satisify the easyjson.Marshaler and easyjson.Unmarshaler interfaces and when used in conjunction with easyjson.Marshal / easyjson.Unmarshal avoid unnecessary reflection / type assertions during marshaling/unmarshaling to/from JSON for Go structs.

easyjson also generates MarshalJSON and UnmarshalJSON funcs for Go struct types compatible with the standard json.Marshaler and json.Unmarshaler interfaces. Please be aware that using the standard json.Marshal / json.Unmarshal for marshaling/unmarshaling will incur a significant performance penalty when compared to using easyjson.Marshal / easyjson.Unmarshal.

Additionally, easyjson exposes utility funcs that use the MarshalEasyJSON and UnmarshalEasyJSON for marshaling/unmarshaling to and from standard readers and writers. For example, easyjson provides easyjson.MarshalToHTTPResponseWriter which marshals to the standard http.ResponseWriter. Please see the GoDoc listing for the full listing of utility funcs that are available.

Controlling easyjson Marshaling and Unmarshaling Behavior

Go types can provide their own MarshalEasyJSON and UnmarshalEasyJSON funcs that satisify the easyjson.Marshaler / easyjson.Unmarshaler interfaces. These will be used by easyjson.Marshal and easyjson.Unmarshal when defined for a Go type.

Go types can also satisify the easyjson.Optional interface, which allows the type to define its own omitempty logic.

Type Wrappers

easyjson provides additional type wrappers defined in the easyjson/opt package. These wrap the standard Go primitives and in turn satisify the easyjson interfaces.

The easyjson/opt type wrappers are useful when needing to distinguish between a missing value and/or when needing to specifying a default value. Type wrappers allow easyjson to avoid additional pointers and heap allocations and can significantly increase performance when used properly.

Memory Pooling

easyjson uses a buffer pool that allocates data in increasing chunks from 128 to 32768 bytes. Chunks of 512 bytes and larger will be reused with the help of sync.Pool. The maximum size of a chunk is bounded to reduce redundant memory allocation and to allow larger reusable buffers.

easyjson's custom allocation buffer pool is defined in the easyjson/buffer package, and the default behavior pool behavior can be modified (if necessary) through a call to buffer.Init() prior to any marshaling or unmarshaling. Please see the GoDoc listing for more information.

Issues, Notes, and Limitations

  • easyjson is still early in its development. As such, there are likely to be bugs and missing features when compared to encoding/json. In the case of a missing feature or bug, please create a GitHub issue. Pull requests are welcome!

  • Unlike encoding/json, object keys are case-sensitive. Case-insensitive matching is not currently provided due to the significant performance hit when doing case-insensitive key matching. In the future, case-insensitive object key matching may be provided via an option to the generator.

  • easyjson makes use of unsafe, which simplifies the code and provides significant performance benefits by allowing no-copy conversion from []byte to string. That said, unsafe is used only when unmarshaling and parsing JSON, and any unsafe operations / memory allocations done will be safely deallocated by easyjson. Set the build tag easyjson_nounsafe to compile it without unsafe.

  • easyjson is compatible with Google App Engine. The appengine build tag (set by App Engine‘s environment) will automatically disable the use of unsafe, which is not allowed in App Engine’s Standard Environment. Note that the use with App Engine is still experimental.

  • Floats are formatted using the default precision from Go's strconv package. As such, easyjson will not correctly handle high precision floats when marshaling/unmarshaling JSON. Note, however, that there are very few/limited uses where this behavior is not sufficient for general use. That said, a different package may be needed if precise marshaling/unmarshaling of high precision floats to/from JSON is required.

  • While unmarshaling, the JSON parser does the minimal amount of work needed to skip over unmatching parens, and as such full validation is not done for the entire JSON value being unmarshaled/parsed.

  • Currently there is no true streaming support for encoding/decoding as typically for many uses/protocols the final, marshaled length of the JSON needs to be known prior to sending the data. Currently this is not possible with easyjson's architecture.

Benchmarks

Most benchmarks were done using the example 13kB example JSON (9k after eliminating whitespace). This example is similar to real-world data, is well-structured, and contains a healthy variety of different types, making it ideal for JSON serialization benchmarks.

