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Created February 23, 2012 21:57
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a jekyll tag to parse json files and objects for use as maps subsequently
require 'json'
# JSON parser tag, creating map for use in jekyll markdown
# Alex.Heneveld @ Cloudsoft Corp (remove spaces and add the .com)
# Released under APL 2.0
# usage: {% jsonball varname from TYPE PARAM %}
# where TYPE is one of {data,var,file,page}, described below
# drop this into your _plugins/ folder, then you can write, e.g.
# {% jsonball foo from data { "a": "b" } %}
# and then later refer to {{ foo.a }} to get b inserted
# more usefully, you can load it from a variable x, e.g.
# {% capture x %}{% include toc.json %}{% endcapture %}
# {% jsonball foo from var x %}
# even better, to read from a file, say toc.json
# (absolute, or relative to the page being jekylled):
# {% jsonball foo from file toc.json %}
# then e.g. {% for record in jsonball %} {{ }} {% endfor %}
# to print out all the name entries (or build a fancy TOC sidebar)
# and finally, if that json file might itself contain liquid tags,
# or need jekylling, treat it as a page and it will get jekylled
# (we use this for toc.json reading from subdirs' toc.json files):
# {% jsonball foo from page toc.json %}
module JekyllJsonball
class JsonballTag < Liquid::Tag
def initialize(tag_name, text, tokens)
@text = text
def render(context)
if /(.+) from var (.+)/.match(@text)
context[$1] = JSON context[$2]
return ''
if /(.+) from data (.+)/.match(@text)
context[$1] = JSON $2
return ''
if /(.+) from file (.+)/.match(@text)
context[$1] = JSON page_relative_file_contents(context, $2.strip)
return ''
if /(.+) from page (.+)/.match(@text)
context[$1] = JSON jekylled_page_relative_file_contents(context, $2.strip)
return ''
# syntax error
return 'ERROR:bad_jsonball_syntax'
def page_relative_file_contents(context, filename)
jekyllSite = context.registers[:site]
dir = jekyllSite.source+'/'+File.dirname(context['page']['url'])
if !filename.match(/\/.*/)
filename = dir + '/' + filename
file =, "rb")
def jekylled_page_relative_file_contents(context, filename)
jekyllSite = context.registers[:site]
targetPage =, jekyllSite.source, File.dirname(context['page']['url']), filename)
targetPage.render(jekyllSite.layouts, jekyllSite.site_payload)
Liquid::Template.register_tag('jsonball', JekyllJsonball::JsonballTag)
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I forked and updated this gist to enable retrieving json from a remote URL. The forked gist is available here:

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