JSON is very light weight, structured, easy to parse and much human readable. JSON is best alternative to XML when your android app needs to interchange data with your server. If your app consuming XML data, you can always refer to Android XML Parsing Tutorial.

In this tutorial we are going to learn how to parse JSON in android using different ways, using java.net library and other third part libraries.

The Sample JSON

Following is the sample JSON that we are going to parse in this tutorial. This is very simple JSON which gives us list of contacts where each node contains contact information like name, email, address, gender and phone numbers.

You can get this JSON data by accessing https://api.androidhive.info/contacts/

{
    "contacts": [
        {
                "id": "c200",
                "name": "Ravi Tamada",
                "email": "ravi@gmail.com",
                "address": "xx-xx-xxxx,x - street, x - country",
                "gender" : "male",
                "phone": {
                    "mobile": "+91 0000000000",
                    "home": "00 000000",
                    "office": "00 000000"
                }
        },
        {
                "id": "c201",
                "name": "Johnny Depp",
                "email": "johnny_depp@gmail.com",
                "address": "xx-xx-xxxx,x - street, x - country",
                "gender" : "male",
                "phone": {
                    "mobile": "+91 0000000000",
                    "home": "00 000000",
                    "office": "00 000000"
                }
        },
        .
        .
        .
        .
  ]
}

The difference between [ and { – (Square brackets and Curly brackets)

In general all the JSON nodes will start with a square bracket or with a curly bracket. The difference between [ and { is, the square bracket ([) represents starting of an JSONArray node whereas curly bracket ({) represents JSONObject. So while accessing these nodes we need to call appropriate method to access the data.

If your JSON node starts with [, then we should use getJSONArray() method. Same as if the node starts with {, then we should use getJSONObject() method.

json parsing structor

1. Creating New Project

So let’s start by creating a new android project. We’ll build a simple app which fetches the json from url, parses it and displays the contacts in a list view. Here we’ll use import java.net libraries (which are natively supported in android) to make the http call and fetch the json from url.

1. Create a new project in Android Studio from File ⇒ New Project and fill out the required details.

2. As we are fetching the JSON by making HTTP calls, we need to add INTERNET permission in AndroidManifest.xml file. Open AndroidManifest.xml and add the following permission.

<uses-permission android:name="android.permission.INTERNET" />
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<manifest xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
    package="info.androidhive.jsonparsing" >

    <uses-permission android:name="android.permission.INTERNET"/>

    <application
        android:allowBackup="true"
        android:icon="@mipmap/ic_launcher"
        android:label="@string/app_name"
        android:supportsRtl="true"
        android:theme="@style/AppTheme" >
        <activity android:name=".MainActivity" >
            <intent-filter>
                <action android:name="android.intent.action.MAIN" />

                <category android:name="android.intent.category.LAUNCHER" />
            </intent-filter>
        </activity>
    </application>

</manifest>

3. Create a class named HttpHandler.java and use the below code. Here makeServiceCall() makes http call to particular url and fetches the response. In our case, we use this to get the raw json from the url.

package info.androidhive.jsonparsing;

import android.util.Log;

import java.io.BufferedInputStream;
import java.io.BufferedReader;
import java.io.IOException;
import java.io.InputStream;
import java.io.InputStreamReader;
import java.net.HttpURLConnection;
import java.net.MalformedURLException;
import java.net.ProtocolException;
import java.net.URL;