Note:

  • For small request benchmarks, an 80 byte portion of the above example was used.

  • For large request marshaling benchmarks, a struct containing 50 regular samples was used, making a ~500kB output JSON.

  • Benchmarks are showing the results of easyjson's default behaviour, which makes use of unsafe.

Benchmarks are available in the repository and can be run by invoking make.

easyjson vs. encoding/json

easyjson is roughly 5-6 times faster than the standard encoding/json for unmarshaling, and 3-4 times faster for non-concurrent marshaling. Concurrent marshaling is 6-7x faster if marshaling to a writer.

easyjson vs. ffjson

easyjson uses the same approach for JSON marshaling as ffjson, but takes a significantly different approach to lexing and parsing JSON during unmarshaling. This means easyjson is roughly 2-3x faster for unmarshaling and 1.5-2x faster for non-concurrent unmarshaling.

As of this writing, ffjson seems to have issues when used concurrently: specifically, large request pooling hurts ffjson's performance and causes scalability issues. These issues with ffjson can likely be fixed, but as of writing remain outstanding/known issues with ffjson.

easyjson and ffjson have similar performance for small requests, however easyjson outperforms ffjson by roughly 2-5x times for large requests when used with a writer.

easyjson vs. go/codec

go/codec provides compile-time helpers for JSON generation. In this case, helpers do not work like marshalers as they are encoding-independent.

easyjson is generally 2x faster than go/codec for non-concurrent benchmarks and about 3x faster for concurrent encoding (without marshaling to a writer).

In an attempt to measure marshaling performance of go/codec (as opposed to allocations/memcpy/writer interface invocations), a benchmark was done with resetting length of a byte slice rather than resetting the whole slice to nil. However, the optimization in this exact form may not be applicable in practice, since the memory is not freed between marshaling operations.

easyjson vs ‘ujson’ python module

ujson is using C code for parsing, so it is interesting to see how plain golang compares to that. It is imporant to note that the resulting object for python is slower to access, since the library parses JSON object into dictionaries.

easyjson is slightly faster for unmarshaling and 2-3x faster than ujson for marshaling.

Benchmark Results

ffjson results are from February 4th, 2016, using the latest ffjson and go1.6. go/codec results are from March 4th, 2016, using the latest go/codec and go1.6.

Unmarshaling

libjson sizeMB/sallocs/opB/op
standardregular2221810229
standardsmall9.714720
easyjsonregular1251289794
easyjsonsmall673128
ffjsonregular661419985
ffjsonsmall17.610488
codecregular5543419299
codecsmall297336
ujsonregular103N/AN/A

Marshaling, one goroutine.

libjson sizeMB/sallocs/opB/op
standardregular75923256
standardsmall323328
standardlarge80171.2M
easyjsonregular213910260
easyjson*regular2638742
easyjsonsmall1251128
easyjsonlarge21233490k
easyjson*large262252879
ffjsonregular12215321340
ffjson**regular1461524897
ffjsonsmall365384
ffjson**small644128
ffjsonlarge1347317818k
ffjson**large1257320827k
codecregular801733601
codec***regular10891153
codecsmall423304
codec***small56148
codeclarge734832.5M
codec***large10345166007
ujsonregular92N/AN/A

* marshaling to a writer, ** using ffjson.Pool(), *** reusing output slice instead of resetting it to nil

Marshaling, concurrent.

libjson sizeMB/sallocs/opB/op
standardregular252923257
standardsmall1243328
standardlarge289171.2M
easyjsonregular792910597
easyjson*regular17488779
easyjsonsmall3331128
easyjsonlarge71836548k
easyjson*large2134254957
ffjsonregular30115321629
ffjson**regular7071525148
ffjsonsmall625384
ffjson**small2824128
ffjsonlarge43873301.0M
ffjson**large1317319820k
codecregular1831733603
codec***regular67191157
codecsmall1473304
codec***small299148
codeclarge1904832.5M
codec***large75245177574

* marshaling to a writer, ** using ffjson.Pool(), *** reusing output slice instead of resetting it to nil