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Displaying JSON in psql

12 May 2016

Over the last few releases, PostgreSQL has developed awesome JSON functionality inside the database. That said, every once in a while you want to simply display that JSON in psql for easy viewing, working out a query, copying it to your buffer, etc. In 9.5 jsonb_pretty was included to solve this need.

Here is a real quick tip for how use it in psql:

-- first turn on tuples only
\t

-- then set to unaligned
\a

-- then use jsonb_pretty (for example)

select jsonb_pretty('[{"f1":1,"f2":null},2,null,3]');
[
   {
       "f1": 1,
       "f2": null
   },
   2,
   null,
   3
]

This gives nice readable output. Before this one would have had to use say, python to display the output nicely. This function is new in PostgreSQL 9.5, native, included, and much more simplistic.