Home Applications Cogs JSON Class

Cogs JSON Class

This application is not supported by InterSystems Corporation. Please be notified that you use it at your own risk.
2 reviews
IPM installs
Pull requests
Convert JSON to and from Caché classes

What's new in this version

Latest Release

Cogs JSON Library


Cogs is a small JSON library that runs on Intersystems Caché, Ensemble and HealthShare.

The Cogs library currently provides functionality to serialise and deserialise JSON to and from registered and persistent Caché classes.


Extend any class with Cogs.JsonClass

Class Example.Person Extends (%Persistent, Cogs.JsonClass)

Property FirstName As %String;
Property LastName As %String;
Property DateOfBirth As %Date(JSONNAME="BirthDate");
Property Secret As %String(JSONIGNORE=1);
Property Hobbies As list Of %String;


take some JSON


parse and save it

set person=##class(Example.Person).parseJSON(json)
set sc=person.%Save()

now open the persistent object and call its toJSON() method…

set person=##class(Example.Person).%OpenId(1)
write !,person.toJSON()

and its as easy as that…



To provide a one step serialiser and deserialiser of registered and persistent classes that works across all mainstream versions of Caché and Ensemble.


Clone or download the project from GutHub.

The build folder contains the most recent build file as a single import.

You will need to compile the project twice to resolve initial compiler sequence errors

Import the file directly into the namespace that you want to use it from, or import it into a central namespace and map the Cogs package to the required namespace(s).


Core unit tests are included in the test folder. These can be executed in standalone by running the following command. The library has been tested in modern versions of Caché and the end developer should be responsible for checking the unit tests work in their target version.

do ##class(Cogs.Lib.Json.Tests.Runner).RunAll()

Release Notes

  • 1.0.0 First Release
  • 1.0.1 Improve detection of recursive object references
  • 1.0.2 Improve JSON escape performance on newer instances of Caché, now 7 times faster + Fixed CR & LF escaping.
  • 1.0.3 JSON serialisation failed for a nested object where the last property was a list - Fixed. Opened up boolean deserialisation to accept 1 and 0 for boolean property types (was just true and false). Improved handling of whitespace before certain value types. Improved %Timestamp handling. Increased unit tests.
  • 1.0.4 Included support for escaping control characters from ASCII 0 to ASCII 31
  • 1.0.5 Updated Unit Tests to run standalone



Cogs.JsonClass enables serialisation and derserialisation of JSON to and from registered and persistent Cache classes.

Simple Example

To use the Cogs.JsonClass, take any existing registered or persistent class and extend it with Cogs.JsonClass.

Class Example.Person Extends (%Persistent, Cogs.JsonClass)
Property FirstName As %String;
Property LastName As %String;
Property DateOfBirth As %Date(JSONNAME = "BirthDate");
Property Secret As %String(JSONIGNORE = 1);
Property Hobbies As list Of %String;

The person class now inherits three methods, toJSON() , outputJSON() and parseJSON().

We can open an object instance of person and output its JSON serialisation using its toJSON() method.

set person=##class(Example.Person).%OpenId(1)
write !,person.toJSON()

Or create a new instance of person from a JSON string using its parseJSON() class method.

set person=##class(Example.Person).parseJSON(json)
set sc=person.%Save()

Note: If you are sending JSON as an HTTP response then it will be more efficient to use the outputJSON() method which will output directly to the open device

Automatic Type Conversions

The JSON specification (http://www.json.org/) defines a number of types that include object, array, string, number, true, false and null.

The JsonClass will automatically convert these types to and from internal types within Caché.

In addition, JsonClass also converts properties that are of type Time, Date and TimeStamp. These dates and times must be in W3C format.

  • YYYY-MM-DDThh:mm:ss
  • hh:mm:ss


Numbers (Float, Integer, Numeric, Currency) are automatically converted to and from JSON numbers. Except for numbers that have preceding zero (e.g. 0123), in this instance they are serialised as strings.

Properties that are of type boolean will auto convert true to 1 and false to 0 and visa versa.

The null type will be lost in translation for all property types except for string, where it will be converted to $c(0).

Object Properties

Properties that are an object must implement a class that also extends Cogs.JsonClass.

A serialisation or deserialation of the parent class will cascade down through its child class, its childs children and so on.

Caché Arrays Type

Caché type arrays contain key value pairs and will be projected to JSON as if it was an object.

      "ALPHA": "Hello",
      "BRAVO": "Sheds",
      "CHARLIE": "World",
      "DELTA": "Foo",
      "ECHO": "Bar"

In reverse a JSON child object could be mapped to a concrete child class, or projected as an array. If the object is likely to grow or change then this might be a good generic option to use.

Caché Lists Type

Caché lists type contains a list of values, these are projected as an array of values in JSON.


Arrays of Arrays

Arrays of Arrays are a valid JSON construct but can not have a logical mapping into a class structure.

Storing Raw JSON

A property can contain raw JSON by using the special type Cogs.Lib.Types.Json

The Cogs.Lib.Types.Json type is essentially a string type with its own JSON parser method. The method will strip out the JSON property as a raw string and will assign it as a string to the object property. This will include all descendants of the JSON property.

Property SchemaFreeData As Cogs.Lib.Types.Json;

Overiding JSON property names

The name provided for a JSON property will be exactly the same name of its target property name.

This can be overriden using the JSONNAME attribute. Apply this attribute to any property and its string value will be used for both serialisation and deserialsation of the JSON.

Property DateOfBirth As %Date(JSONNAME = "BirthDate");

Keeping properties a secret

When serialising a class there might be one or more properties that should not be projected to the consumer.

Simply add a JSONIGNORE=1 attribute to the property and the property value will be kept a secret.

Property Secret As %String(JSONIGNORE = 1);

Overriding the value of a property

Any property value can be overridden using the JSONMETHOD attribute.

Property ZTestJsonMethod As %String(JSONMETHOD = "..ToUpper(..TestLongString)");

The value of JSONMETHOD should be valid COS code that can be a call to a method or function passing in one or more of the objects property values.

Note that this only applies to serialised values.


The core Cogs library is released under the MIT license. See the included license agreement for more details.

Copyright (c) 2019 MemCog Ltd

1.0.517 Jul, 2019
Works with
First published
17 Jul, 2019