/**
 * Created by Ravi Tamada on 01/09/16.
 * www.androidhive.info
 */
public class HttpHandler {

    private static final String TAG = HttpHandler.class.getSimpleName();

    public HttpHandler() {
    }

    public String makeServiceCall(String reqUrl) {
        String response = null;
        try {
            URL url = new URL(reqUrl);
            HttpURLConnection conn = (HttpURLConnection) url.openConnection();
            conn.setRequestMethod("GET");
            // read the response
            InputStream in = new BufferedInputStream(conn.getInputStream());
            response = convertStreamToString(in);
        } catch (MalformedURLException e) {
            Log.e(TAG, "MalformedURLException: " + e.getMessage());
        } catch (ProtocolException e) {
            Log.e(TAG, "ProtocolException: " + e.getMessage());
        } catch (IOException e) {
            Log.e(TAG, "IOException: " + e.getMessage());
        } catch (Exception e) {
            Log.e(TAG, "Exception: " + e.getMessage());
        }
        return response;
    }

    private String convertStreamToString(InputStream is) {
        BufferedReader reader = new BufferedReader(new InputStreamReader(is));
        StringBuilder sb = new StringBuilder();

        String line;
        try {
            while ((line = reader.readLine()) != null) {
                sb.append(line).append('\n');
            }
        } catch (IOException e) {
            e.printStackTrace();
        } finally {
            try {
                is.close();
            } catch (IOException e) {
                e.printStackTrace();
            }
        }
        return sb.toString();
    }
}

4. Before making the http call, let’s add a list view first in our view. Open the layout file of main activity (activity_main.xml) and add a ListView element.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<RelativeLayout xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
    xmlns:tools="http://schemas.android.com/tools"
    android:layout_width="match_parent"
    android:layout_height="match_parent"
    tools:context="info.androidhive.jsonparsing.MainActivity">

    <ListView
        android:id="@+id/list"
        android:layout_width="fill_parent"
        android:layout_height="wrap_content" />
</RelativeLayout>

5. Create another layout file named list_item.xml with following content. This will be used to render single list item view.

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<LinearLayout xmlns:android="http://schemas.android.com/apk/res/android"
    android:layout_width="fill_parent"
    android:layout_height="wrap_content"
    android:orientation="vertical"
    android:padding="@dimen/activity_horizontal_margin">

    <TextView
        android:id="@+id/name"
        android:layout_width="fill_parent"
        android:layout_height="wrap_content"
        android:paddingBottom="2dip"
        android:paddingTop="6dip"
        android:textColor="@color/colorPrimaryDark"
        android:textSize="16sp"
        android:textStyle="bold" />

    <TextView
        android:id="@+id/email"
        android:layout_width="fill_parent"
        android:layout_height="wrap_content"
        android:paddingBottom="2dip"
        android:textColor="@color/colorAccent" />

    <TextView
        android:id="@+id/mobile"
        android:layout_width="wrap_content"
        android:layout_height="wrap_content"
        android:textColor="#5d5d5d"
        android:textStyle="bold" />
</LinearLayout>

6. Open MainActivity.java and declare the necessary variables for the list view. If you haven’t worked with list view yet, Android ListView Tutorial will helps you in getting started.

public class MainActivity extends AppCompatActivity {

    private String TAG = MainActivity.class.getSimpleName();

    private ProgressDialog pDialog;
    private ListView lv;

    // URL to get contacts JSON
    private static String url = "https://api.androidhive.info/contacts/";

    ArrayList<HashMap<String, String>> contactList;

    @Override
    protected void onCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState) {
        super.onCreate(savedInstanceState);
        setContentView(R.layout.activity_main);

        contactList = new ArrayList<>();

        lv = (ListView) findViewById(R.id.list);
    }
}

1.1 Downloading & Parsing the JSON

7. As we are getting the JSON by making HTTP call, I am adding a Async class GetContacts to make http calls on background thread. Add the following method in your main activity class.

In onPreExecute() method progress dialog is shown before making the http call.

In doInBackground() method, makeServiceCall() is called to get the json from url. Once the json is fetched, it is parsed and each contact is added to array list.

In onPostExecute() method the progress dialog is dismissed and the array list data is displayed in list view using an adapter.

