YSON is a JSON-like data format developed at Yandex.

  • Similarities with JSON:
    • Does not have a strict scheme.
    • Besides simple data types, it supports dictionaries and lists in arbitrary combinations.
  • Some differences from JSON:
    • It also has a binary representation in addition to the text representation.
    • The text representation uses semicolons instead of commas and equal signs instead of colons.
  • The concept of "attributes" is supported, that is, named properties that can be assigned to a node in the tree.

Implementation specifics and functionality of the module:

  • Along with YSON, this module also supports standard JSON to expand the application scope in a way.
  • It works with a DOM representation of YSON in memory that in YQL terms is passed between functions as a "resource" (see the description of special data types). Most of the module's functions have the semantics of a query to perform a specified operation with a resource and return an empty optional type if the operation failed because the actual data type mismatched the expected one.
  • Provides several main classes of functions (find below a complete list and detailed description of functions):
    • Yson::Parse***: Getting a resource with a DOM object from serialized data, with all further operations performed on the obtained resource.
    • Yson::From: Getting a resource with a DOM object from simple YQL data types or containers (lists or dictionaries).
    • Yson::ConvertTo***: Converting a resource to primitive data types or containers.
    • Yson::Lookup***: Getting a single list item or a dictionary with optional conversion to the relevant data type.
    • Yson::YPath***: Getting one element from the document tree based on the relative path specified, optionally converting it to the relevant data type.
    • Yson::Serialize***: Getting a copy of data from the resource and serializing the data in one of the formats.
  • For convenience, when serialized Yson and Json are passed to functions expecting a resource with a DOM object, implicit conversion using Yson::Parse or Yson::ParseJson is done automatically. In SQL syntax, the dot or square brackets operator automatically adds a Yson::Lookup call. To serialize a resource, you still need to call Yson::ConvertTo*** or Yson::Serialize***. It means that, for example, to get the "foo" element as a string from the Yson column named mycolumn and serialized as a dictionary, you can write: SELECT Yson::ConvertToString(mycolumn["foo"]) FROM mytable; or SELECT Yson::ConvertToString(mycolumn.foo) FROM mytable;. In the variant with a dot, special characters can be escaped by general rules for IDs.

The module's functions must be considered as "building blocks" from which you can assemble different structures, for example:

  • Yson::Parse*** -> Yson::Serialize***: Converting from one format to other.
  • Yson::Parse*** -> Yson::Lookup -> Yson::Serialize***: Extracting the value of the specified subtree in the source YSON tree.
  • Yson::Parse*** -> Yson::ConvertToList -> ListMap -> Yson::Lookup***: Extracting items by a key from the YSON list.


$node = Json(@@
  {"abc": {"def": 123, "ghi": "hello"}}
SELECT Yson::SerializeText($node.abc) AS `yson`;
-- {"def"=123;"ghi"="\xD0\xBF\xD1\x80\xD0\xB8\xD0\xB2\xD0\xB5\xD1\x82"}
$node = Yson(@@
    {abc=123; def=456};
    {abc=234; xyz=789};
$attrs = Yson::YPath($node, "/@");

  ListMap(Yson::ConvertToList($node), ($x) -> { return Yson::LookupInt64($x, "abc") }) AS abcs,
  Yson::ConvertToStringDict($attrs) AS attrs,
  Yson::SerializePretty(Yson::Lookup($node, "7", Yson::Options(false AS Strict))) AS miss;

- abcs: `[123; 234]`
- attrs: `{"a"="z";"x"="y"}`
- miss: `NULL`


Yson::Parse(Yson{Flags:AutoMap}) -> Resource<'Yson2.Node'>
Yson::ParseJson(Json{Flags:AutoMap}) -> Resource<'Yson2.Node'>
Yson::ParseJsonDecodeUtf8(Json{Flags:AutoMap}) -> Resource<'Yson2.Node'>

Yson::Parse(String{Flags:AutoMap}) -> Resource<'Yson2.Node'>? -- accepts YSON in any format
Yson::ParseJson(String{Flags:AutoMap}) -> Resource<'Yson2.Node'>?
Yson::ParseJsonDecodeUtf8(String{Flags:AutoMap}) -> Resource<'Yson2.Node'>?

