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Postgres jsonb_object() function

Creates a JSONB object from key-value pairs

The jsonb_object function in Postgres is used to create a JSONB object from a set of key-value pairs. It is particularly useful when you need to generate JSONB data dynamically from existing table data or input parameters.

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Function signature

jsonb_object(keys TEXT[], values TEXT[]) -> JSONB
-- or --
jsonb_object(keys_values TEXT[]) -> JSONB

This function takes two text arrays as input: one for keys and one for values. Both arrays must have the same number of elements, as each key is paired with the corresponding value to construct the JSONB object.

Alternatively, you can pass a single text array containing both keys and values. In this case, alternate elements in the array are treated as keys and values, respectively.

Example usage

Consider a scenario where you run a library and have a table that tracks details for each book.

The table with some sample data can be set up as shown:

-- Test database table for a bookstore inventory
CREATE TABLE book_inventory (
    book_id INT,
    title TEXT,
    author TEXT,
    price NUMERIC,
    genre TEXT

-- Inserting some test data into `book_inventory`
INSERT INTO book_inventory VALUES
(101, 'The Great Gatsby', 'F. Scott Fitzgerald', 18.99, 'Classic'),
(102, 'Invisible Man', 'Ralph Ellison', 15.99, 'Novel');

When querying this dataset, the frontend client might want to present the data in a different way. Say you want the catalog information just as the list of book names while combining the rest of the fields into a single metadata attribute. You can do so as shown here:

SELECT book_id, title, jsonb_object(
  ARRAY['author', 'genre'], 
  ARRAY[author, genre]
) AS metadata
FROM book_inventory;

This query returns the following result:

| book_id | title            | metadata                                   |
| 101     | The Great Gatsby | {"author" : "F. Scott Fitzgerald",         |
|         |                  |  "genre" : "Classic"}                      |
| 102     | Invisible Man    | {"author" : "Ralph Ellison",               |
|         |                  |  "genre" : "Novel"}                        |

Advanced examples

Creating nested JSON objects with jsonb_object

You could use jsonb_object to create nested JSONB objects for representing more complex data. However, since jsonb_object only expects text values for each key, we will need to combine it with other JSONB functions like jsonb_build_object. For example:

SELECT jsonb_build_object(
  'title', title,
  'author', jsonb_object(ARRAY['name', 'genre'], ARRAY[author, genre])
) AS book_info
FROM book_inventory;

This query returns the following result:

| book_info                                                                                        |
| {"title" : "The Great Gatsby", "author" : {"name" : "F. Scott Fitzgerald", "genre" : "Classic"}} |
| {"title" : "Invisible Man", "author" : {"name" : "Ralph Ellison", "genre" : "Novel"}}            |

Additional considerations


  • Ensure both keys and values arrays have the same number of elements. Mismatched arrays will result in an error. Or, if passing in a single key-value array, ensure that the array has an even number of elements.
  • Be aware of data type conversions. Since jsonb_object expects text arrays, you may need to explicitly cast non-text data types to text.

Alternative options

  • json_object - Same functionality as jsonb_object, but returns a JSON object instead of JSONB.
  • to_jsonb - It can be used to create a JSONB object from a table row (or a row of a composite type) without needing to specify keys and values explicitly. Although, it is less flexible than jsonb_object since all fields in the row are included in the JSONB object.
  • jsonb_build_object - Similar to jsonb_object, but allows for more flexibility in constructing the JSONB object, as it can take a variable number of arguments in the form of key-value pairs.
  • jsonb_object_agg - It is used to aggregate the key-value pairs from multiple rows into a single JSONB object. In contrast, jsonb_object outputs a JSONB object for each row.


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