SQLite Extensions: JSON support with JSON1 illustration

SQLite Extensions: JSON support with JSON1

Jacob Prall
Jacob Prall
3 min read
Apr 18, 2024

SQLite Cloud combines the performance, efficiency, and reliability of SQLite with a distributed architecture and real-time event synchronization. Check out what we’re building with a free account here.

At SQLite Cloud, we strongly recommend using SQLite extensions. They let you extend and customize your database to add advanced functionality, giving SQLite superpowers.

SQLite Cloud is 100% compatible with the SQLite ecosystem, which means you can plug-and-play with your favorite SQLite extensions. In this series, we’re looking at some of the first extensions you should consider when designing your database.

Today, we’re looking at JSON1, which makes a great replacement for traditional non-relational storage solutions without giving up SQL.

What is JSON1?

JSON1 is one of SQLite's essential extensions. It enables efficient and flexible handling of JSON data within a SQLite database. JSON data is the lingua franca of web and mobile, but its unstructured nature means it’s not ideal for complex queries. Traditionally, developers who wanted to store data in Firebase or Realm had to make this compromise. With SQLite Cloud and JSON1, you get all the benefits of ACID transactions and full SQL alongside the flexibility of JSON.

How JSON1 Works

JSON Functions

JSON1 provides a suite of functions that allow SQL queries to directly operate on JSON data stored in SQLite. This includes functions to extract JSON values, modify values, and perform queries within JSON structures. These functions are both well-optimized and integrated.

Storage and Query Efficiency

JSON1 stores JSON data as plain text in your database columns. It utilizes SQLite's text handling capabilities to optimize storage and query speed. JSON1 functions are designed to be integrated into standard SQL queries for a streamlined DX. For example, the json_extract() function can quickly retrieve deep nested values from JSON documents directly through SQL.

Integration with SQLite's Virtual Table Mechanism

In addition to direct JSON functions, JSON1 can use SQLite’s virtual table mechanism to provide a structured view of JSON data. This allows developers to interact with JSON as if it were relational data, making complex queries simpler and more intuitive. These virtual tables parse the JSON data on-the-fly, providing dynamic access to JSON elements via standard SQL operations.

Advanced JSON Querying

JSON1 supports complex path queries that can navigate nested JSON objects, similar to XPath for XML. This makes it possible to perform sophisticated searches and transformations on JSON data directly from SQL. JSON1 also includes functions like json_set(), json_insert(), and json_replace(), which modify JSON strings in place, allowing for dynamic updates to JSON data within the database.

Performance Optimization

JSON1 allows indexing of JSON properties for faster query performance, which is helpful in performance-critical applications such as high-speed logging systems or real-time data feeds. JSON1 benefits from SQLite’s internal caching mechanisms, which reduce the need to re-parse JSON data on repeated accesses, speeding up query performance.


JSON1 comes pre-installed with SQLite Cloud databases.


The JSON1 extension significantly extends the capabilities of SQLite, allowing developers to integrate JSON data handling into their applications seamlessly.

Whether you need to manipulate JSON configurations, store and query flexible data schemas, or simply use JSON for data interchange, JSON1 coupled with SQLite Cloud offers a powerful and

Explore more about SQLite extensions and their potential by visiting our blog. If you're looking to build performant, real-time applications, consider giving SQLite Cloud a try (for free).

Until next time!

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