Streaming output of an indented JSON array

For paginate-json I wanted to implement streaming output of an indented JSON array to my terminal.

The final output should look like this:

    "id": 1,
    "name": "One"
    "id": 2,
    "name": "two"

But I needed this to work for an arbitrarily long sequence of objects, where objects were displayed as the program continued to execute and the indentation and placement of commas was correct despite me not knowing the full length of the final array.

Here's the pattern I came up with:

first = True
for item, last in enumerate_last(iterator()):
    if first:
        first = False
            json.dumps(item, indent=2).rstrip() + ("" if last else ","),
            "  "

Here's how this works:

Originally I outputted the first [ before I stared the main loop. But then I realized that if the iterator() function raised an exception I would output that lone [ before showing the error message, so I moved it into the loop and protected it with an if first instead.

The trickiest part was looping through the objects while keeping track of whether or not each item was the last item. I didn't want to have to load everything into memory first in order to do this.

I got GPT-4 Code Interpreter (now named Advanced Data Analysis, but I don't like that name much) to write and test this function for me:

def enumerate_last(iterable):
    it = iter(iterable)
        last = next(it)
    except StopIteration:
    while True:
            current = next(it)
            yield last, False
            last = current
        except StopIteration:
            yield last, True

This works by creating a new iterator and then advancing it once to fetch the first item from it.

The function then loops, each time fetching the next item and returning the previous one plus a boolean indication of if the next one exists or not.

When it runs out of items, it returns the last one and a True to indicate that it has reached the end.

Update: I published this post and my related entries feature instantly spotted that it's a slightly different solution to the exact same problem that I solved a year and a half ago for s3-credentials!

Created 2023-08-29T20:25:42-07:00, updated 2023-08-29T20:38:40-07:00 · History · Edit