The result of all three functions is non-serializable: it can only be passed as the input to other function from the Yson library. However, you can't save it to a table or return to the client as a result of the operation: such an attempt results in a typing error. You also can't return it outside subqueries: if you need to do this, call Yson::Serialize, and the optimizer will remove unnecessary serialization and deserialization if materialization isn't needed in the end.


The Yson::ParseJsonDecodeUtf8 expects that characters outside the ASCII range must be additionally escaped.


Yson::From(T) -> Resource<'Yson2.Node'>

Yson::From is a polymorphic function that converts most primitive data types and containers (lists, dictionaries, tuples, structures, and so on) into a Yson resource. The source object type must be Yson-compatible. For example, in dictionary keys, you can only use the String or Utf8 data types, but not String? or Utf8? .


SELECT Yson::Serialize(Yson::From(TableRow())) FROM table1;


Yson::WithAttributes(Resource<'Yson2.Node'>{Flags:AutoMap}, Resource<'Yson2.Node'>{Flags:AutoMap}) -> Resource<'Yson2.Node'>?

Adds attributes (the second argument) to the Yson node (the first argument). The attributes must constitute a map node.


Yson::Equals(Resource<'Yson2.Node'>{Flags:AutoMap}, Resource<'Yson2.Node'>{Flags:AutoMap}) -> Bool

Checking trees in memory for equality. The operation is tolerant to the source serialization format and the order of keys in dictionaries.


Yson::GetHash(Resource<'Yson2.Node'>{Flags:AutoMap}) -> Uint64

Calculating a 64-bit hash from an object tree.


Yson::IsEntity(Resource<'Yson2.Node'>{Flags:AutoMap}) -> bool
Yson::IsString(Resource<'Yson2.Node'>{Flags:AutoMap}) -> bool
Yson::IsDouble(Resource<'Yson2.Node'>{Flags:AutoMap}) -> bool
Yson::IsUint64(Resource<'Yson2.Node'>{Flags:AutoMap}) -> bool
Yson::IsInt64(Resource<'Yson2.Node'>{Flags:AutoMap}) -> bool
Yson::IsBool(Resource<'Yson2.Node'>{Flags:AutoMap}) -> bool
Yson::IsList(Resource<'Yson2.Node'>{Flags:AutoMap}) -> bool
Yson::IsDict(Resource<'Yson2.Node'>{Flags:AutoMap}) -> bool

Checking that the current node has the appropriate type. The Entity is #.


Yson::GetLength(Resource<'Yson2.Node'>{Flags:AutoMap}) -> Uint64?

Getting the number of elements in a list or dictionary.