Also note that I have used getJSONArray() or getJSONObject() method depending on the type of node.

package info.androidhive.jsonparsing;

import android.app.ProgressDialog;
import android.os.AsyncTask;
import android.os.Bundle;
import android.support.v7.app.AppCompatActivity;
import android.util.Log;
import android.widget.ListAdapter;
import android.widget.ListView;
import android.widget.SimpleAdapter;
import android.widget.Toast;

import org.json.JSONArray;
import org.json.JSONException;
import org.json.JSONObject;

import java.util.ArrayList;
import java.util.HashMap;

public class MainActivity extends AppCompatActivity {

    private String TAG = MainActivity.class.getSimpleName();

    private ProgressDialog pDialog;
    private ListView lv;

    // URL to get contacts JSON
    private static String url = "https://api.androidhive.info/contacts/";

    ArrayList<HashMap<String, String>> contactList;

    @Override
    protected void onCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState) {
        super.onCreate(savedInstanceState);
        setContentView(R.layout.activity_main);

        contactList = new ArrayList<>();

        lv = (ListView) findViewById(R.id.list);

        new GetContacts().execute();
    }

    /**
     * Async task class to get json by making HTTP call
     */
    private class GetContacts extends AsyncTask<Void, Void, Void> {

        @Override
        protected void onPreExecute() {
            super.onPreExecute();
            // Showing progress dialog
            pDialog = new ProgressDialog(MainActivity.this);
            pDialog.setMessage("Please wait...");
            pDialog.setCancelable(false);
            pDialog.show();

        }

        @Override
        protected Void doInBackground(Void... arg0) {
            HttpHandler sh = new HttpHandler();

            // Making a request to url and getting response
            String jsonStr = sh.makeServiceCall(url);

            Log.e(TAG, "Response from url: " + jsonStr);

            if (jsonStr != null) {
                try {
                    JSONObject jsonObj = new JSONObject(jsonStr);

                    // Getting JSON Array node
                    JSONArray contacts = jsonObj.getJSONArray("contacts");

                    // looping through All Contacts
                    for (int i = 0; i < contacts.length(); i++) {
                        JSONObject c = contacts.getJSONObject(i);

                        String id = c.getString("id");
                        String name = c.getString("name");
                        String email = c.getString("email");
                        String address = c.getString("address");
                        String gender = c.getString("gender");

                        // Phone node is JSON Object
                        JSONObject phone = c.getJSONObject("phone");
                        String mobile = phone.getString("mobile");
                        String home = phone.getString("home");
                        String office = phone.getString("office");

                        // tmp hash map for single contact
                        HashMap<String, String> contact = new HashMap<>();

                        // adding each child node to HashMap key => value
                        contact.put("id", id);
                        contact.put("name", name);
                        contact.put("email", email);
                        contact.put("mobile", mobile);

                        // adding contact to contact list
                        contactList.add(contact);
                    }
                } catch (final JSONException e) {
                    Log.e(TAG, "Json parsing error: " + e.getMessage());
                    runOnUiThread(new Runnable() {
                        @Override
                        public void run() {
                            Toast.makeText(getApplicationContext(),
                                    "Json parsing error: " + e.getMessage(),
                                    Toast.LENGTH_LONG)
                                    .show();
                        }
                    });

                }
            } else {
                Log.e(TAG, "Couldn't get json from server.");
                runOnUiThread(new Runnable() {
                    @Override
                    public void run() {
                        Toast.makeText(getApplicationContext(),
                                "Couldn't get json from server. Check LogCat for possible errors!",
                                Toast.LENGTH_LONG)
                                .show();
                    }
                });

            }

            return null;
        }

        @Override
        protected void onPostExecute(Void result) {
            super.onPostExecute(result);
            // Dismiss the progress dialog
            if (pDialog.isShowing())
                pDialog.dismiss();
            /**
             * Updating parsed JSON data into ListView
             * */
            ListAdapter adapter = new SimpleAdapter(
                    MainActivity.this, contactList,
                    R.layout.list_item, new String[]{"name", "email",
                    "mobile"}, new int[]{R.id.name,
                    R.id.email, R.id.mobile});

            lv.setAdapter(adapter);
        }

    }
}

If you run the project, you can see json data populated into list view as shown in the below image.

android json parsing tutorial

2. Json Parsing using Library

The above method is very easy for simpler json. If the json is very complex, it is better to consider the third party libraries as they are much faster and reliable. Below are the popular libraries used to parse the json.

