`load` vs `loads`, `dump` vs `dumps`

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Example

The json module contains functions for both reading and writing to and from unicode strings, and reading and writing to and from files. These are differentiated by a trailing s in the function name. In these examples we use a StringIO object, but the same functions would apply for any file-like object.

Here we use the string-based functions:

import json

data = {u"foo": u"bar", u"baz": []}
json_string = json.dumps(data)
# u'{"foo": "bar", "baz": []}'
json.loads(json_string)
# {u"foo": u"bar", u"baz": []}

And here we use the file-based functions:

import json

from io import StringIO

json_file = StringIO()
data = {u"foo": u"bar", u"baz": []}
json.dump(data, json_file)
json_file.seek(0)  # Seek back to the start of the file before reading
json_file_content = json_file.read()
# u'{"foo": "bar", "baz": []}'
json_file.seek(0)  # Seek back to the start of the file before reading
json.load(json_file)
# {u"foo": u"bar", u"baz": []}

As you can see the main difference is that when dumping json data you must pass the file handle to the function, as opposed to capturing the return value. Also worth noting is that you must seek to the start of the file before reading or writing, in order to avoid data corruption. When opening a file the cursor is placed at position 0, so the below would also work:

import json

json_file_path = './data.json'
data = {u"foo": u"bar", u"baz": []}

with open(json_file_path, 'w') as json_file:
    json.dump(data, json_file)

with open(json_file_path) as json_file:
    json_file_content = json_file.read()
    # u'{"foo": "bar", "baz": []}'

with open(json_file_path) as json_file:
    json.load(json_file)
    # {u"foo": u"bar", u"baz": []}

Having both ways of dealing with json data allows you to idiomatically and efficiently work with formats which build upon json, such as pyspark's json-per-line:

# loading from a file
data = [json.loads(line) for line in open(file_path).splitlines()]

# dumping to a file
with open(file_path, 'w') as json_file:
    for item in data:
        json.dump(item, json_file)
        json_file.write('\n')

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2016-03-29
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