Yson::ConvertTo(Resource<'Yson2.Node'>{Flags:AutoMap}, Type<T>) -> T
Yson::ConvertToBool(Resource<'Yson2.Node'>{Flags:AutoMap}) -> Bool?
Yson::ConvertToInt64(Resource<'Yson2.Node'>{Flags:AutoMap}) -> Int64?
Yson::ConvertToUint64(Resource<'Yson2.Node'>{Flags:AutoMap}) -> Uint64?
Yson::ConvertToDouble(Resource<'Yson2.Node'>{Flags:AutoMap}) -> Double?
Yson::ConvertToString(Resource<'Yson2.Node'>{Flags:AutoMap}) -> String?
Yson::ConvertToList(Resource<'Yson2.Node'>{Flags:AutoMap}) -> List<Resource<'Yson2.Node'>>
Yson::ConvertToBoolList(Resource<'Yson2.Node'>{Flags:AutoMap}) -> List<Bool>
Yson::ConvertToInt64List(Resource<'Yson2.Node'>{Flags:AutoMap}) -> List<Int64>
Yson::ConvertToUint64List(Resource<'Yson2.Node'>{Flags:AutoMap}) -> List<Uint64>
Yson::ConvertToDoubleList(Resource<'Yson2.Node'>{Flags:AutoMap}) -> List<Double>
Yson::ConvertToStringList(Resource<'Yson2.Node'>{Flags:AutoMap}) -> List<String>
Yson::ConvertToDict(Resource<'Yson2.Node'>{Flags:AutoMap}) -> Dict<String,Resource<'Yson2.Node'>>
Yson::ConvertToBoolDict(Resource<'Yson2.Node'>{Flags:AutoMap}) -> Dict<String,Bool>
Yson::ConvertToInt64Dict(Resource<'Yson2.Node'>{Flags:AutoMap}) -> Dict<String,Int64>
Yson::ConvertToUint64Dict(Resource<'Yson2.Node'>{Flags:AutoMap}) -> Dict<String,Uint64>
Yson::ConvertToDoubleDict(Resource<'Yson2.Node'>{Flags:AutoMap}) -> Dict<String,Double>
Yson::ConvertToStringDict(Resource<'Yson2.Node'>{Flags:AutoMap}) -> Dict<String,String>


These functions do not do implicit type casting by default, that is, the value in the argument must exactly match the function called.

Yson::ConvertTo is a polymorphic function that converts the data type that is specified in the second argument and supports containers (lists, dictionaries, tuples, structures, and so on) into a Yson resource.


$data = Yson(@@{
    "name" = "Anya";
    "age" = 15u;
    "params" = {
        "ip" = "";
        "last_time_on_site" = 0.5;
        "region" = 213;
        "user_agent" = "Mozilla/5.0"
SELECT Yson::ConvertTo($data, 
        name: String,
        age: Uint32,
        params: Dict<String,Yson>


Yson::Contains(Resource<'Yson2.Node'>{Flags:AutoMap}, String) -> Bool?

Checks for a key in the dictionary. If the object type is a map, then it searches among the keys.
If the object type is a list, then the key must be a decimal number, i.e., an index in the list.


Yson::Lookup(Resource<'Yson2.Node'>{Flags:AutoMap}, String) -> Resource<'Yson2.Node'>?
Yson::LookupBool(Resource<'Yson2.Node'>{Flags:AutoMap}, String) -> Bool?
Yson::LookupInt64(Resource<'Yson2.Node'>{Flags:AutoMap}, String) -> Int64?
Yson::LookupUint64(Resource<'Yson2.Node'>{Flags:AutoMap}, String) -> Uint64?
Yson::LookupDouble(Resource<'Yson2.Node'>{Flags:AutoMap}, String) -> Double?
Yson::LookupString(Resource<'Yson2.Node'>{Flags:AutoMap}, String) -> String?
Yson::LookupDict(Resource<'Yson2.Node'>{Flags:AutoMap}, String) -> Dict<String,Resource<'Yson2.Node'>>?
Yson::LookupList(Resource<'Yson2.Node'>{Flags:AutoMap}, String) -> List<Resource<'Yson2.Node'>>?

The above functions are short notations for a typical use case: Yson::YPath: go to a level in the dictionary and then extract the value — Yson::ConvertTo***. For all the listed functions, the second argument is a key name from the dictionary (unlike YPath, it has no /prefix) or an index from the list (for example, 7). They simplify the query and produce a small gain in speed.