2.1 Using Volley Library

Volley HTTP library provides easy way to make networks calls. In Android JSON parsing using Volley you can learn how to do that same in easy way using volley networking library which provides you lot of advantages like success/error callback methods and cache options.

2.2 Using Retrofit Library

Retrofit is much popular than volley. The parsing is done using jackson libraries in which you just have to create models for json nodes and the library automatically converts the json into appropriate objects. Go through Android Working with Retrofit HTTP Library which explains in detail about retrofit library.

Change Log

Updated On 27th Dec 2013 (Content Update, Bug fixes)
1st Sep 2016 (Content Update, Bug fixes, latest libraries)
Ravi is hardcore Android programmer and Android programming has been his passion since he compiled his first hello-world program. Solving real problems of Android developers through tutorials has always been interesting part for him.
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  • Mika Octo Frentzen

    where i can put JSON Post in this Project?

    • This is a beginner tutorial. Use Volley or Retrofit as mentioned at the bottom of the article.

  • Elena Smith

    How can you add a search functionality to this?

  • Ahmed El-Elaimy

    how can I parse Image not only text?

  • Aishwary

    it is showing an error as value of type java.lang.String can not be converted into JSON Object, when creating a JSON Object by passing the json string.

  • Kyle

    Nice guide! The url though needs to be changed to https as the site seams to auto-redirect from http

    • I think url is updated to https already. Did I forgot to update it somewhere else?

      • Luisho

        In the MainActivity.java the http’s’ is missing. Thanks for the tutorial!

        • Ok. Look into other advanced json parsing article mentioned at the bottom of the article.

  • Isma’il H.A. Ibn Thomas-Benge,

    Nice tutorial!
    If I wanted to fetuses in put to change the url, how would I do that?
    Example: if I wanted a editTextBox with a submit button: how could I make the user input into a variable and insert into the url string and return the Jason upon clicking the submit button using your code?

  • Kunal

    How we do this from the fragment?

  • Okay. The site is moved to https recently. I need to update all the articles.

  • jagan

    Hi ravi, i went through your tutorials.all are good, pretty useful… i went on developing an android app [native app] for existing web app. the existing app is related to particular organisation. i went on implementing web service, but i am getting null response from the url, even connection is successful. in othercase if i hit the url in browser getting response.

    could you please help me on this. also attached a file. Thanks

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/dea01c1db21769ee49fd220573ae0ecc38d96228b87d41e8cf4f9f6a3423ca5e.png

  • Remache Amine
    • Mehul Rana

      hey….how did u solve this… ??

      • This will happen when json is not proper. It might have php or other errors printed in the response. Check for server logs or use Postman to see the php errors.

  • AngeL RodrigueZ

    Hi super good explained !! I congratulate you!!!!
    Already only one question will you have an example through POST ?? As a Login …

  • akash

    when i run this program i get error saying JSON parsing error value cannot be converted into JSONObject. what to do

  • Basri Umar

    same as me, just view that image
    how to solve?

  • You need to buy a hosting and a web domain address. This article will give you some information.
    https://www.androidhive.info/2015/03/android-hosting-php-mysql-restful-services-to-digitalocean/

  • Emin

    Hello, good tutorial but i cant click listview or items of listview. I tried myListView.setOnItemClickListener(new AdapterView.OnItemClickListener(). Do you have any solution ?

  • Sanchi Bansal

    I want to be able to click on an options menu item to change JSON data in ListView accordingly.
    How do i do it?
    How do I refresh my listview?

  • Ashutosh Choudhary

    how to open an url, by passing it in json string, how to make it clickable in your above code.waiting for your response thanks https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/0e67dd4953fe398679c22214d55d2905549be877c73f1fcdd8add2966eca0c01.png

  • Amir

    hello

    How to Parse JSON Show Images in upper example?

