My go-to tool for reading long JSON snippets

JSON is ubiquitous and I often run into it whilst developing or debugging.

When it’s in raw form like this …

screenshot: json as raw text

it’s hard for a human to interpret.

For small snippets, I could copy-and-paste it into a text file and hand-prettify it. For long snippets, that’s obviously not scalable.

I stumbled upon a very useful tool for interpreting and analysing (extremely) long JSON snippets. The surprising thing is that it’s been around for a long time and I just never noticed. However, once I knew about it, I kept using it, and it’s now my go-to tool for analysing long JSON snippets.

The tool?

Mozilla Firefox.

Yes, the web browser. (It also helps that Firefox is my main browser.)

Here is a link to a random JSON file from the internet:

If you click on the link with Firefox you get something human-unfriendly:

screenshot: json as raw text

However, if you open a file with a .json extension on your local computer , you get …

screenshot: json in firefox json browser

… which is a nice and useful and human-friendly json browser with collapsible sections, pretty printing and filtering.

(I think Firefox shows the json browser when the mimetype is set to json, and opening a local file with a .json extension is an easy way to set the mimetype.)

I stumbled upon this by chance. But since then, everytime I have a long JSON snippet to debug, I save it to a text file, give it a .json extension and open it with Firefox.

* * *

Okay, so installing Firefox just to browse JSON is probably overkill, but this is great for me since I already use it.

I’m glad Firefox is my main browser.