JSONPath expressions

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Some of JSON functions accept JSON Path expressions. MariaDB defines path as follows:

JSON Path Syntax

path : '$' [step]*

The $ symbol represents the context item. The search always starts from the context item, because of that the path always starts with $. Then, it is followed by zero or more steps, which select element(s) in the JSON document.

A step may be one of the following:

  • Object member selector
  • Array element selector
  • Wildcard selector

Object member selector

To select member(s) in a JSON object, one can use one of the following:

  • .memberName selects the value of the member with name memberName.
  • ."memberName" - the same as above but allows to select a member with a name that's not a valid identifier (that is, has space, dot, and/or other characters)
  • .* - selects the values of all members of the object.

if the current item is an array (instead of an object), nothing will be selected.

Array element selector

To select elements of an array, one can use one of the following:

  • [N] selects element number N in the array. The elements are counted from zero.
  • [*] selects all elements in the array.

if the current item is an object (instead of an array), nothing will be selected.


The wildcard step, **, recursively selects all child elements of the current element. Both array elements and object members are selected.

The wildcard step must not be the last step in the JSONPath expression. It must be followed by an array or object member selector step.

For example:

select json_extract(@json_doc, '$**.price');

will select all object members in the document that are named price, while

select json_extract(@json_doc, '$**[2]');

will select the second element in each of the arrays present in the document.

lax mode selector

A JSON path expression may optionally be prefixed with lax , so that expression looks like this

lax $.memberName


MariaDB's JSONPath syntax is a proper subset of JSON Path's definition in the SQL Standard.

MySQL's JSONPath is close to MySQL's JSONPath. The exceptions are: MySQL supports [last] and [M to N] as array element selectors, but doesn't allow one to specify the lax or strict mode selector.


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