  • Chaimaa Elfa

    hello sir,
    thank you for this helpfull tutorial its working for me,i have a question :
    my JSON data contains images ,how can i parse it into a listview (like the upper example )?
    thank you

  • Swayam Singh

    pls ravi sir tell me how to solve it.

    E/HttpHandler: IOException: Unable to resolve host “api.androidhive.info”: No address associated with hostnam

    E/MainActivity: Response from url: null

    E/MainActivity: Couldn’t get json from server.

    • Is the device having internet connection? Also have you added INTERNET permission in manifest file?

  • Can you post the error you are getting?

    • jay

      0)
      {
      // looping through all results
      // products node

      while ($row = mysql_fetch_array($result))
      {
      // temp user arrayId`, `Uname`, `Password`, `Aclocked`
      array_push($res,array(
      ‘id’ => $row[“Id”],
      ‘uname’ => $row[“Uname”],
      ‘pass’ => $row[“Password”],
      ‘ac’ => $row[“Aclocked”]));

      // push single product into final response array

      }

      // success

      // echoing JSON response
      echo json_encode($res);
      }

      ?>

      • Access the url in the browser. It has to echo proper json.

  • Chaimaa Elfa

    hi,
    i need some help plz
    i did the same thing mentionned in this tutorial ,now i want to display this information to another activity when one item from the listview is clicked
    how can i do it ?

  • Devesh Pandya

    i am getting at data of type org.json.JSONObject cannot be converted to JSONArray this error while passing my json. i have checked its a valid json format. can u plz help me out on this.

    i found the solutions for this but didnt got any proper solution.

  • Both json are different. Mine starts with an object, your’s is array. You need to parse accordingly.

  • Bindiya S

    hi, this code works fine..but it gives null for jsonstr if i use my own api url. application terminates at InputStream in = new BufferedInputStream(conn.getInputStream());
    It will not proceed to the convertStreamToString(). why so? plz help me out.

  • Mehmet Balbay

    Thank you for tutorial .

  • kapil

    can you please tell me php code for this

  • kapil

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1302a61015340ee58d505344f83ecb7c677b6a336545a0923c8b15dc0d174f62.png The data is not showing in listview. instead of listview it is showing on logcat. please help

  • You are parsing the JSON wrong. It starts with Array, but are parsing it as object. Using the same code for all the jsons won’t work. You need to understand the parsing correctly, use appropriately to your json.

    • kapil

      can you suggest me how to pass json in my code

  • cheikhouna gueye

    Hi i have this error i need your help

    1-04 17:19:35.389 22965-22991/udemy.training.com.androidjsonparse E/MainActivity: Response from url:
    301 Moved Permanently

    301 Moved Permanently
    nginx/1.10.3 (Ubuntu)

    11-04 17:19:35.389 22965-22991/udemy.training.com.androidjsonparse E/MainActivity: Json parsing error: Value of type java.lang.String cannot be converted to JSONObject
    11-04 17:19:35.489 22965-22965/udemy.training.com.androidjsonparse E/ViewRootImpl: sendUserActionEvent() mView == null

    • The url is not providing the json. Open the url in browser and see.

      • cheikhouna gueye

        Ok i see! It’s okay. I solved the problem. thank you

  • Aditya

    I have downloaded your .apk file.
    But I am getting error while running the app and the error is
    Json parsing error: Value of type java.lang.String cannot be converted to JSONObject

    • Which json url you are testing with? Seems json is not proper.

  • محمد اويس جميل
    • محمد اويس جميل

      i solved the problem .i have to make just jason arry first .thanks man .your code is working perfectly

  • cornelius kimutai

    What of Recylerview in place of Listview? How do I go about it?

  • Saqib Rauf

    Download apk provided in tutorial. But it display an error Value of type java.lang.String cannot be converted to JSONObject

    • I see the problem. The site is recently moved to https, and the apk is still older (which points to http instead of https). I’ll upload the newer apk later.

      Thanks for your notice.