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JSURL is an alternative to JSON + URL encoding (or JSON + base64 encoding). It makes it handy to pass complex values via URL query parameters.

JSURL has been designed to be:

  • Compact: its output is much more compact than JSON + URL encoding (except in pathological cases). It is even often slightly more compact than regular JSON!
  • Readable: its output is much more readable than JSON + URL encoding.
  • Foolproof: its output only contains characters that are unaffected by URL encoding/decoding. There is no risk of missing a URL encoding/decoding pass, or of messing up a JSURL string by applying an extra URL encoding or decoding pass.
  • Easy to generate and parse


Think of it as JSON with the following changes:

  • Curly braces ({ and }) replaced by parentheses (( and ))
  • Square brackets ([ and ]) replaced by (~ and )
  • Property names unquoted (but escaped -- see below).
  • String values prefixed by a single quote (') and escaped
  • All other JSON punctuation (colon : and comma ,) replaced by tildes (~)
  • An extra tilde (~) at the very beginning.

Property names and string values are escaped as follows:

  • Letters, digits, underscore (_), hyphen (-) and dot (.) are preserved.
  • Dollar sign ($) is replaced by exclamation mark (!)
  • Other characters with UNICODE value <= 0xff are encoded as *XX
  • Characters with UNICODE value > 0xff are encoded as **XXXX



{"name":"John Doe","age":42,"children":["Mary","Bill"]}

JSON + URL encoding:





var JSURL = require("jsurl");
str = JSURL.stringify(obj);
obj = JSURL.parse(str);
// return def instead of throwing on error 
obj = JSURL.tryParse(str[, def]);


The easiest way to install jsurl is with NPM:

npm install jsurl


This work is licensed under the MIT license.