Yson::YPath(Resource<'Yson2.Node'>{Flags:AutoMap}, String) -> Resource<'Yson2.Node'>?
Yson::YPathBool(Resource<'Yson2.Node'>{Flags:AutoMap}, String) -> Bool?
Yson::YPathInt64(Resource<'Yson2.Node'>{Flags:AutoMap}, String) -> Int64?
Yson::YPathUint64(Resource<'Yson2.Node'>{Flags:AutoMap}, String) -> Uint64?
Yson::YPathDouble(Resource<'Yson2.Node'>{Flags:AutoMap}, String) -> Double?
Yson::YPathString(Resource<'Yson2.Node'>{Flags:AutoMap}, String) -> String?
Yson::YPathDict(Resource<'Yson2.Node'>{Flags:AutoMap}, String) -> Dict<String,Resource<'Yson2.Node'>>?
Yson::YPathList(Resource<'Yson2.Node'>{Flags:AutoMap}, String) -> List<Resource<'Yson2.Node'>>?

Lets you get a part of the resource based on the source resource and the part's path in YPath format.


Yson::Attributes(Resource<'Yson2.Node'>{Flags:AutoMap}) -> Dict<String,Resource<'Yson2.Node'>>

Getting all node attributes as a dictionary.


Yson::Serialize(Resource<'Yson2.Node'>{Flags:AutoMap}) -> Yson -- A binary representation
Yson::SerializeText(Resource<'Yson2.Node'>{Flags:AutoMap}) -> Yson
Yson::SerializePretty(Resource<'Yson2.Node'>{Flags:AutoMap}) -> Yson -- To get a text result, wrap it in ToBytes(...)


Yson::SerializeJson(Resource<'Yson2.Node'>{Flags:AutoMap}, [Resource<'Yson2.Options'>?, SkipMapEntity:Bool?, EncodeUtf8:Bool?]) -> Json?
  • SkipMapEntity serializes # values in dictionaries. The value of attributes is not affected by the flag. By default, false.
  • EncodeUtf8 responsible for escaping non-ASCII characters. By default, false.

The Yson and Json data types returned by serialization functions are special cases of a string that is known to contain data in the given format (Yson/Json).


Yson::Options([AutoConvert:Bool?, Strict:Bool?]) -> Resource<'Yson2.Options'>

It's passed in the last optional argument (omitted for brevity) to the methods Parse..., ConvertTo..., Contains, Lookup..., and YPath... that accept the result of the Yson::Options call. By default, all the Yson::Options fields are false and when enabled (true), they modify the behavior as follows:

  • AutoConvert: If the value passed to Yson doesn't match the result data type exactly, the value is converted where possible. For example, Yson::ConvertToInt64 in this mode will convert even Double numbers to Int64.
  • Strict: By default, all functions from the Yson library return an error in case of issues during query execution (for example, an attempt to parse a string that is not Yson/Json, or an attempt to search by a key in a scalar type, or when a conversion to an incompatible data type has been requested, and so on). If you disable the strict mode, NULL is returned instead of an error in most cases. When converting to a dictionary or list (ConvertTo<Type>Dict or ConvertTo<Type>List), improper items are excluded from the resulting collection.


$yson = @@{y = true; x = 5.5}@@y;
SELECT Yson::LookupBool($yson, "z"); --- null
SELECT Yson::LookupBool($yson, "y"); --- true

SELECT Yson::LookupInt64($yson, "x"); --- Error
SELECT Yson::LookupInt64($yson, "x", Yson::Options(false as Strict)); --- null
SELECT Yson::LookupInt64($yson, "x", Yson::Options(true as AutoConvert)); --- 5

SELECT Yson::ConvertToBoolDict($yson); --- Error
SELECT Yson::ConvertToBoolDict($yson, Yson::Options(false as Strict)); --- { "y": true }
SELECT Yson::ConvertToDoubleDict($yson, Yson::Options(false as Strict)); --- { "x": 5.5 }

If you need to use the same Yson library settings throughout the query, it's more convenient to use PRAGMA yson.AutoConvert; and/or PRAGMA yson.Strict;. Only with these PRAGMA you can affect implicit calls to the Yson library occurring when you work with Yson/Json data types.