user9645 user9645 - 5 months ago 41
JSON Question

How do I modify fields inside the new PostgreSQL JSON datatype?

With postgresql 9.3 I can SELECT specific fields of a JSON data type, but how do you modify them using UPDATE? I can't find any examples of this in the postgresql documentation, or anywhere online. I have tried the obvious:

postgres=# create table test (data json);
CREATE TABLE
postgres=# insert into test (data) values ('{"a":1,"b":2}');
INSERT 0 1
postgres=# select data->'a' from test where data->>'b' = '2';
?column?
----------
1
(1 row)
postgres=# update test set data->'a' = to_json(5) where data->>'b' = '2';
ERROR: syntax error at or near "->"
LINE 1: update test set data->'a' = to_json(5) where data->>'b' = '2...

Answer

Update: With PostgreSQL 9.5, there are some jsonb manipulation functionality within PostgreSQL itself (but none for json; casts are required to manipulate json values).

Merging 2 (or more) JSON objects (or concatenating arrays):

SELECT jsonb '{"a":1}' || jsonb '{"b":2}', -- will yield jsonb '{"a":1,"b":2}'
       jsonb '["a",1]' || jsonb '["b",2]'  -- will yield jsonb '["a",1,"b",2]'

So, setting a simple key can be done using:

SELECT jsonb '{"a":1}' || jsonb_build_object('<key>', '<value>')

Where <key> should be string, and <value> can be whatever type to_jsonb() accepts.

For setting a value deep in a JSON hierarchy, the
jsonb_set(target jsonb, path text[], new_value jsonb, create_missing boolean default true) function can be used:

SELECT jsonb_set('{"a":[null,{"b":[]}]}', '{a,1,b,0}', jsonb '{"c":3}')
-- will yield jsonb '{"a":[null,{"b":[{"c":3}]}]}'

Deleting a key (or an index) from a JSON object (or, from an array) can be done with the - operator:

SELECT jsonb '{"a":1,"b":2}' - 'a', -- will yield jsonb '{"b":2}'
       jsonb '["a",1,"b",2]' - 1    -- will yield jsonb '["a","b",2]'

Deleting, from deep in a JSON hierarchy can be done with the #- operator:

SELECT '{"a":[null,{"b":[3.14]}]}' #- '{a,1,b,0}'
-- will yield jsonb '{"a":[null,{"b":[]}]}'

Original answer: It is possible (without plpython or plv8) in pure SQL too (but needs 9.3+, will not work with 9.2)

CREATE OR REPLACE FUNCTION "json_object_set_key"(
  "json"          json,
  "key_to_set"    TEXT,
  "value_to_set"  anyelement
)
  RETURNS json
  LANGUAGE sql
  IMMUTABLE
  STRICT
AS $function$
SELECT concat('{', string_agg(to_json("key") || ':' || "value", ','), '}')::json
  FROM (SELECT *
          FROM json_each("json")
         WHERE "key" <> "key_to_set"
         UNION ALL
        SELECT "key_to_set", to_json("value_to_set")) AS "fields"
$function$;

SQLFiddle

Edit:

A version, which sets multiple keys & values:

CREATE OR REPLACE FUNCTION "json_object_set_keys"(
  "json"          json,
  "keys_to_set"   TEXT[],
  "values_to_set" anyarray
)
  RETURNS json
  LANGUAGE sql
  IMMUTABLE
  STRICT
AS $function$
SELECT concat('{', string_agg(to_json("key") || ':' || "value", ','), '}')::json
  FROM (SELECT *
          FROM json_each("json")
         WHERE "key" <> ALL ("keys_to_set")
         UNION ALL
        SELECT DISTINCT ON ("keys_to_set"["index"])
               "keys_to_set"["index"],
               CASE
                 WHEN "values_to_set"["index"] IS NULL THEN 'null'::json
                 ELSE to_json("values_to_set"["index"])
               END
          FROM generate_subscripts("keys_to_set", 1) AS "keys"("index")
          JOIN generate_subscripts("values_to_set", 1) AS "values"("index")
         USING ("index")) AS "fields"
$function$;

Edit 2: as @ErwinBrandstetter noted these functions above works like a so-called UPSERT (updates a field if it exists, inserts if it does not exist). Here is a variant, which only UPDATE:

CREATE OR REPLACE FUNCTION "json_object_update_key"(
  "json"          json,
  "key_to_set"    TEXT,
  "value_to_set"  anyelement
)
  RETURNS json
  LANGUAGE sql
  IMMUTABLE
  STRICT
AS $function$
SELECT CASE
  WHEN ("json" -> "key_to_set") IS NULL THEN "json"
  ELSE (SELECT concat('{', string_agg(to_json("key") || ':' || "value", ','), '}')
          FROM (SELECT *
                  FROM json_each("json")
                 WHERE "key" <> "key_to_set"
                 UNION ALL
                SELECT "key_to_set", to_json("value_to_set")) AS "fields")::json
END
$function$;

Edit 3: Here is recursive variant, which can set (UPSERT) a leaf value (and uses the first function from this answer), located at a key-path (where keys can only refer to inner objects, inner arrays not supported):

CREATE OR REPLACE FUNCTION "json_object_set_path"(
  "json"          json,
  "key_path"      TEXT[],
  "value_to_set"  anyelement
)
  RETURNS json
  LANGUAGE sql
  IMMUTABLE
  STRICT
AS $function$
SELECT CASE COALESCE(array_length("key_path", 1), 0)
         WHEN 0 THEN to_json("value_to_set")
         WHEN 1 THEN "json_object_set_key"("json", "key_path"[l], "value_to_set")
         ELSE "json_object_set_key"(
           "json",
           "key_path"[l],
           "json_object_set_path"(
             COALESCE(NULLIF(("json" -> "key_path"[l])::text, 'null'), '{}')::json,
             "key_path"[l+1:u],
             "value_to_set"
           )
         )
       END
  FROM array_lower("key_path", 1) l,
       array_upper("key_path", 1) u
$function$;

Update: functions are compacted now.

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